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Title: Charles Darwin: His Life in an Autobiographical Chapter, and in a Selected Series of His Published Letters
Author: Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
Language: English
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Edited by His Son, FRANCIS DARWIN, F.R.S.

With a Portrait.

John Murray, Albemarle Street.

[Illustration: _Elliot & Fry, Photo._ _Walker & Cockerell, ph. sc._

Ch. Darwin]

Printed by
William Clowes and Sons, Limited,
London and Beccles.


_13th July, 1892._


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

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

Yours gratefully,

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



In preparing this volume, which is practically an abbreviation of the
_Life and Letters_ (1887), my aim has been to retain as far as possible
the personal parts of those volumes. To render this feasible, large
numbers of the more purely scientific letters are omitted, or
represented by the citation of a few sentences.[1] In certain periods of
my father's life the scientific and the personal elements run a parallel
course, rising and falling together in their degree of interest. Thus
the writing of the _Origin of Species_, and its publication, appeal
equally to the reader who follows my father's career from interest in
the man, and to the naturalist who desires to know something of this
turning point in the history of Biology. This part of the story has
therefore been told with nearly the full amount of available detail.

In arranging my material I have followed a roughly chronological
sequence, but the character and variety of my father's researches make a
strictly chronological order an impossibility. It was his habit to work
more or less simultaneously at several subjects. Experimental work was
often carried on as a refreshment or variety, while books entailing
reasoning and the marshalling of large bodies of facts were being
written. Moreover many of his researches were dropped only to be resumed
after years had elapsed. Thus a chronological record of his work would
be a patchwork, from which it would be difficult to disentangle the
history of any given subject. The Table of Contents will show how I have
tried to avoid this result. It will be seen, for instance, that after
Chapter VIII. a break occurs; the story turns back from 1854 to 1831 in
order that the Evolutionary chapters which follow may tell a continuous
story. In the same way the Botanical Work which occupied so much of my
father's time during the latter part of his life is treated separately
in Chapters XVI. and XVII.

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

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


_August, 1892_.


[1] I have not thought it necessary to indicate all the omissions in the
abbreviated letters.


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

_April, 1902_.


CHAP.                                                              PAGE
    I.--The Darwins                                                   1

   II.--Autobiography                                                 5

  III.--Religion                                                     55

   IV.--Reminiscences                                                66

    V.--Cambridge Life--The Appointment to the _Beagle_: 1828-1831  104

   VI.--The Voyage: 1831-1836                                       124

  VII.--London and Cambridge: 1836-1842                             140

 VIII.--Life at Down: 1842-1854                                     150

   IX.--The Foundations of the _Origin of Species_: 1831-1844       165

    X.--The Growth of the _Origin of Species_: 1843-1858            173

   XI.--The Writing of the _Origin of Species_, June 1858, to
        November 1859                                               185

  XII.--The Publication of the _Origin of Species_, October to
        December 1859                                               206

 XIII.--The _Origin of Species_--Reviews and Criticisms--Adhesions
        and Attacks: 1860                                           223

  XIV.--The Spread of Evolution: 1861-1871                          245

   XV.--Miscellanea--Revival of Geological Work--The Vivisection
        Question--Honours                                           281

  XVI.--The Fertilisation of Flowers                                297

 XVII.--Climbing Plants--Power of Movement in Plants--Insectivorous
        Plants--Kew Index of Plant Names                            313

XVIII.--Conclusion                                                  325


 I.--The Funeral in Westminster Abbey                329

II.--Portraits                                       331

INDEX                                                333

[Illustration: --led to comprehend two affinities. [illeg] My theory
would give zest to recent & fossil Comparative Anatomy, it would lead to
study of instincts, heredity & mind heredity, whole metaphysics - it
would lead to closest examination of hybridity & generation, causes of
change in order to know what we have come from & to what we tend - to
what circumstances favour crossing & what prevents it; this & direct
examination of direct passages of [species (crossed out)] structures in
species, might lead to laws of change, which would then be main object
of study, to guide our [past (crossed out)] speculations]




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

If such speculations are permissible, we may hazard the guess that
Charles Darwin inherited his sweetness of disposition from the Wedgwood
side, while the character of his genius came rather from the Darwin

Robert Waring Darwin was a man of well-marked character. He had no
pretensions to being a man of science, no tendency to generalise his
knowledge, and though a successful physician he was guided more by
intuition and everyday observation than by a deep knowledge of his
subject. His chief mental characteristics were his keen powers of
observation, and his knowledge of men, qualities which led him to "read
the characters and even the thoughts of those whom he saw even for a
short time." It is not therefore surprising that his help should have
been sought, not merely in illness, but in cases of family trouble and
sorrow. This was largely the case, and his wise sympathy, no less than
his medical skill, obtained for him a strong influence over the lives of
a large number of people. He was a man of a quick, vivid temperament,
with a lively interest in even the smaller details in the lives of those
with whom he came in contact. He was fond of society, and entertained a
good deal, and with his large practice and many friends, the life at
Shrewsbury must have been a stirring and varied one--very different in
this respect to the later home of his son at Down.[3]

We have a miniature of his wife, Susannah, with a remarkably sweet and
happy face, bearing some resemblance to the portrait of her father
painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds; a countenance expressive of the gentle
and sympathetic nature which Miss Meteyard ascribes to her.[4] She died
July 15, 1817, thirty-two years before her husband, whose death occurred
on November 13, 1848. Dr. Darwin lived before his marriage for two or
three years on St. John's Hill, afterwards at the Crescent, where his
eldest daughter Marianne was born, lastly at the "Mount," in the part of
Shrewsbury known as Frankwell, where the other children were born. This
house was built by Dr. Darwin about 1800, it is now in the possession of
Mr. Spencer Phillips, and has undergone but little alteration. It is a
large, plain, square, red-brick house, of which the most attractive
feature is the pretty green-house, opening out of the morning-room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The elder son, Erasmus, was born in 1804, and died unmarried at the age
of seventy-seven.

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

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

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


[2] See Charles Darwin's biographical sketch of his grandfather,
prefixed to Ernst Krause's _Erasmus Darwin_. (Translated from the German
by W. S. Dallas, 1878.) Also Miss Meteyard's _Life of Josiah Wedgwood_.

[3] The above passage is, by permission of Messrs. Smith & Elder, taken
from my article _Charles Darwin_, in the _Dictionary of National

[4] _A Group of Englishmen_, by Miss Meteyard, 1871.



     [My father's autobiographical recollections, given in the present
     chapter, were written for his children,--and written without any
     thought that they would ever be published. To many this may seem an
     impossibility; but those who knew my father will understand how it
     was not only possible, but natural. The autobiography bears the
     heading, _Recollections of the Development of my Mind and
     Character_, and ends with the following note:--"Aug. 3, 1876. This
     sketch of my life was begun about May 28th at Hopedene,[5] and
     since then I have written for nearly an hour on most afternoons."
     It will easily be understood that, in a narrative of a personal and
     intimate kind written for his wife and children, passages should
     occur which must here be omitted; and I have not thought it
     necessary to indicate where such omissions are made. It has been
     found necessary to make a few corrections of obvious verbal slips,
     but the number of such alterations has been kept down to the
     minimum.--F. D]

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

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

My mother died in July 1817, when I was a little over eight years old,
and it is odd that I can remember hardly anything about her except her
deathbed, her black velvet gown, and her curiously constructed
work-table. In the spring of this same year I was sent to a day-school
in Shrewsbury, where I stayed a year. I have been told that I was much
slower in learning than my younger sister Catherine, and I believe that
I was in many ways a naughty boy.

By the time I went to this day-school[6] my taste for natural history,
and more especially for collecting, was well developed. I tried to make
out the names of plants, and collected all sorts of things, shells,
seals, franks, coins, and minerals. The passion for collecting which
leads a man to be a systematic naturalist, a virtuoso, or a miser, was
very strong in me, and was clearly innate, as none of my sisters or
brother ever had this taste.

One little event during this year has fixed itself very firmly in my
mind, and I hope that it has done so from my conscience having been
afterwards sorely troubled by it; it is curious as showing that
apparently I was interested at this early age in the variability of
plants! I told another little boy (I believe it was Leighton,[7] who
afterwards became a well-known lichenologist and botanist), that I could
produce variously coloured polyanthuses and primroses by watering them
with certain coloured fluids, which was of course a monstrous fable, and
had never been tried by me. I may here also confess that as a little boy
I was much given to inventing deliberate falsehoods, and this was always
done for the sake of causing excitement. For instance, I once gathered
much valuable fruit from my father's trees and hid it in the shrubbery,
and then ran in breathless haste to spread the news that I had
discovered a hoard of stolen fruit.[8]

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

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

I had a strong taste for angling, and would sit for any number of hours
on the bank of a river or pond watching the float; when at Maer[9] I was
told that I could kill the worms with salt and water, and from that day
I never spitted a living worm, though at the expense probably of some
loss of success.

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

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

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

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

Nothing could have been worse for the development of my mind than Dr.
Butler's school, as it was strictly classical, nothing else being
taught, except a little ancient geography and history. The school as a
means of education to me was simply a blank. During my whole life I
have been singularly incapable of mastering any language. Especial
attention was paid to verse-making, and this I could never do well. I
had many friends, and got together a good collection of old verses,
which by patching together, sometimes aided by other boys, I could work
into any subject. Much attention was paid to learning by heart the
lessons of the previous day; this I could effect with great facility,
learning forty or fifty lines of Virgil or Homer, whilst I was in
morning chapel; but this exercise was utterly useless, for every verse
was forgotten in forty-eight hours. I was not idle, and with the
exception of versification, generally worked conscientiously at my
classics, not using cribs. The sole pleasure I ever received from such
studies, was from some of the odes of Horace, which I admired greatly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I was doing no good at school, my father wisely took me away at a
rather earlier age than usual, and sent me (October 1825) to
Edinburgh[11] University with my brother, where I stayed for two years
or sessions. My brother was completing his medical studies, though I do
not believe he ever really intended to practise, and I was sent there to
commence them. But soon after this period I became convinced from
various small circumstances that my father would leave me property
enough to subsist on with some comfort, though I never imagined that I
should be so rich a man as I am; but my belief was sufficient to check
any strenuous effort to learn medicine.

The instruction at Edinburgh was altogether by lectures, and these were
intolerably dull, with the exception of those on chemistry by Hope; but
to my mind there are no advantages and many disadvantages in lectures
compared with reading. Dr. Duncan's lectures on Materia Medica at 8
o'clock on a winter's morning are something fearful to remember. Dr.
Munro made his lectures on human anatomy as dull as he was himself, and
the subject disgusted me. It has proved one of the greatest evils in my
life that I was not urged to practise dissection, for I should soon have
got over my disgust, and the practice would have been invaluable for all
my future work. This has been an irremediable evil, as well as my
incapacity to draw. I also attended regularly the clinical wards in the
hospital. Some of the cases distressed me a good deal, and I still have
vivid pictures before me of some of them; but I was not so foolish as to
allow this to lessen my attendance. I cannot understand why this part of
my medical course did not interest me in a greater degree; for during
the summer before coming to Edinburgh, I began attending some of the
poor people, chiefly children and women in Shrewsbury: I wrote down as
full an account as I could of the case with all the symptoms, and read
them aloud to my father, who suggested further inquiries and advised me
what medicines to give, which I made up myself. At one time I had at
least a dozen patients, and I felt a keen interest in the work.[12] My
father, who was by far the best judge of character whom I ever knew,
declared that I should make a successful physician,--meaning by this,
one who would get many patients. He maintained that the chief element of
success was exciting confidence; but what he saw in me which convinced
him that I should create confidence I know not. I also attended on two
occasions the operating theatre in the hospital at Edinburgh, and saw
two very bad operations, one on a child, but I rushed away before they
were completed. Nor did I ever attend again, for hardly any inducement
would have been strong enough to make me do so; this being long before
the blessed days of chloroform. The two cases fairly haunted me for many
a long year.

My brother stayed only one year at the University, so that during the
second year I was left to my own resources; and this was an advantage,
for I became well acquainted with several young men fond of natural
science. One of these was Ainsworth, who afterwards published his
travels in Assyria; he was a Wernerian geologist, and knew a little
about many subjects. Dr. Coldstream[13] was a very different young man,
prim, formal, highly religious, and most kind-hearted; he afterwards
published some good zoological articles. A third young man was Hardie,
who would, I think, have made a good botanist, but died early in India.
Lastly, Dr. Grant, my senior by several years, but how I became
acquainted with him I cannot remember; he published some first-rate
zoological papers, but after coming to London as Professor in University
College, he did nothing more in science, a fact which has always been
inexplicable to me. I knew him well; he was dry and formal in manner,
with much enthusiasm beneath this outer crust. He one day, when we were
walking together, burst forth in high admiration of Lamarck and his
views on evolution. I listened in silent astonishment, and as far as I
can judge, without any effect on my mind. I had previously read the
_Zoonomia_ of my grandfather, in which similar views are maintained, but
without producing any effect on me. Nevertheless it is probable that the
hearing rather early in life such views maintained and praised may have
favoured my upholding them under a different form in my _Origin of
Species_. At this time I admired greatly the _Zoonomia_; but on reading
it a second time after an interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much
disappointed; the proportion of speculation being so large to the facts

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

The Plinian Society[14] was encouraged and, I believe, founded by
Professor Jameson: it consisted of students, and met in an underground
room in the University for the sake of reading papers on natural science
and discussing them. I used regularly to attend, and the meetings had a
good effect on me in stimulating my zeal and giving me new congenial
acquaintances. One evening a poor young man got up, and after stammering
for a prodigious length of time, blushing crimson, he at last slowly got
out the words, "Mr. President, I have forgotten what I was going to
say." The poor fellow looked quite overwhelmed, and all the members were
so surprised that no one could think of a word to say to cover his
confusion. The papers which were read to our little society were not
printed, so that I had not the satisfaction of seeing my paper in
print; but I believe Dr. Grant noticed my small discovery in his
excellent memoir on Flustra.

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

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

During my second year at Edinburgh I attended Jameson's lectures on
Geology and Zoology, but they were incredibly dull. The sole effect they
produced on me was the determination never as long as I lived to read a
book on Geology, or in any way to study the science. Yet I feel sure
that I was prepared for a philosophical treatment of the subject; for an
old Mr. Cotton, in Shropshire, who knew a good deal about rocks, had
pointed out to me two or three years previously a well-known large
erratic boulder in the town of Shrewsbury, called the "bell-stone;" he
told me that there was no rock of the same kind nearer than Cumberland
or Scotland, and he solemnly assured me that the world would come to an
end before any one would be able to explain how this stone came where it
now lay. This produced a deep impression on me, and I meditated over
this wonderful stone. So that I felt the keenest delight when I first
read of the action of icebergs in transporting boulders, and I gloried
in the progress of Geology. Equally striking is the fact that I, though
now only sixty-seven years old, heard the Professor, in a field lecture
at Salisbury Craigs, discoursing on a trap-dyke, with amygdaloidal
margins and the strata indurated on each side, with volcanic rocks all
around us, say that it was a fissure filled with sediment from above,
adding with a sneer that there were men who maintained that it had been
injected from beneath in a molten condition. When I think of this
lecture, I do not wonder that I determined never to attend to Geology.

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

My summer vacations during these two years were wholly given up to
amusements, though I always had some book in hand, which I read with
interest. During the summer of 1826, I took a long walking tour with two
friends with knapsacks on our backs through North Wales. We walked
thirty miles most days, including one day the ascent of Snowdon. I also
went with my sister a riding tour in North Wales, a servant with
saddle-bags carrying our clothes. The autumns were devoted to shooting,
chiefly at Mr. Owen's, at Woodhouse, and at my Uncle Jos's,[15] at Maer.
My zeal was so great that I used to place my shooting-boots open by my
bed-side when I went to bed, so as not to lose half a minute in putting
them on in the morning; and on one occasion I reached a distant part of
the Maer estate, on the 20th of August for black-game shooting, before I
could see: I then toiled on with the gamekeeper the whole day through
thick heath and young Scotch firs.

I kept an exact record of every bird which I shot throughout the whole
season. One day when shooting at Woodhouse with Captain Owen, the eldest
son, and Major Hill, his cousin, afterwards Lord Berwick, both of whom I
liked very much, I thought myself shamefully used, for every time after
I had fired and thought that I had killed a bird, one of the two acted
as if loading his gun, and cried out, "You must not count that bird, for
I fired at the same time," and the gamekeeper, perceiving the joke,
backed them up. After some hours they told me the joke, but it was no
joke to me, for I had shot a large number of birds, but did not know how
many, and could not add them to my list, which I used to do by making a
knot in a piece of string tied to a button-hole. This my wicked friends
had perceived.

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

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

My visits to Maer during these two or three succeeding years were quite
delightful, independently of the autumnal shooting. Life there was
perfectly free; the country was very pleasant for walking or riding; and
in the evening there was much very agreeable conversation, not so
personal as it generally is in large family parties, together with
music. In the summer the whole family used often to sit on the steps of
the old portico with the flower-garden in front, and with the steep
wooded bank opposite the house reflected in the lake, with here and
there a fish rising or a water-bird paddling about. Nothing has left a
more vivid picture on my mind than these evenings at Maer. I was also
attached to and greatly revered my Uncle Jos; he was silent and
reserved, so as to be a rather awful man; but he sometimes talked openly
with me. He was the very type of an upright man, with the clearest
judgment. I do not believe that any power on earth could have made him
swerve an inch from what he considered the right course. I used to apply
to him in my mind the well-known ode of Horace, now forgotten by me, in
which the words "nec vultus tyranni, &c.,"[16] come in.

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

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

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

During the three years which I spent at Cambridge my time was wasted, as
far as the academical studies were concerned, as completely as at
Edinburgh and at school. I attempted mathematics, and even went during
the summer of 1828 with a private tutor to Barmouth, but I got on very
slowly. The work was repugnant to me, chiefly from my not being able to
see any meaning in the early steps in algebra. This impatience was very
foolish, and in after years I have deeply regretted that I did not
proceed far enough at least to understand something of the great leading
principles of mathematics, for men thus endowed seem to have an extra
sense. But I do not believe that I should ever have succeeded beyond a
very low grade. With respect to Classics I did nothing except attend a
few compulsory college lectures, and the attendance was almost nominal.
In my second year I had to work for a month or two to pass the
Little-Go, which I did easily. Again, in my last year I worked with some
earnestness for my final degree of B.A., and brushed up my Classics,
together with a little Algebra and Euclid, which latter gave me much
pleasure, as it did at school. In order to pass the B.A. examination, it
was also necessary to get up Paley's _Evidences of Christianity_, and
his _Moral Philosophy_. This was done in a thorough manner, and I am
convinced that I could have written out the whole of the _Evidences_
with perfect correctness, but not of course in the clear language of
Paley. The logic of this book and, as I may add, of his _Natural
Theology_, gave me as much delight as did Euclid. The careful study of
these works, without attempting to learn any part by rote, was the only
part of the academical course which, as I then felt, and as I still
believe, was of the least use to me in the education of my mind. I did
not at that time trouble myself about Paley's premises; and taking these
on trust, I was charmed and convinced by the long line of argumentation.
By answering well the examination questions in Paley, by doing Euclid
well, and by not failing miserably in Classics, I gained a good place
among the [Greek: oi polloi] or crowd of men who do not go in for
honours. Oddly enough, I cannot remember how high I stood, and my memory
fluctuates between the fifth, tenth, or twelfth, name on the list.[17]

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

Although, as we shall presently see, there were some redeeming features
in my life at Cambridge, my time was sadly wasted there, and worse than
wasted. From my passion for shooting and for hunting, and, when this
failed, for riding across country, I got into a sporting set, including
some dissipated low-minded young men. We used often to dine together in
the evening, though these dinners often included men of a higher stamp,
and we sometimes drank too much, with jolly singing and playing at cards
afterwards. I know that I ought to feel ashamed of days and evenings
thus spent, but as some of my friends were very pleasant, and we were
all in the highest spirits, I cannot help looking back to these times
with much pleasure.[18]

But I am glad to think that I had many other friends of a widely
different nature. I was very intimate with Whitley,[19] who was
afterwards Senior Wrangler, and we used continually to take long walks
together. He inoculated me with a taste for pictures and good
engravings, of which I bought some. I frequently went to the Fitzwilliam
Gallery, and my taste must have been fairly good, for I certainly
admired the best pictures, which I discussed with the old curator. I
read also with much interest Sir Joshua Reynolds' book. This taste,
though not natural to me, lasted for several years, and many of the
pictures in the National Gallery in London gave me much pleasure; that
of Sebastian del Piombo exciting in me a sense of sublimity.

I also got into a musical set, I believe by means of my warm-hearted
friend, Herbert,[20] who took a high wrangler's degree. From associating
with these men, and hearing them play, I acquired a strong taste for
music, and used very often to time my walks so as to hear on week days
the anthem in King's College Chapel. This gave me intense pleasure, so
that my backbone would sometimes shiver. I am sure that there was no
affectation or mere imitation in this taste, for I used generally to go
by myself to King's College, and I sometimes hired the chorister boys to
sing in my rooms. Nevertheless I am so utterly destitute of an ear, that
I cannot perceive a discord, or keep time and hum a tune correctly; and
it is a mystery how I could possibly have derived pleasure from music.

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

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

I was very successful in collecting, and invented two new methods; I
employed a labourer to scrape, during the winter, moss off old trees and
place it in a large bag, and likewise to collect the rubbish at the
bottom of the barges in which reeds are brought from the fens, and thus
I got some very rare species. No poet ever felt more delighted at seeing
his first poem published than I did at seeing, in Stephens'
_Illustrations of British Insects_, the magic words, "captured by C.
Darwin, Esq." I was introduced to entomology by my second cousin, W.
Darwin Fox, a clever and most pleasant man, who was then at Christ's
College, and with whom I became extremely intimate. Afterwards I became
well acquainted, and went out collecting, with Albert Way of Trinity,
who in after years became a well-known archaeologist; also with H.
Thompson,[21] of the same College, afterwards a leading agriculturist,
chairman of a great railway, and Member of Parliament. It seems,
therefore, that a taste for collecting beetles is some indication of
future success in life!

I am surprised what an indelible impression many of the beetles which I
caught at Cambridge have left on my mind. I can remember the exact
appearance of certain posts, old trees and banks where I made a good
capture. The pretty _Panagæus crux-major_ was a treasure in those days,
and here at Down I saw a beetle running across a walk, and on picking it
up instantly perceived that it differed slightly from _P. crux-major_,
and it turned out to be _P. quadripunctatus_, which is only a variety or
closely allied species, differing from it very slightly in outline. I
had never seen in those old days Licinus alive, which to an uneducated
eye hardly differs from many of the black Carabidous beetles; but my
sons found here a specimen, and I instantly recognised that it was new
to me; yet I had not looked at a British beetle for the last twenty

I have not yet mentioned a circumstance which influenced my whole career
more than any other. This was my friendship with Professor Henslow.
Before coming up to Cambridge, I had heard of him from my brother as a
man who knew every branch of science, and I was accordingly prepared to
reverence him. He kept open house once every week[22] when all
under-graduates and some older members of the University, who were
attached to science, used to meet in the evening. I soon got, through
Fox, an invitation, and went there regularly. Before long I became well
acquainted with Henslow, and during the latter half of my time at
Cambridge took long walks with him on most days; so that I was called by
some of the dons "the man who walks with Henslow;" and in the evening I
was very often asked to join his family dinner. His knowledge was great
in botany, entomology, chemistry, mineralogy, and geology. His strongest
taste was to draw conclusions from long-continued minute observations.
His judgment was excellent, and his whole mind well-balanced; but I do
not suppose that any one would say that he possessed much original

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

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

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

Dr. Whewell was one of the older and distinguished men who sometimes
visited Henslow, and on several occasions I walked home with him at
night. Next to Sir J. Mackintosh he was the best converser on grave
subjects to whom I ever listened. Leonard Jenyns,[23] who afterwards
published some good essays in Natural History, often stayed with
Henslow, who was his brother-in-law. I visited him at his parsonage on
the borders of the Fens [Swaffham Bulbeck], and had many a good walk
and talk with him about Natural History. I became also acquainted with
several other men older than me, who did not care much about science,
but were friends of Henslow. One was a Scotchman, brother of Sir
Alexander Ramsay, and tutor of Jesus College; he was a delightful man,
but did not live for many years. Another was Mr. Dawes, afterwards Dean
of Hereford, and famous for his success in the education of the poor.
These men and others of the same standing, together with Henslow, used
sometimes to take distant excursions into the country, which I was
allowed to join, and they were most agreeable.

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

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

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

As I had at first come up to Cambridge at Christmas, I was forced to
keep two terms after passing my final examination, at the commencement
of 1831; and Henslow then persuaded me to begin the study of geology.
Therefore on my return to Shropshire I examined sections, and coloured a
map of parts round Shrewsbury. Professor Sedgwick intended to visit
North Wales in the beginning of August to pursue his famous geological
investigations amongst the older rocks, and Henslow asked him to allow
me to accompany him.[24] Accordingly he came and slept at my father's

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

Next morning we started for Llangollen, Conway, Bangor, and Capel Curig.
This tour was of decided use in teaching me a little how to make out the
geology of a country. Sedgwick often sent me on a line parallel to his,
telling me to bring back specimens of the rocks and to mark the
stratification on a map. I have little doubt that he did this for my
good, as I was too ignorant to have aided him. On this tour I had a
striking instance how easy it is to overlook phenomena, however
conspicuous, before they have been observed by any one. We spent many
hours in Cwm Idwal, examining all the rocks with extreme care, as
Sedgwick was anxious to find fossils in them; but neither of us saw a
trace of the wonderful glacial phenomena all around us; we did not
notice the plainly scored rocks, the perched boulders, the lateral and
terminal moraines. Yet these phenomena are so conspicuous that, as I
declared in a paper published many years afterwards in the
_Philosophical Magazine_,[25] a house burnt down by fire did not tell
its story more plainly than did this valley. If it had still been filled
by a glacier, the phenomena would have been less distinct than they now

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

_Voyage of the 'Beagle': from December 27, 1831, to October 2, 1836._

On returning home from my short geological tour in North Wales, I found
a letter from Henslow, informing me that Captain Fitz-Roy was willing to
give up part of his own cabin to any young man who would volunteer to go
with him without pay as naturalist to the Voyage of the _Beagle_. I have
given, as I believe, in my MS. Journal an account of all the
circumstances which then occurred; I will here only say that I was
instantly eager to accept the offer, but my father strongly objected,
adding the words, fortunate for me, "If you can find any man of
common-sense who advises you to go I will give my consent." So I wrote
that evening and refused the offer. On the next morning I went to Maer
to be ready for September 1st, and whilst out shooting, my uncle[26]
sent for me, offering to drive me over to Shrewsbury and talk with my
father, as my uncle thought it would be wise in me to accept the offer.
My father always maintained that [my uncle] was one of the most sensible
men in the world, and he at once consented in the kindest manner. I had
been rather extravagant at Cambridge, and to console my father, said,
"that I should be deuced clever to spend more than my allowance whilst
on board the _Beagle_;" but he answered with a smile, "But they tell me
you are very clever."

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

Fitz-Roy's character was a singular one, with very many noble features:
he was devoted to his duty, generous to a fault, bold, determined, and
indomitably energetic, and an ardent friend to all under his sway. He
would undertake any sort of trouble to assist those whom he thought
deserved assistance. He was a handsome man, strikingly like a gentleman,
with highly-courteous manners, which resembled those of his maternal
uncle, the famous Lord Castlereagh, as I was told by the Minister at
Rio. Nevertheless he must have inherited much in his appearance from
Charles II., for Dr. Wallich gave me a collection of photographs which
he had made, and I was struck with the resemblance of one to Fitz-Roy;
and on looking at the name, I found it Ch. E. Sobieski Stuart, Count
d'Albanie,[27] a descendant of the same monarch.

Fitz-Roy's temper was a most unfortunate one. It was usually worst in
the early morning, and with his eagle eye he could generally detect
something amiss about the ship, and was then unsparing in his blame. He
was very kind to me, but was a man very difficult to live with on the
intimate terms which necessarily followed from our messing by ourselves
in the same cabin. We had several quarrels; for instance, early in the
voyage at Bahia, in Brazil, he defended and praised slavery, which I
abominated, and told me that he had just visited a great slave-owner,
who had called up many of his slaves and asked them whether they were
happy, and whether they wished to be free, and all answered "No." I then
asked him, perhaps with a sneer, whether he thought that the answer of
slaves in the presence of their master was worth anything? This made him
excessively angry, and he said that as I doubted his word we could not
live any longer together. I thought that I should have been compelled to
leave the ship; but as soon as the news spread, which it did quickly,
as the captain sent for the first lieutenant to assuage his anger by
abusing me, I was deeply gratified by receiving an invitation from all
the gun-room officers to mess with them. But after a few hours Fitz-Roy
showed his usual magnanimity by sending an officer to me with an apology
and a request that I would continue to live with him.

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

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

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

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

During some part of the day I wrote my Journal, and took much pains in
describing carefully and vividly all that I had seen; and this was good
practice. My Journal served also, in part, as letters to my home, and
portions were sent to England whenever there was an opportunity.

The above various special studies were, however, of no importance
compared with the habit of energetic industry and of concentrated
attention to whatever I was engaged in, which I then acquired.
Everything about which I thought or read was made to bear directly on
what I had seen or was likely to see; and this habit of mind was
continued during the five years of the voyage. I feel sure that it was
this training which has enabled me to do whatever I have done in

Looking backwards, I can now perceive how my love for science gradually
preponderated over every other taste. During the first two years my old
passion for shooting survived in nearly full force, and I shot myself
all the birds and animals for my collection; but gradually I gave up my
gun more and more, and finally altogether, to my servant, as shooting
interfered with my work, more especially with making out the geological
structure of a country. I discovered, though unconsciously and
insensibly, that the pleasure of observing and reasoning was a much
higher one than that of skill and sport. That my mind became developed
through my pursuits during the voyage is rendered probable by a remark
made by my father, who was the most acute observer whom I ever saw, of a
sceptical disposition, and far from being a believer in phrenology; for
on first seeing me after the voyage, he turned round to my sisters, and
exclaimed, "Why, the shape of his head is quite altered."

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

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

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

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

Towards the close of our voyage I received a letter whilst at Ascension,
in which my sisters told me that Sedgwick had called on my father, and
said that I should take a place among the leading scientific men. I
could not at the time understand how he could have learnt anything of my
proceedings, but I heard (I believe afterwards) that Henslow had read
some of the letters which I wrote to him before the Philosophical
Society of Cambridge,[28] and had printed them for private distribution.
My collection of fossil bones, which had been sent to Henslow, also
excited considerable attention amongst palæontologists. After reading
this letter, I clambered over the mountains of Ascension with a bounding
step and made the volcanic rocks resound under my geological hammer. All
this shows how ambitious I was; but I think that I can say with truth
that in after years, though I cared in the highest degree for the
approbation of such men as Lyell and Hooker, who were my friends, I did
not care much about the general public. I do not mean to say that a
favourable review or a large sale of my books did not please me greatly,
but the pleasure was a fleeting one, and I am sure that I have never
turned one inch out of my course to gain fame.

_From my return to England (October 2, 1836) to my marriage (January 29,

These two years and three months wore the most active ones which I ever
spent, though I was occasionally unwell, and so lost some time. After
going backwards and forwards several times between Shrewsbury, Maer,
Cambridge, and London, I settled in lodgings at Cambridge[29] on
December 13th, where all my collections were under the care of Henslow.
I stayed here three months, and got my minerals and rocks examined by
the aid of Professor Miller.

I began preparing my _Journal of Travels_, which was not hard work, as
my MS. Journal had been written with care, and my chief labour was
making an abstract of my more interesting scientific results. I sent
also, at the request of Lyell, a short account of my observations on the
elevation of the coast of Chili to the Geological Society.[30]

On March 7th, 1837, I took lodgings in Great Marlborough Street in
London, and remained there for nearly two years, until I was married.
During these two years I finished my Journal, read several papers before
the Geological Society, began preparing the MS. for my _Geological
Observations_, and arranged for the publication of the _Zoology of the
Voyage of the Beagle_. In July I opened my first note-book for facts in
relation to the _Origin of Species_, about which I had long reflected,
and never ceased working for the next twenty years.

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

During these two years I took several short excursions as a relaxation,
and one longer one to the parallel roads of Glen Roy, an account of
which was published in the _Philosophical Transactions_.[31] This paper
was a great failure, and I am ashamed of it. Having been deeply
impressed with what I had seen of the elevation of the land in South
America, I attributed the parallel lines to the action of the sea; but I
had to give up this view when Agassiz propounded his glacier-lake
theory. Because no other explanation was possible under our then state
of knowledge, I argued in favour of sea-action; and my error has been a
good lesson to me never to trust in science to the principle of

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

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

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

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

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

Besides my work on coral-reefs, during my residence in London, I read
before the Geological Society papers on the Erratic Boulders of South
America,[32] on Earthquakes,[33] and on the Formation by the Agency of
Earth-worms of Mould.[34] I also continued to superintend the
publication of the _Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle_. Nor did I ever
intermit collecting facts bearing on the origin of species; and I could
sometimes do this when I could do nothing else from illness.

In the summer of 1842 I was stronger than I had been for some time, and
took a little tour by myself in North Wales, for the sake of observing
the effects of the old glaciers which formerly filled all the larger
valleys. I published a short account of what I saw in the _Philosophical
Magazine_.[35] This excursion interested me greatly, and it was the last
time I was ever strong enough to climb mountains or to take long walks
such as are necessary for geological work.

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

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

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

The science of Geology is enormously indebted to Lyell--more so, as I
believe, than to any other man who ever lived. When [I was] starting on
the voyage of the _Beagle_, the sagacious Henslow, who, like all other
geologists, believed at that time in successive cataclysms, advised me
to get and study the first volume of the _Principles_, which had then
just been published, but on no account to accept the views therein
advocated. How differently would any one now speak of the _Principles_!
I am proud to remember that the first place, namely, St. Jago, in the
Cape de Verde Archipelago, in which I geologised, convinced me of the
infinite superiority of Lyell's views over those advocated in any other
work known to me.

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

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

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

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

I once met at breakfast, at Sir R. Murchison's house, the illustrious
Humboldt, who honoured me by expressing a wish to see me. I was a little
disappointed with the great man, but my anticipations probably were too
high. I can remember nothing distinctly about our interview, except
that Humboldt was very cheerful and talked much.

X.[37] reminds me of Buckle, whom I once met at Hensleigh Wedgwood's. I
was very glad to learn from [Buckle] his system of collecting facts. He
told me that he bought all the books which he read, and made a full
index to each, of the facts which he thought might prove serviceable to
him, and that he could always remember in what book he had read
anything, for his memory was wonderful. I asked him how at first he
could judge what facts would be serviceable, and he answered that he did
not know, but that a sort of instinct guided him. From this habit of
making indices, he was enabled to give the astonishing number of
references on all sorts of subjects which may be found in his _History
of Civilisation_. This book I thought most interesting, and read it
twice, but I doubt whether his generalisations are worth anything.
Buckle was a great talker; and I listened to him, saying hardly a word,
nor indeed could I have done so, for he left no gaps. When Mrs. Farrer
began to sing, I jumped up and said that I must listen to her. After I
had moved away, he turned round to a friend, and said (as was overheard
by my brother), "Well, Mr. Darwin's books are much better than his

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

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

Lord Stanhope once gave me a curious little proof of the accuracy and
fulness of Macaulay's memory. Many historians used often to meet at
Lord Stanhope's house; and, in discussing various subjects, they would
sometimes differ from Macaulay, and formerly they often referred to some
book to see who was right; but latterly, as Lord Stanhope noticed, no
historian ever took this trouble, and whatever Macaulay said was final.

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

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

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

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

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

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

_Residence at Down, from September 14, 1842, to the present time, 1876._

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

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

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

_My several Publications._--In the early part of 1844, my observations
on the volcanic islands visited during the voyage of the _Beagle_ were
published. In 1845, I took much pains in correcting a new edition of my
_Journal of Researches_, which was originally published in 1839 as part
of Fitz-Roy's work. The success of this my first literary child always
tickles my vanity more than that of any of my other books. Even to this
day it sells steadily in England and the United States, and has been
translated for the second time into German, and into French and other
languages. This success of a book of travels, especially of a scientific
one, so many years after its first publication, is surprising. Ten
thousand copies have been sold in England of the second edition. In 1846
my _Geological Observations on South America_ were published. I record
in a little diary, which I have always kept, that my three geological
books (_Coral Reefs_ included) consumed four and a half years' steady
work; "and now it is ten years since my return to England. How much time
have I lost by illness?" I have nothing to say about these three books
except that to my surprise new editions have lately been called for.[38]

In October, 1846, I began to work on 'Cirripedia' (Barnacles). When on
the coast of Chile, I found a most curious form, which burrowed into
shells of Concholepas, and which differed so much from all other
Cirripedes that I had to form a new sub-order for its sole reception.
Lately an allied burrowing genus has been found on the shores of
Portugal. To understand the structure of my new Cirripede I had to
examine and dissect many of the common forms: and this gradually led me
on to take up the whole group. I worked steadily on the subject for the
next eight years, and ultimately published two thick volumes,[39]
describing all the known living species, and two thin quartos on the
extinct species. I do not doubt that Sir E. Lytton Bulwer had me in his
mind when he introduced in one of his novels a Professor Long, who had
written two huge volumes on limpets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is no doubt the chief work of my life. It was from the first highly
successful. The first small edition of 1250 copies was sold on the day
of publication, and a second edition of 3000 copies soon afterwards.
Sixteen thousand copies have now (1876) been sold in England; and
considering how stiff a book it is, this is a large sale. It has been
translated into almost every European tongue, even into such languages
as Spanish, Bohemian, Polish, and Russian. It has also, according to
Miss Bird, been translated into Japanese,[40] and is there much studied.
Even an essay in Hebrew has appeared on it, showing that the theory is
contained in the Old Testament! The reviews were very numerous; for some
time I collected all that appeared on the _Origin_ and on my related
books, and these amount (excluding newspaper reviews) to 265; but after
a time I gave up the attempt in despair. Many separate essays and books
on the subject have appeared; and in Germany a catalogue or bibliography
on "Darwinismus" has appeared every year or two.

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

It has sometimes been said that the success of the _Origin_ proved "that
the subject was in the air," or "that men's minds were prepared for it."
I do not think that this is strictly true, for I occasionally sounded
not a few naturalists, and never happened to come across a single one
who seemed to doubt about the permanence of species. Even Lyell and
Hooker, though they would listen with interest to me, never seemed to
agree. I tried once or twice to explain to able men what I meant by
Natural selection, but signally failed. What I believe was strictly true
is that innumerable well-observed facts were stored in the minds of
naturalists ready to take their proper places as soon as any theory
which would receive them was sufficiently explained. Another element in
the success of the book was its moderate size; and this I owe to the
appearance of Mr. Wallace's essay; had I published on the scale in
which I began to write in 1856, the book would have been four or five
times as large as the _Origin_, and very few would have had the patience
to read it.

I gained much by my delay in publishing from about 1839, when the theory
was clearly conceived, to 1859; and I lost nothing by it, for I cared
very little whether men attributed most originality to me or Wallace;
and his essay no doubt aided in the reception of the theory. I was
forestalled in only one important point, which my vanity has always made
me regret, namely, the explanation by means of the Glacial period of the
presence of the same species of plants and of some few animals on
distant mountain summits and in the arctic regions. This view pleased me
so much that I wrote it out _in extenso_, and I believe that it was read
by Hooker some years before E. Forbes published his celebrated
memoir[41] on the subject. In the very few points in which we differed,
I still think that I was in the right. I have never, of course, alluded
in print to my having independently worked out this view.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But when I found that many naturalists fully accepted the doctrine of
the evolution of species, it seemed to me advisable to work up such
notes as I possessed, and to publish a special treatise on the origin of
man. I was the more glad to do so, as it gave me an opportunity of fully
discussing sexual selection--a subject which had always greatly
interested me. This subject, and that of the variation of our domestic
productions, together with the causes and laws of variation,
inheritance, and the intercrossing of plants, are the sole subjects
which I have been able to write about in full, so as to use all the
materials which I have collected. The _Descent of Man_ took me three
years to write, but then as usual some of this time was lost by
ill-health, and some was consumed by preparing new editions and other
minor works. A second and largely corrected edition of the _Descent_
appeared in 1874.

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

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

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

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

During this autumn of 1876 I shall publish on the _Effects of Cross-and
Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom_. This book will form a
complement to that on the _Fertilisation of Orchids_, in which I showed
how perfect were the means for cross-fertilisation, and here I shall
show how important are the results. I was led to make, during eleven
years, the numerous experiments recorded in this volume, by a mere
accidental observation; and indeed it required the accident to be
repeated before my attention was thoroughly aroused to the remarkable
fact that seedlings of self-fertilised parentage are inferior, even in
the first generation, in height and vigour to seedlings of
cross-fertilised parentage. I hope also to republish a revised edition
of my book on Orchids, and hereafter my papers on dimorphic and
trimorphic plants, together with some additional observations on allied
points which I never have had time to arrange. My strength will then
probably be exhausted, and I shall be ready to exclaim "Nunc dimittis."

_Written May 1st, 1881._--_The Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation_
was published in the autumn of 1876; and the results there arrived at
explain, as I believe, the endless and wonderful contrivances for the
transportal of pollen from one plant to another of the same species. I
now believe, however, chiefly from the observations of Hermann Müller,
that I ought to have insisted more strongly than I did on the many
adaptations for self-fertilisation; though I was well aware of many such
adaptations. A much enlarged edition of my _Fertilisation of Orchids_
was published in 1877.

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

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

In 1880 I published, with [my son] Frank's assistance our _Power of
Movement in Plants_. This was a tough piece of work. The book bears
somewhat the same relation to my little book on _Climbing Plants_,
which _Cross-Fertilisation_ did to the _Fertilisation of Orchids_; for
in accordance with the principle of evolution it was impossible to
account for climbing plants having been developed in so many widely
different groups unless all kinds of plants possess some slight power of
movement of an analogous kind. This I proved to be the case; and I was
further led to a rather wide generalisation, viz., that the great and
important classes of movements, excited by light, the attraction of
gravity, &c., are all modified forms of the fundamental movement of
circumnutation. It has always pleased me to exalt plants in the scale of
organised beings; and I therefore felt an especial pleasure in showing
how many and what admirably well adapted movements the tip of a root

I have now (May 1, 1881) sent to the printers the MS. of a little book
on _The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of Worms_. This
is a subject of but small importance; and I know not whether it will
interest any readers,[42] but it has interested me. It is the completion
of a short paper read before the Geological Society more than forty
years ago, and has revived old geological thoughts.

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

There seems to be a sort of fatality in my mind leading me to put at
first my statement or proposition in a wrong or awkward form. Formerly I
used to think about my sentences before writing them down; but for
several years I have found that it saves time to scribble in a vile
hand, whole pages as quickly as I possibly can, contracting half the
words; and then correct deliberately. Sentences thus scribbled down are
often better ones than I could have written deliberately.

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

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

This curious and lamentable loss of the higher æsthetic tastes is all
the odder, as books on history, biographies, and travels (independently
of any scientific facts which they may contain), and essays on all sorts
of subjects interest me as much as ever they did. My mind seems to have
become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large
collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of
that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I
cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organised or better
constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if
I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some
poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps
the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active
through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may
possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral
character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

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

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

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

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

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

In illustration, I will give the oddest case which I have known. A
gentleman (who, as I afterwards heard, is a good local botanist) wrote
to me from the Eastern counties that the seeds or beans of the common
field-bean had this year everywhere grown on the wrong side of the pod.
I wrote back, asking for further information, as I did not understand
what was meant; but I did not receive any answer for a very long time. I
then saw in two newspapers, one published in Kent and the other in
Yorkshire, paragraphs stating that it was a most remarkable fact that
"the beans this year had all grown on the wrong side." So I thought
there must be some foundation for so general a statement. Accordingly, I
went to my gardener, an old Kentish man, and asked him whether he had
heard anything about it, and he answered, "Oh, no, sir, it must be a
mistake, for the beans grow on the wrong side only on leap-year." I then
asked him how they grew in common years and how on leap-years, but soon
found that he knew absolutely nothing of how they grew at any time, but
he stuck to his belief.

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

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

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

The third case was more curious: Mr. Huth published in his book on
'Consanguineous Marriage' some long extracts from a Belgian author, who
stated that he had interbred rabbits in the closest manner for very many
generations, without the least injurious effects. The account was
published in a most respectable Journal, that of the Royal Society of
Belgium; but I could not avoid feeling doubts--I hardly know why,
except that there were no accidents of any kind, and my experience in
breeding animals made me think this improbable.

So with much hesitation I wrote to Professor Van Beneden, asking him
whether the author was a trustworthy man. I soon heard in answer that
the Society had been greatly shocked by discovering that the whole
account was a fraud.[43] The writer had been publicly challenged in the
journal to say where he had resided and kept his large stock of rabbits
while carrying on his experiments, which must have consumed several
years, and no answer could be extracted from him.

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

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


[5] The late Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey.

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

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

[8] His father wisely treated this tendency not by making crimes of the
fibs, but by making light of the discoveries.--F. D.

[9] The house of his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood, the younger.

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

[11] He lodged at Mrs. Mackay's, 11, Lothian Street. What little the
records of Edinburgh University can reveal has been published in the
_Edinburgh Weekly Dispatch_, May 22, 1888; and in the _St. James's
Gazette_, February 16, 1888. From the latter journal it appears that he
and his brother Erasmus made more use of the library than was usual
among the students of their time.

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

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

[14] The society was founded in 1823, and expired about 1848 (_Edinburgh
Weekly Dispatch_, May 22, 1888).

[15] Josiah Wedgwood, the son of the founder of the Etruria Works.

     Justum et tenacem propositi virum
     Non civium ardor prava jubentium,
       Non vultus instantis tyranni
         Mente quatit solida.

[17] Tenth in the list of January 1831.

[18] I gather from some of my father's contemporaries that he has
exaggerated the Bacchanalian nature of those parties.--F. D.

[19] Rev. C. Whitley, Hon. Canon of Durham, formerly Reader in Natural
Philosophy in Durham University.

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

[21] Afterwards Sir H. Thompson, first baronet.

[22] The _Cambridge Ray Club_, which in 1887 attained its fiftieth
anniversary, is the direct descendant of these meetings, having been
founded to fill the blank caused by the discontinuance, in 1836, of
Henslow's Friday evenings. See Professor Babington's pamphlet, _The
Cambridge Ray Club_, 1887.

[23] Mr. Jenyns (now Blomefield) described the fish for the _Zoology of
the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle_; and is author of a long series of papers,
chiefly Zoological. In 1887 he printed, for private circulation, an
autobiographical sketch, _Chapters in my Life_, and subsequently some
(undated) addenda. The well-known Soame Jenyns was cousin to Mr. Jenyns'

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

[25] _Philosophical Magazine_, 1842.

[26] Josiah Wedgwood.

[27] The Count d'Albanie's claim to Royal descent has been shown to be
baaed on a myth. See the _Quarterly Review_, 1847, vol. lxxxi. p. 83;
also Hayward's _Biographical and Critical Essays_, 1873, vol. ii. p.

[28] Read at the meeting held November 16, 1835, and printed in a
pamphlet of 31 pp. for distribution among the members of the Society.

[29] In Fitzwilliam Street.

[30] _Geolog. Soc. Proc._ ii. 1838, pp. 416-449.

[31] 1839, pp. 39-82.

[32] _Geolog. Soc. Proc._ iii. 1842.

[33] _Geolog. Trans._ v. 1840.

[34] _Geolog. Soc. Proc._ ii. 1838.

[35] _Philosophical Magazine_, 1842.

[36] The slight repetition here observable is accounted for by the notes
on Lyell, &c., having been added in April, 1881, a few years after the
rest of the _Recollections_ were written.--F. D.

[37] A passage referring to X. is here omitted.--F. D.

[38] _Geological Observations_, 2nd Edit. 1876. _Coral Reefs_, 2nd Edit.

[39] Published by the Ray Society.

[40] Miss Bird is mistaken, as I learn from Professor Mitsukuri.--F. D.

[41] _Geolog. Survey Mem._, 1846.

[42] Between November 1881 and February 1884, 8500 copies were sold.--F.

[43] The falseness of the published statements on which Mr. Huth relied
were pointed out in a slip inserted in all the unsold copies of his
book, _The Marriage of near Kin_.--F. D.



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

I believe that his reticence arose from several causes. He felt strongly
that a man's religion is an essentially private matter, and one
concerning himself alone. This is indicated by the following extract
from a letter of 1879:--[45]

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

He naturally shrank from wounding the sensibilities of others in
religious matters, and he was also influenced by the consciousness that
a man ought not to publish on a subject to which he has not given
special and continuous thought. That he felt this caution to apply to
himself in the matter of religion is shown in a letter to Dr. F. E.
Abbott, of Cambridge, U.S. (September 6, 1871). After explaining that
the weakness arising from bad health prevented him from feeling "equal
to deep reflection, on the deepest subject which can fill a man's mind,"
he goes on to say: "With respect to my former notes to you, I quite
forget their contents. I have to write many letters, and can reflect but
little on what I write; but I fully believe and hope that I have never
written a word, which at the time I did not think; but I think you will
agree with me, that anything which is to be given to the public ought to
be maturely weighed and cautiously put. It never occurred to me that you
would wish to print any extract from my notes: if it had, I would have
kept a copy. I put 'private' from habit, only as yet partially acquired,
from some hasty notes of mine having been printed, which were not in the
least degree worth printing, though otherwise unobjectionable. It is
simply ridiculous to suppose that my former note to you would be worth
sending to me, with any part marked which you desire to print; but if
you like to do so, I will at once say whether I should have any
objection. I feel in some degree unwilling to express myself publicly on
religious subjects, as I do not feel that I have thought deeply enough
to justify any publicity."

What follows is from another letter to Dr. Abbott (November 16, 1871),
in which my father gives more fully his reasons for not feeling
competent to write on religious and moral subjects:--

"I can say with entire truth that I feel honoured by your request that I
should become a contributor to the _Index_, and am much obliged for the
draft. I fully, also, subscribe to the proposition that it is the duty
of every one to spread what he believes to be the truth; and I honour
you for doing so, with so much devotion and zeal. But I cannot comply
with your request for the following reasons; and excuse me for giving
them in some detail, as I should be very sorry to appear in your eyes
ungracious. My health is very weak: I _never_ pass 24 hours without many
hours of discomfort, when I can do nothing whatever. I have thus, also,
lost two whole consecutive months this season. Owing to this weakness,
and my head being often giddy, I am unable to master new subjects
requiring much thought, and can deal only with old materials. At no time
am I a quick thinker or writer: whatever I have done in science has
solely been by long pondering, patience and industry.

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

He was more than once asked to give his views on religion, and he had,
as a rule, no objection to doing so in a private letter. Thus, in answer
to a Dutch student, he wrote (April 2, 1873):--

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"During these two years[46] I was led to think much about religion.
Whilst on board the _Beagle_ I was quite orthodox, and I remember being
heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves
orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some
point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that
amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, _i.e._ 1836 to 1839,
to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred
books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind
and would not be banished,--is it credible that if God were now to make
a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the
belief in Vishnu, Siva, &c., as Christianity is connected with the Old
Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible.

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

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

"Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God
until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague
conclusions to which I have been driven. The old argument from design in
Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive,
fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can
no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve
shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a
door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of
organic beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the
course which the wind blows. But I have discussed this subject at the
end of my book on the _Variation of Domesticated Animals and
Plants_,[47] and the argument there given has never, as far as I can
see, been answered.

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

"Every one who believes, as I do, that all the corporeal and mental
organs (excepting those which are neither advantageous nor
disadvantageous to the possessor) of all beings have been developed
through natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, together with
use or habit, will admit that these organs have been formed so that
their possessors may compete successfully with other beings, and thus
increase in number. Now an animal may be led to pursue that course of
action which is most beneficial to the species by suffering, such as
pain, hunger, thirst, and fear; or by pleasure, as in eating and
drinking, and in the propagation of the species, &c.; or by both means
combined, as in the search for food. But pain or suffering of any kind,
if long continued, causes depression and lessens the power of action,
yet is well adapted to make a creature guard itself against any great or
sudden evil. Pleasurable sensations, on the other hand, may be long
continued without any depressing effect; on the contrary, they stimulate
the whole system to increased action. Hence it has come to pass that
most or all sentient beings have been developed in such a manner,
through natural selection, that pleasurable sensations serve as their
habitual guides. We see this in the pleasure from exertion, even
occasionally from great exertion of the body or mind,--in the pleasure
of our daily meals, and especially in the pleasure derived from
sociability, and from loving our families. The sum of such pleasures as
these, which are habitual or frequently recurrent, give, as I can hardly
doubt, to most sentient beings an excess of happiness over misery,
although many occasionally suffer much. Such suffering is quite
compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in
its action, but tends only to render each species as successful as
possible in the battle for life with other species, in wonderfully
complex and changing circumstances.

"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Some have
attempted to explain this with reference to man by imagining that it
serves for his moral improvement. But the number of men in the world is
as nothing compared with that of all other sentient beings, and they
often suffer greatly without any moral improvement. This very old
argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an
intelligent First Cause seems to me a strong one; whereas, as just
remarked, the presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that
all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural

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

"Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although
I do not think that the religious sentiment was ever strongly developed
in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the
immortality of the soul. In my Journal I wrote that whilst standing in
the midst of the grandeur of a Brazilian forest, 'it is not possible to
give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration, and
devotion which fill and elevate the mind.' I well remember my
conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body;
but now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and
feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man
who has become colour-blind, and the universal belief by men of the
existence of redness makes my present loss of perception of not the
least value as evidence. This argument would be a valid one if all men
of all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God;
but we know that this is very far from being the case. Therefore I
cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any weight
as evidence of what really exists. The state of mind which grand scenes
formerly excited in me, and which was intimately connected with a belief
in God, did not essentially differ from that which is often called the
sense of sublimity; and however difficult it may be to explain the
genesis of this sense, it can hardly be advanced as an argument for the
existence of God, any more than the powerful though vague and similar
feelings excited by music.

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

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

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

The following letters repeat to some extent what is given above from the
_Autobiography_. The first one refers to _The Boundaries of Science: a
Dialogue_, published in _Macmillan's Magazine_, for July 1861.

_C. D. to Miss Julia Wedgwood_, July 11 [1861].

Some one has sent us _Macmillan_, and I must tell you how much I admire
your Article, though at the same time I must confess that I could not
clearly follow you in some parts, which probably is in main part due to
my not being at all accustomed to metaphysical trains of thought. I
think that you understand my book[48] perfectly, and that I find a very
rare event with my critics. The ideas in the last page have several
times vaguely crossed my mind. Owing to several correspondents, I have
been led lately to think, or rather to try to think, over some of the
chief points discussed by you. But the result has been with me a
maze--something like thinking on the origin of evil, to which you
allude. The mind refuses to look at this universe, being what it is,
without having been designed; yet, where one would most expect design,
viz. in the structure of a sentient being, the more I think on the
subject, the less I can see proof of design. Asa Gray and some others
look at each variation, or at least at each beneficial variation (which
A. Gray would compare with the raindrops[49] which do not fall on the
sea, but on to the land to fertilise it) as having been providentially
designed. Yet when I ask him whether he looks at each variation in the
rock-pigeon, by which man has made by accumulation a pouter or fantail
pigeon, as providentially designed for man's amusement, he does not know
what to answer; and if he, or any one, admits [that] these variations
are accidental, as far as purpose is concerned (of course not accidental
as to their cause or origin), then I can see no reason why he should
rank the accumulated variations by which the beautifully-adapted
woodpecker has been formed as providentially designed. For it would be
easy to imagine the enlarged crop of the pouter, or tail of the fantail,
as of some use to birds, in a state of nature, having peculiar habits of
life. These are the considerations which perplex me about design; but
whether you will care to hear them, I know not.

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

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

_C. D. to W. Graham._ Down, July 3rd, 1881.

DEAR SIR,--I hope that you will not think it intrusive on my part to
thank you heartily for the pleasure which I have derived from reading
your admirably-written _Creed of Science_, though I have not yet quite
finished it, as now that I am old I read very slowly. It is a very long
time since any other book has interested me so much. The work must have
cost you several years and much hard labour with full leisure for work.
You would not probably expect any one fully to agree with you on so many
abstruse subjects; and there are some points in your book which I cannot
digest. The chief one is that the existence of so-called natural laws
implies purpose. I cannot see this. Not to mention that many expect that
the several great laws will some day be found to follow inevitably from
some one single law, yet taking the laws as we now know them, and look
at the moon, where the law of gravitation--and no doubt of the
conservation of energy--of the atomic theory, &c., &c., hold good, and I
cannot see that there is then necessarily any purpose. Would there be
purpose if the lowest organisms alone, destitute of consciousness,
existed in the moon? But I have had no practice in abstract reasoning,
and I may be all astray. Nevertheless you have expressed my inward
conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done,
that the Universe is not the result of chance.[50] But then with me the
horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which
has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value
or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a
monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind? Secondly, I
think that I could make somewhat of a case against the enormous
importance which you attribute to our greatest men; I have been
accustomed to think second, third, and fourth-rate men of very high
importance, at least in the case of Science. Lastly, I could show fight
on natural selection having done and doing more for the progress of
civilisation than you seem inclined to admit. Remember what risk the
nations of Europe ran, not so many centuries ago, of being overwhelmed
by the Turks, and how ridiculous such an idea now is! The more civilised
so-called Caucasian races have beaten the Turkish hollow in the struggle
for existence. Looking to the world at no very distant date, what an
endless number of the lower races will have been eliminated by the
higher civilised races throughout the world. But I will write no more,
and not even mention the many points in your work which have much
interested me. I have indeed cause to apologise for troubling you with
my impressions, and my sole excuse is the excitement in my mind which
your book has aroused.

I beg leave to remain, dear sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged.

Darwin spoke little on these subjects, and I can contribute nothing from
my own recollection of his conversation which can add to the impression
here given of his attitude towards Religion.[51] Some further idea of
his views may, however, be gathered from occasional remarks in his


[44] As an exception, may be mentioned, a few words of concurrence with
Dr. Abbott's _Truths for the Times_, which my father allowed to be
published in the _Index_.

[45] Addressed to Mr. J. Fordyce, and published by him in his _Aspects
of Scepticism_, 1883.

[46] October 1836 to January 1839.

[47] My father asks whether we are to believe that the forms are
preordained of the broken fragments of rock which are fitted together by
man to build his houses. If not, why should we believe that the
variations of domestic animals or plants are preordained for the sake of
the breeder? "But if we give up the principle in one case, ... no shadow
of reason can be assigned for the belief that variations alike in nature
and the result of the same general laws, which have been the groundwork
through natural selection of the formation of the most perfectly adapted
animals in the world, man included, were intentionally and specially
guided."--_Variation of Animals and Plants_, 1st Edit. vol. ii. p.
431.--F. D.

[48] The _Origin of Species_.

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE STUDY AT DOWN.[52]]



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

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

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

In spite of his activity, he had, I think, no natural grace or neatness
of movement. He was awkward with his hands, and was unable to draw at
all well.[53] This he always regretted, and he frequently urged the
paramount necessity to a young naturalist of making himself a good

He could dissect well under the simple microscope, but I think it was by
dint of his great patience and carefulness. It was characteristic of him
that he thought any little bit of skilful dissection something almost
superhuman. He used to speak with admiration of the skill with which he
saw Newport dissect a humble bee, getting out the nervous system with a
few cuts of a pair of fine scissors. He used to consider cutting
microscopic sections a great feat, and in the last year of his life,
with wonderful energy, took the pains to learn to cut sections of roots
and leaves. His hand was not steady enough to hold the object to be cut,
and he employed a common microtome, in which the pith for holding the
object was clamped, and the razor slid on a glass surface. He used to
laugh at himself, and at his own skill in section-cutting, at which he
would say he was "speechless with admiration." On the other hand, he
must have had accuracy of eye and power of co-ordinating his movements,
since he was a good shot with a gun as a young man, and as a boy was
skilful in throwing. He once killed a hare sitting in the flower-garden
at Shrewsbury by throwing a marble at it, and, as a man, he killed a
cross-beak with a stone. He was so unhappy at having uselessly killed
the cross-beak that he did not mention it for years, and then explained
that he should never have thrown at it if he had not felt sure that his
old skill had gone from him.

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

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

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

He wore dark clothes, of a loose and easy fit. Of late years he gave up
the tall hat even in London, and wore a soft black one in winter, and a
big straw hat in summer. His usual out-of-doors dress was the short
cloak in which Elliot and Fry's photograph[54] represents him, leaning
against the pillar of the verandah. Two peculiarities of his indoor
dress were that he almost always wore a shawl over his shoulders, and
that he had great loose cloth boots lined with fur which he could slip
on over his indoor shoes.

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

After breakfasting alone about 7.45, he went to work at once,
considering the 1½ hour between 8 and 9.30 one of his best working
times. At 9.30 he came in to the drawing-room for his letters--rejoicing
if the post was a light one and being sometimes much worried if it was
not. He would then hear any family letters read aloud as he lay on the

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

My father was always fond of dogs, and as a young man had the power of
stealing away the affections of his sister's pets; at Cambridge, he won
the love of his cousin W. D. Fox's dog, and this may perhaps have been
the little beast which used to creep down inside his bed and sleep at
the foot every night. My father had a surly dog, who was devoted to him,
but unfriendly to every one else, and when he came back from the
_Beagle_ voyage, the dog remembered him, but in a curious way, which my
father was fond of telling. He went into the yard and shouted in his
old manner; the dog rushed out and set off with him on his walk, showing
no more emotion or excitement than if the same thing had happened the
day before, instead of five years ago. This story is made use of in the
_Descent of Man_, 2nd Edit. p. 74.

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

But the dog most closely associated with my father was the
above-mentioned Polly, a rough, white fox-terrier. She was a
sharp-witted, affectionate dog; when her master was going away on a
journey, she always discovered the fact by the signs of packing going on
in the study, and became low-spirited accordingly. She began, too, to be
excited by seeing the study prepared for his return home. She was a
cunning little creature, and used to tremble or put on an air of misery
when my father passed, while she was waiting for dinner, just as if she
knew that he would say (as he did often say) that "she was famishing."
My father used to make her catch biscuits off her nose, and had an
affectionate and mock-solemn way of explaining to her before-hand that
she must "be a very good girl." She had a mark on her back where she had
been burnt, and where the hair had re-grown red instead of white, and my
father used to commend her for this tuft of hair as being in accordance
with his theory of pangenesis; her father had been a red bull-terrier,
thus the red hair appearing after the burn showed the presence of latent
red gemmules. He was delightfully tender to Polly, and never showed any
impatience at the attentions she required, such as to be let in at the
door, or out at the verandah window, to bark at "naughty people," a
self-imposed duty she much enjoyed. She died, or rather had to be
killed, a few days after his death.[55]

My father's mid-day walk generally began by a call at the greenhouse,
where he looked at any germinating seeds or experimental plants which
required a casual examination, but he hardly ever did any serious
observing at this time. Then he went on for his constitutional--either
round the "Sand-walk," or outside his own grounds in the immediate
neighbourhood of the house. The "Sand-walk" was a narrow strip of land
1½ acre in extent, with a gravel-walk round it. On one side of it was a
broad old shaw with fair-sized oaks in it, which made a sheltered shady
walk; the other side was separated from a neighbouring grass field by a
low quickset hedge, over which you could look at what view there was, a
quiet little valley losing itself in the upland country towards the edge
of the Westerham hill, with hazel coppice and larch plantation, the
remnants of what was once a large wood, stretching away to the Westerham
high road. I have heard my father say that the charm of this simple
little valley was a decided factor in his choice of a home.

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

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

Another favourite place was "Orchis Bank," above the quiet Cudham
valley, where fly- and musk-orchis grew among the junipers, and
Cephalanthera and Neottia under the beech boughs; the little wood
"Hangrove," just above this, he was also fond of, and here I remember
his collecting grasses, when he took a fancy to make out the names of
all the common kinds. He was fond of quoting the saying of one of his
little boys, who, having found a grass that his father had not seen
before, had it laid by his own plate during dinner, remarking, "I are an
extraordinary grass-finder!"

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

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

He could not help personifying natural things. This feeling came out in
abuse as well as in praise--_e.g._ of some seedlings--"The little
beggars are doing just what I don't want them to." He would speak in a
half-provoked, half-admiring way of the ingenuity of the leaf of a
Sensitive Plant in screwing itself out of a basin of water in which he
had tried to fix it. One might see the same spirit in his way of
speaking of Sundew, earthworms, &c.[56]

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

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

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

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

After his lunch he read the newspaper, lying on the sofa in the
drawing-room. I think the paper was the only non-scientific matter which
he read to himself. Everything else, novels, travels, history, was read
aloud to him. He took so wide an interest in life, that there was much
to occupy him in newspapers, though he laughed at the wordiness of the
debates, reading them, I think, only in abstract. His interest in
politics was considerable, but his opinion on these matters was formed
rather by the way than with any serious amount of thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When letters were finished, about three in the afternoon, he rested in
his bedroom, lying on the sofa, smoking a cigarette, and listening to a
novel or other book not scientific. He only smoked when resting, whereas
snuff was a stimulant, and was taken during working hours. He took snuff
for many years of his life, having learnt the habit at Edinburgh as a
student. He had a nice silver snuff-box given him by Mrs. Wedgwood, of
Maer, which he valued much--but he rarely carried it, because it tempted
him to take too many pinches. In one of his early letters he speaks of
having given up snuff for a month, and describes himself as feeling
"most lethargic, stupid, and melancholy." Our former neighbour and
clergyman, Mr. Brodie Innes, tells me that at one time my father made a
resolve not to take snuff, except away from home, "a most satisfactory
arrangement for me," he adds, "as I kept a box in my study, to which
there was access from the garden without summoning servants, and I had
more frequently, than might have been otherwise the case, the privilege
of a few minutes' conversation with my dear friend." He generally took
snuff from a jar on the hall-table, because having to go this distance
for a pinch was a slight check; the clink of the lid of the snuff-jar
was a very familiar sound. Sometimes when he was in the drawing-room, it
would occur to him that the study fire must be burning low, and when one
of us offered to see after it, it would turn out that he also wished to
get a pinch of snuff.

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

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

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

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

After dinner he played backgammon with my mother, two games being played
every night. For many years a score of the games which each won was
kept, and in this score he took the greatest interest. He became
extremely animated over these games, bitterly lamenting his bad luck
and exploding with exaggerated mock-anger at my mother's good fortune.

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

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

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

The regular readings, which I have mentioned, continued for so many
years, enabled him to get through a great deal of the lighter kinds of
literature. He was extremely fond of novels, and I remember well the way
in which he would anticipate the pleasure of having a novel read to him
as he lay down or lighted his cigarette. He took a vivid interest both
in plot and characters, and would on no account know beforehand how a
story finished; he considered looking at the end of a novel as a
feminine vice. He could not enjoy any story with a tragical end; for
this reason he did not keenly appreciate George Eliot, though he often
spoke, warmly in praise of _Silas Marner_. Walter Scott, Miss Austen,
and Mrs. Gaskell were read and re-read till they could be read no more.
He had two or three books in hand at the same time--a novel and perhaps
a biography and a book of travels. He did not often read out-of-the-way
or old standard books, but generally kept to the books of the day
obtained from a circulating library.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When, after an absence of many years, he attended a meeting of the
Linnean Society, it was felt to be, and was in fact, a serious
undertaking; one not to be determined on without much sinking of heart,
and hardly to be carried into effect without paying a penalty of
subsequent suffering. In the same way a breakfast-party at Sir James
Paget's, with some of the distinguished visitors to the Medical
Congress (1881), was to him a severe exertion.

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

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

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

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

Besides these longer holidays, there were shorter visits to various
relatives--to his brother-in-law's house, close to Leith Hill, and to
his son near Southampton. He always particularly enjoyed rambling over
rough open country, such as the commons near Leith Hill and Southampton,
the heath-covered wastes of Ashdown Forest, or the delightful "Rough"
near the house of his friend Sir Thomas Farrer. He never was quite idle
even on these holidays, and found things to observe. At Hartfield he
watched Drosera catching insects, &c.; at Torquay he observed the
fertilisation of an orchid (_Spiranthes_), and also made out the
relations of the sexes in Thyme.

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

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

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

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

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

The _Expression of the Emotions_ shows how closely he watched his
children; it was characteristic of him that (as I have heard him tell),
although he was so anxious to observe accurately the expression of a
crying child, his sympathy with the grief spoiled his observation. His
note-book, in which are recorded sayings of his young children, shows
his pleasure in them. He seemed to retain a sort of regretful memory of
the childhoods which had faded away, and thus he wrote in his
_Recollections_:--"When you were very young it was my delight to play
with you all, and I think with a sigh that such days can never return."

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

"Our poor child, Annie, was born in Gower Street, on March 2, 1841, and
expired at Malvern at mid-day on the 23rd of April, 1851.

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

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

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

"We have lost the joy of the household, and the solace of our old age.
She must have known how we loved her. Oh, that she could now know how
deeply, how tenderly, we do still and shall ever love her dear joyous
face! Blessings on her![57]

"April 30, 1851."

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

The way he brought us up is shown by a little story about my brother
Leonard, which my father was fond of telling. He came into the
drawing-room and found Leonard dancing about on the sofa, to the peril
of the springs, and said, "Oh, Lenny, Lenny, that's against all rules,"
and received for answer, "Then I think you'd better go out of the room."
I do not believe he ever spoke an angry word to any of his children in
his life; but I am certain that it never entered our heads to disobey
him. I well remember one occasion when my father reproved me for a piece
of carelessness; and I can still recall the feeling of depression which
came over me, and the care which he took to disperse it by speaking to
me soon afterwards with especial kindness. He kept up his delightful,
affectionate manner towards us all his life. I sometimes wonder that he
could do so, with such an undemonstrative race as we are; but I hope he
knew how much we delighted in his loving words and manner. He allowed
his grown-up children to laugh with and at him, and was generally
speaking on terms of perfect equality with us.

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

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

My sister writes:--

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

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

"He must have been the most patient and delightful of nurses. I remember
the haven of peace and comfort it seemed to me when I was unwell, to be
tucked up on the study sofa, idly considering the old geological map
hung on the wall. This must have been in his working hours, for I always
picture him sitting in the horse hair arm chair by the corner of the

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

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

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

"Another characteristic of his treatment of his children was his respect
for their liberty, and for their personality. Even as quite a little
girl, I remember rejoicing in this sense of freedom. Our father and
mother would not even wish to know what we were doing or thinking unless
we wished to tell. He always made us feel that we were each of us
creatures whose opinions and thoughts were valuable to him, so that
whatever there was best in us came out in the sunshine of his presence.

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

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

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

Besides these visitors, there were foreigners and other strangers, who
came down for luncheon and went away in the afternoon. He used
conscientiously to represent to them the enormous distance of Down from
London, and the labour it would be to come there, unconsciously taking
for granted that they would find the journey as toilsome as he did
himself. If, however, they were not deterred, he used to arrange their
journeys for them, telling them when to come, and practically when to
go. It was pleasant to see the way in which he shook hands with a guest
who was being welcomed for the first time; his hand used to shoot out in
a way that gave one the feeling that it was hastening to meet the
guest's hands. With old friends his hand came down with a hearty swing
into the other hand in a way I always had satisfaction in seeing. His
good-bye was chiefly characterised by the pleasant way in which he
thanked his guests, as he stood at the hall-door, for having come to see

These luncheons were successful entertainments, there was no drag or
flagging about them, my father was bright and excited throughout the
whole visit. Professor De Candolle has described a visit to Down, in his
admirable and sympathetic sketch of my father.[59] He speaks of his
manner as resembling that of a "savant" of Oxford or Cambridge. This
does not strike me as quite a good comparison; in his ease and
naturalness there was more of the manner of some soldiers; a manner
arising from total absence of pretence or affectation. It was this
absence of pose, and the natural and simple way in which he began
talking to his guests, so as to get them on their own lines, which made
him so charming a host to a stranger. His happy choice of matter for
talk seemed to flow out of his sympathetic nature, and humble, vivid
interest in other people's work.

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

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

He had more dread than have most people of repeating his stories, and
continually said, "You must have heard me tell," or "I daresay I've told
you." One peculiarity he had, which gave a curious effect to his
conversation. The first few words of a sentence would often remind him
of some exception to, or some reason against, what he was going to say;
and this again brought up some other point, so that the sentence would
become a system of parenthesis within parenthesis, and it was often
impossible to understand the drift of what he was saying until he came
to the end of his sentence. He used to say of himself that he was not
quick enough to hold an argument with any one, and I think this was
true. Unless it was a subject on which he was just then at work, he
could not get the train of argument into working order quickly enough.
This is shown even in his letters; thus, in the case of two letters to
Professor Semper about the effect of isolation, he did not recall the
series of facts he wanted until some days after the first letter had
been sent off.

When puzzled in talking, he had a peculiar stammer on the first word of
a sentence. I only recall this occurring with words beginning with w;
possibly he had a special difficulty with this letter, for I have heard
him say that as a boy he could not pronounce w, and that sixpence was
offered him if he could say "white wine," which he pronounced "rite
rine." Possibly he may have inherited this tendency from Erasmus Darwin
who stammered.[60]

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

It was a proof of the modesty of his manner of talking, that when, for
instance, a number of visitors came over from Sir John Lubbock's for a
Sunday afternoon call, he never seemed to be preaching or lecturing,
although he had so much of the talk to himself. He was particularly
charming when "chaffing" any one, and in high spirits over it. His
manner at such times was light-hearted and boyish, and his refinement of
nature came out most strongly. So, when he was talking to a lady who
pleased and amused him, the combination of raillery and deference in his
manner was delightful to see. There was a personal dignity about him,
which the most familiar intercourse did not diminish. One felt that he
was the last person with whom anyone would wish to take a liberty, nor
do I remember an instance of such a thing occurring to him.

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

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

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

He was also treasurer of the Coal Club, which gave him a certain amount
of work, and he acted for some years as a County Magistrate.

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

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

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

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

I must say something of his manner of working: a striking characteristic
was his respect for time; he never forgot how precious it was. This was
shown, for instance, in the way in which he tried to curtail his
holidays; also, and more clearly, with respect to shorter periods. He
would often say, that saving the minutes was the way to get work done;
he showed this love of saving the minutes in the difference he felt
between a quarter of an hour and ten minutes' work; he never wasted a
few spare minutes from thinking that it was not worth while to set to
work. I was often struck by his way of working up to the very limit of
his strength, so that he suddenly stopped in dictating, with the words,
"I believe I mustn't do any more." The same eager desire not to lose
time was seen in his quick movements when at work. I particularly
remember noticing this when he was making an experiment on the roots of
beans, which required some care in manipulation; fastening the little
bits of card upon the roots was done carefully and necessarily slowly,
but the intermediate movements were all quick; taking a fresh bean,
seeing that the root was healthy, impaling it on a pin, fixing it on a
cork, and seeing that it was vertical, &c.; all these processes were
performed with a kind of restrained eagerness. He gave one the
impression of working with pleasure, and not with any drag. I have an
image, too, of him as he recorded the result of some experiment, looking
eagerly at each root, &c., and then writing with equal eagerness. I
remember the quick movement of his head up and down as he looked from
the object to the notes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

His way of marking objects may here be mentioned. If he had a number of
things to distinguish, such as leaves, flowers, &c., he tied threads of
different colours round them. In particular he used this method when he
had only two classes of objects to distinguish; thus in the case of
crossed and self-fertilised flowers, one set would be marked with black
and one with white thread, tied round the stalk of the flower. I
remember well the look of two sets of capsules, gathered and waiting to
be weighed, counted, &c., with pieces of black and of white thread to
distinguish the trays in which they lay. When he had to compare two sets
of seedlings, sowed in the same pot, he separated them by a partition of
zinc-plate; and the zinc-label, which gave the necessary details about
the experiment, was always placed on a certain side, so that it became
instinctive with him to know without reading the label which were the
"crossed" and which the "self-fertilised."

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

A few of his mental characteristics, bearing especially on his mode of
working, occur to me. There was one quality of mind which seemed to be
of special and extreme advantage in leading him to make discoveries. It
was the power of never letting exceptions pass unnoticed. Everybody
notices a fact as an exception when it is striking or frequent, but he
had a special instinct for arresting an exception. A point apparently
slight and unconnected with his present work is passed over by many a
man almost unconsciously with some half-considered explanation, which is
in fact no explanation. It was just these things that he seized on to
make a start from. In a certain sense there is nothing special in this
procedure, many discoveries being made by means of it. I only mention it
because, as I watched him at work, the value of this power to an
experimenter was so strongly impressed upon me.

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

He often said that no one could be a good observer unless he was an
active theoriser. This brings me back to what I said about his instinct
for arresting exceptions: it was as though he were charged with
theorising power ready to flow into any channel on the slightest
disturbance, so that no fact, however small, could avoid releasing a
stream of theory, and thus the fact became magnified into importance. In
this way it naturally happened that many untenable theories occurred to
him; but fortunately his richness of imagination was equalled by his
power of judging and condemning the thoughts that occurred to him. He
was just to his theories, and did not condemn them unheard; and so it
happened that he was willing to test what would seem to most people not
at all worth testing. These rather wild trials he called "fool's
experiments," and enjoyed extremely. As an example I may mention that
finding the seed-leaves of a kind of sensitive plant, to be highly
sensitive to vibrations of the table, he fancied that they might
perceive the vibrations of sound, and therefore made me play my bassoon
close to a plant.[61]

The love of experiment was very strong in him, and I can remember the
way he would say, "I shan't be easy till I have tried it," as if an
outside force were driving him. He enjoyed experimenting much more than
work which only entailed reasoning, and when he was engaged on one of
his books which required argument and the marshalling of facts, he felt
experimental work to be a rest or holiday. Thus, while working upon the
_Variations of Animals and Plants_ in 1860-61, he made out the
fertilisation of Orchids, and thought himself idle for giving so much
time to them. It is interesting to think that so important a piece of
research should have been undertaken and largely worked out as a pastime
in place of more serious work. The letters to Hooker of this period
contain expressions such as, "God forgive me for being so idle; I am
quite sillily interested in the work." The intense pleasure he took in
understanding the adaptations for fertilisation is strongly shown in
these letters. He speaks in one of his letters of his intention of
working at Sundew as a rest from the _Descent of Man_. He has described
in his _Recollections_ the strong satisfaction he felt in solving the
problem of heterostylism.[62] And I have heard him mention that the
Geology of South America gave him almost more pleasure than anything
else. It was perhaps this delight in work requiring keen observation
that made him value praise given to his observing powers almost more
than appreciation of his other qualities.

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

He was methodical in his manner of reading books and pamphlets bearing
on his own work. He had one shelf on which were piled up the books he
had not yet read, and another to which they were transferred after
having been read, and before being catalogued. He would often groan over
his unread books, because there were so many which he knew he should
never read. Many a book was at once transferred to the other heap,
marked with a cypher at the end, to show that it contained no passages
for reference, or inscribed, perhaps, "not read," or "only skimmed." The
books accumulated in the "read" heap until the shelves overflowed, and
then, with much lamenting, a day was given up to the cataloguing. He
disliked this work, and as the necessity of undertaking the work became
imperative, would often say, in a voice of despair, "We really must do
these books soon."

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

In some of his early letters he speaks of filling several note-books
with facts for his book on species; but it was certainly early that he
adopted his plan of using portfolios, as described in the
_Recollections_.[63] My father and M. de Candolle were mutually pleased
to discover that they had adopted the same plan of classifying facts. De
Candolle describes the method in his _Phytologie_, and in his sketch of
my father mentions the satisfaction he felt in seeing it in action at

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

He shows the same feeling in writing about the loss of a manuscript, the
purport of his words being, "I have a copy, or the loss would have
killed me." In writing a book he would spend much time and labour in
making a skeleton or plan of the whole, and in enlarging and
sub-classing each heading, as described in his _Recollections_. I think
this careful arrangement of the plan was not at all essential to the
building up of his argument, but for its presentment, and for the
arrangement of his facts. In his _Life of Erasmus Darwin_, as it was
first printed in slips, the growth of the book from a skeleton was
plainly visible. The arrangement was altered afterwards, because it was
too formal and categorical, and seemed to give the character of his
grandfather rather by means of a list of qualities than as a complete

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

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

My sister, Mrs. Litchfield, writes:--

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

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

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

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

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

For the same reason he took much interest in the illustrations of his
books, and I think rated rather too highly their value. The
illustrations for his earlier books were drawn by professional artists.
This was the case in _Animals and Plants_, the _Descent of Man_, and the
_Expression of the Emotions_. On the other hand, _Climbing Plants_,
_Insectivorous Plants_, the _Movements of Plants_, and _Forms of
Flowers_, were, to a large extent, illustrated by some of his
children--my brother George having drawn by far the most. It was
delightful to draw for him, as he was enthusiastic in his praise of very
moderate performances. I remember well his charming manner of receiving
the drawings of one of his daughters-in-law, and how he would finish his
words of praise by saying, "Tell A----, Michael Angelo is nothing to
it." Though he praised so generously, he always looked closely at the
drawing, and easily detected mistakes or carelessness.

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

His consideration for other authors was as marked a characteristic as
his tone towards his reader. He speaks of all other authors as persons
deserving of respect. In cases where, as in the case of ----'s
experiments on Drosera, he thought lightly of the author, he speaks of
him in such a way that no one would suspect it. In other cases he treats
the confused writings of ignorant persons as though the fault lay with
himself for not appreciating or understanding them. Besides this general
tone of respect, he had a pleasant way of expressing his opinion on the
value of a quoted work, or his obligation for a piece of private

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

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

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

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

His feeling about reclamations, including answers to attacks and all
kinds of discussions, was strong. It is simply expressed in a letter to
Falconer (1863): "If I ever felt angry towards you, for whom I have a
sincere friendship, I should begin to suspect that I was a little mad. I
was very sorry about your reclamation, as I think it is in every case a
mistake and should be left to others. Whether I should so act myself
under provocation is a different question." It was a feeling partly
dictated by instinctive delicacy, and partly by a strong sense of the
waste of time, energy, and temper thus caused. He said that he owed his
determination not to get into discussions[64] to the advice of
Lyell,--advice which he transmitted to those among his friends who were
given to paper warfare.

If the character of my father's working life is to be understood, the
conditions of ill-health, under which he worked, must be constantly
borne in mind. He bore his illness with such uncomplaining patience,
that even his children can hardly, I believe, realise the extent of his
habitual suffering. In their case the difficulty is heightened by the
fact that, from the days of their earliest recollections, they saw him
in constant ill-health,--and saw him, in spite of it, full of pleasure
in what pleased them. Thus, in later life, their perception of what he
endured had to be disentangled from the impression produced in childhood
by constant genial kindness under conditions of unrecognised difficulty.
No one indeed, except my mother, knows the full amount of suffering he
endured, or the full amount of his wonderful patience. For all the
latter years of his life she never left him for a night; and her days
were so planned that all his resting hours might be shared with her. She
shielded him from every avoidable annoyance, and omitted nothing that
might save him trouble, or prevent him becoming overtired, or that might
alleviate the many discomforts of his ill-health. I hesitate to speak
thus freely of a thing so sacred as the life-long devotion which
prompted all this constant and tender care. But it is, I repeat, a
principal feature of his life, that for nearly forty years he never knew
one day of the health of ordinary men, and that thus his life was one
long struggle against the weariness and strain of sickness. And this
cannot be told without speaking of the one condition which enabled him
to bear the strain and fight out the struggle to the end.


[52] From the _Century Magazine_, January 1883.

[53] The figure in _Insectivorous Plants_ representing the aggregated
cell-contents was drawn by him.

[54] _Life and Letters_, vol. iii. frontispiece.

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

[56] Cf. Leslie Stephen's _Swift_, 1882, p. 200, where Swift's
inspection of the manners and customs of servants are compared to my
father's observations on worms, "The difference is," says Mr. Stephen,
"that Darwin had none but kindly feelings for worms."

[57] The words, "A good and dear child," form the descriptive part of
the inscription on her gravestone. See the _Athenæum_, Nov. 26, 1887.

[58] Some pleasant recollections of my father's life at Down, written by
our friend and former neighbour, Mrs. Wallis Nash, have been published
in the _Overland Monthly_ (San Francisco), October 1890.

[59] _Darwin considéré au point de vue des causes de son succès_
(Geneva, 1882).

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

[61] This is not so much an example of superabundant theorising from a
small cause as of his wish to test the most improbable ideas.

[62] That is to say, the sexual relations in such plants as the cowslip.

[63] The racks in which the portfolios were placed are shown in the
illustration at the head of the chapter, in the recess at the right-hand
side of the fire-place.

[64] He departed from his rule in his "Note on the Habits of the Pampas
Woodpecker, _Colaptes campestris_," _Proc. Zool. Soc._, 1870, p. 705:
also in a letter published in the _Athenæum_ (1863, p. 554), in which
case he afterwards regretted that he had not remained silent. His
replies to criticisms, in the latter editions of the _Origin_, can
hardly be classed as infractions of his rule.



My father's Cambridge life comprises the time between the Lent Term,
1828, when he came up to Christ's College as a Freshman, and the end of
the May Term, 1831, when he took his degree[65] and left the University.

He "kept" for a term or two in lodgings, over Bacon[66] the
tobacconist's; not, however, over the shop in the Market Place, so well
known to Cambridge men, but in Sydney Street. For the rest of his time
he had pleasant rooms on the south side of the first court of

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

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

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

It is curious that my father often spoke of his Cambridge life as if it
had been so much time wasted,[68] forgetting that, although the set
studies of the place were barren enough for him, he yet gained in the
highest degree the best advantages of a University life--the contact
with men and an opportunity for mental growth. It is true that he valued
at its highest the advantages which he gained from associating with
Professor Henslow and some others, but he seemed to consider this as a
chance outcome of his life at Cambridge, not an advantage for which
_Alma Mater_ could claim any credit. One of my father's Cambridge
friends was the late Mr. J. M. Herbert, County Court Judge for South
Wales, from whom I was fortunate enough to obtain some notes which help
us to gain an idea of how my father impressed his contemporaries. Mr.
Herbert writes:--

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

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

To realise the strength of the feeling that led to this resolve, we must
remember how passionate was his love of sport. We must recall the boy
shooting his first snipe,[69] and trembling with excitement so that he
could hardly reload his gun. Or think of such a sentence as, "Upon my
soul, it is only about a fortnight to the 'First,' then if there is a
bliss on earth that is it."[70]

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

"He armed me with a bottle of alcohol, in which I had to drop any beetle
which struck me as not of a common kind. I performed this duty with some
diligence in my constitutional walks; but, alas! my powers of
discrimination seldom enabled mo to secure a prize--the usual result, on
his examining the contents of my bottle, being an exclamation, 'Well,
old Cherbury'[71] (the nickname he gave me, and by which he usually
addressed me), 'none of these will do.'" Again, the Rev. T. Butler, who
was one of the Barmouth reading-party in 1828, says: "He inoculated me
with a taste for Botany which has stuck by me all my life."

Archdeacon Watkins, another old college friend of my father's,
remembered him unearthing beetles in the willows between Cambridge and
Grantchester, and speaks of a certain beetle the remembrance of whose
name is "Crux major."[72] How enthusiastically must my father have
exulted over this beetle to have impressed its name on a companion so
that he remembers it after half a century!

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

My father formed one of a club for dining once a week, called the
Glutton Club, the members, besides himself and Mr. Herbert (from whom I
quote), being Whitley of St. John's, now Honorary Canon of Durham;[73]
Heaviside of Sydney, now Canon of Norwich; Lovett Cameron of Trinity,
sometime vicar of Shoreham; R. Blane of Trinity,[74] who held a high
post during the Crimean war, H. Lowe[75] (afterwards Sherbrooke) of
Trinity Hall; and F. Watkins of Emmanuel, afterwards Archdeacon of York.
The origin of the club's name seems already to have become involved in
obscurity; it certainly implied no unusual luxury in the weekly

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

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

Besides a love of music, he had certainly at this time a love of fine
literature; and Mr. Cameron tells me that my father took much pleasure
in Shakespeare readings carried on in his rooms at Christ's. He also
speaks of Darwin's "great liking for first-class line engravings,
especially those of Raphael Morghen and Müller; and he spent hours in
the Fitzwilliam Museum in looking over the prints in that collection."

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

We get some evidence from my father's letters to Fox of his intention of
going into the Church. "I am glad," he writes,[76] "to hear that you are
reading divinity. I should like to know what books you are reading, and
your opinions about them; you need not be afraid of preaching to me
prematurely." Mr. Herbert's sketch shows how doubts arose in my father's
mind as to the possibility of his taking Orders. He writes, "We had an
earnest conversation about going into Holy Orders; and I remember his
asking me, with reference to the question put by the Bishop in the
Ordination Service, 'Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the
Holy Spirit, &c.,' whether I could answer in the affirmative, and on my
saying I could not, he said, 'Neither can I, and therefore I cannot take
orders.'" This conversation appears to have taken place in 1829, and if
so, the doubts here expressed must have been quieted, for in May 1830,
he speaks of having some thoughts of reading divinity with Henslow.

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

_C. D. to J. M. Herbert._ September 14, 1828.[77]

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

But now for business. _Several_ more specimens, if you can procure them
without much trouble, of the following insects:--The violet-black
coloured beetle, found on Craig Storm,[78] under stones, also a large
smooth black one very like it; a bluish metallic-coloured dung-beetle,
which is _very_ common on the hill-sides; also, if you _would_ be so
very kind as to cross the ferry, and you will find a great number under
the stones on the waste land of a long, smooth, jet-black beetle (a
great many of these); also, in the same situation, a very small pinkish
insect, with black spots, with a curved thorax projecting beyond the
head; also, upon the marshy land over the ferry, near the sea, under old
sea weed, stones, &c., you will find a small yellowish transparent
beetle, with two or four blackish marks on the back. Under these stones
there are two sorts, one much darker than the other; the lighter
coloured is that which I want. These last two insects are _excessively
rare_, and you will really _extremely_ oblige me by taking all this
trouble pretty soon. Remember me most kindly to Butler,[79] tell him of
my success, and I dare say both of you will easily recognise these
insects. I hope his caterpillars go on well. I think many of the
Chrysalises are well worth keeping. I really am quite ashamed [of] so
long a letter all about my own concerns; but do return good for evil,
and send me a long account of all your proceedings.

In the first week I killed seventy-five head of game--a very
contemptible number--but there are very few birds. I killed, however, a
brace of black game. Since then I have been staying at the Fox's, near
Derby; it is a very pleasant house, and the music meeting went off very
well. I want to hear how Yates likes his gun, and what use he has made
of it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY DEAR FOX--In your letter to Holden you are pleased to observe "that
of all the blackguards you ever met with I am the greatest." Upon this
observation I shall make no remarks, excepting that I must give you all
due credit for acting on it most rigidly. And now I should like to know
in what one particular are you less of a blackguard than I am? You idle
old wretch, why have you not answered my last letter, which I am sure I
forwarded to Clifton nearly three weeks ago? If I was not really very
anxious to hear what you are doing, I should have allowed you to remain
till you thought it worth while to treat me like a gentleman. And now
having vented my spleen in scolding you, and having told you, what you
must know, how very much and how anxiously I want to hear how you and
your family are getting on at Clifton, the purport of this letter is
finished. If you did but know how often I think of you, and how often I
regret your absence, I am sure I should have heard from you long enough

I find Cambridge rather stupid, and as I know scarcely any one that
walks, and this joined with my lips not being quite so well, has reduced
me to a sort of hybernation.... I have caught Mr. Harbour[80] letting
---- have the first pick of the beetles; accordingly we have made our
final adieus, my part in the affecting scene consisted in telling him he
was a d----d rascal, and signifying I should kick him down the stairs if
ever he appeared in my rooms again. It seemed altogether mightily to
surprise the young gentleman. I have no news to tell you; indeed, when a
correspondence has been broken off like ours has been, it is difficult
to make the first start again. Last night there was a terrible fire at
Linton, eleven miles from Cambridge. Seeing the reflection so plainly in
the sky, Hall, Woodyeare, Turner, and myself thought we would ride and
see it. We set out at half-past nine, and rode like incarnate devils
there, and did not return till two in the morning. Altogether it was a
most awful sight. I cannot conclude without telling you, that of all the
blackguards I ever met with, you are the greatest and the best.

In July 1829 he had written to Fox:--

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

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

"I am through my Little-go!!! I am too much exalted to humble myself by
apologising for not having written before. But I assure you before I
went in, and when my nerves were in a shattered and weak condition, your
injured person often rose before my eyes and taunted me with my
idleness. But I am through, through, through. I could write the whole
sheet full with this delightful word. I went in yesterday, and have
just heard the joyful news. I shall not know for a week which class I am
in. The whole examination is carried on in a different system. It has
one grand advantage--being over in one day. They are rather strict, and
ask a wonderful number of questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I do not know why the degree should make one so miserable, both before
and afterwards. I recollect you were sufficiently wretched before, and I
can assure [you], I am now; and what makes it the more ridiculous is, I
know not what about. I believe it is a beautiful provision of nature to
make one regret the less leaving so pleasant a place as Cambridge; and
amongst all its pleasures--I say it for once and for all--none so great
as my friendship with you. I sent you a newspaper yesterday, in which
you will see what a good place--tenth--I have got in the Poll. As for
Christ's, did you ever see such a college for producing Captains and
Apostles?[81] There are no men either at Emmanuel or Christ's plucked.
Cameron is gulfed,[82] together with other three Trinity scholars! My
plans are not at all settled. I think I shall keep this term, and then
go and economise at Shrewsbury, return and take my degree.

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


In a letter addressed to Captain Fitz-Roy, before the _Beagle_ sailed,
my father wrote, "What a glorious day the 4th of November[83] will be to
me--my second life will then commence, and it shall be as a birthday for
the rest of my life."

Foremost in the chain of circumstances which led to his appointment to
the _Beagle_, was his friendship with Professor Henslow, of which the
autobiography gives a sufficient account.[84]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Later on in the summer the scheme took more definite form, and the date
seems to have been fixed for June 1832. He got information in London
about passage-money, and in July was working at Spanish and calling Fox
"un grandìsimo lebron," in proof of his knowledge of the language. But
even then he seems to have had some doubts about his companions' zeal,
for he writes to Henslow (July 27, 1831): "I hope you continue to fan
your Canary ardour. I read and re-read Humboldt;[85] do you do the same.
I am sure nothing will prevent us seeing the Great Dragon Tree."

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

The following extract from the pocket-book will be a help in reading the

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

"_September._--Went to Maer, returned with Uncle Jos. to Shrewsbury,
thence to Cambridge. London.

"_11th._--Went with Captain Fitz-Roy in steamer to Plymouth to see the

"_22nd._--Returned to Shrewsbury, passing through Cambridge.

"_October 2nd._--Took leave of my home. Stayed in London.

"_24th._--Reached Plymouth.

"_October and November._--These months very miserable.

"_December 10th._--Sailed, but were obliged to put back.

"_21st._--Put to sea again, and were driven back.

"_27th._--Sailed from England on our Circumnavigation."

_George Peacock[86] to J. S. Henslow_ [1831].

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

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

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

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

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

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

"My father's objections are these: the unfitting me to settle down as a
Clergyman, my little habit of seafaring, _the shortness of the time_,
and the chance of my not suiting Captain Fitz-Roy. It is certainly a
very serious objection, the very short time for all my preparations, as
not only body but mind wants making up for such an undertaking. But if
it had not been for my father I would have taken all risks. What was the
reason that a Naturalist was not long ago fixed upon? I am very much
obliged for the trouble you have had about it; there certainly could not
have been a better opportunity....

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

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

[Maer] August 31 [1831].

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

I have given Uncle Jos[87] what I fervently trust is an accurate and
full list of your objections, and he is kind enough to give his opinions
on all. The list and his answers will be enclosed. But may I beg of you
one favour, it will be doing me the greatest kindness, if you will send
me a decided answer, yes or no? If the latter, I should be most
ungrateful if I did not implicitly yield to your better judgment, and to
the kindest indulgence you have shown me all through my life; and you
may rely upon it I will never mention the subject again. If your answer
should be yes; I will go directly to Henslow and consult deliberately
with him, and then come to Shrewsbury.

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

I must again state I cannot think it would unfit me hereafter for a
steady life. I do hope this letter will not give you much uneasiness. I
send it by the car to-morrow morning; if you make up your mind directly
will you send me an answer on the following day by the same means? If
this letter should not find you at home, I hope you will answer as soon
as you conveniently can.

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

Believe me, my dear father, your affectionate son,


Here follow the objections above referred to:--

"(1.) Disreputable to my character as a Clergyman hereafter.

"(2.) A wild scheme.

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

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

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

"(6.) That my accommodations would be most uncomfortable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

... The whole of yesterday I spent with Henslow, thinking of what is to
be done, and that I find is a great deal. By great good luck I know a
man of the name of Wood, nephew of Lord Londonderry. He is a great
friend of Captain Fitz-Roy, and has written to him about me. I heard a
part of Captain Fitz-Roy's letter, dated some time ago, in which he
says: 'I have a right good set of officers, and most of my men have been
there before.' It seems he has been there for the last few years; he was
then second in command with the same vessel that he has now chosen. He
is only twenty-three years old, but [has] seen a deal of service, and
won the gold medal at Portsmouth. The Admiralty say his maps are most
perfect. He had choice of two vessels, and he chose the smallest.
Henslow will give me letters to all travellers in town whom he thinks
may assist me.

... I write as if it was settled, but Henslow tells me _by no means_ to
make up my mind till I have had long conversations with Captains
Beaufort and Fitz-Roy. Good-bye. You will hear from me constantly.
Direct 17 Spring Gardens. _Tell nobody_ in Shropshire yet. Be sure not.

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

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

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

My father wrote:--

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

"There is something most extremely attractive in his manners and way of
coming straight to the point. If I live with him, he says I must live
poorly--no wine, and the plainest dinners. The scheme is not certainly
so good as Peacock describes. Captain Fitz-Roy advises me not [to] make
up my mind quite yet, but that, seriously, he thinks it will have much
more pleasure than pain for me....

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

_C. D. to Miss Susan Darwin._ London [September 6, 1831].

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

I write all this as if it was settled, but it is not more than it was,
excepting that from Captain Fitz-Roy wishing me so much to go, and, from
his kindness, I feel a predestination I shall start. I spent a very
pleasant evening with him yesterday. He must be more than twenty-three
years old; he is of a slight figure, and a dark but handsome edition of
Mr. Kynaston, and, according to my notions, pre-eminently good manners.
He is all for economy, excepting on one point--viz., fire-arms. He
recommends me strongly to get a case of pistols like his, which cost
£60!! and never to go on shore anywhere without loaded ones, and he is
doubting about a rifle; he says I cannot appreciate the luxury of fresh
meat here. Of course I shall buy nothing till everything is settled;
but I work all day long at my lists, putting in and striking out
articles. This is the first really cheerful day I have spent since I
received the letter, and it all is owing to the sort of involuntary
confidence I place in my _beau ideal_ of a Captain.

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

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

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

No vessel ever left England with such a set of Chronometers, viz.
twenty-four, all very good ones. In short, everything is well, and I
have only now to pray for the sickness to moderate its fierceness, and I
shall do very well. Yet I should not call it one of the very best
opportunities for natural history that has ever occurred. The absolute
want of room is an evil that nothing can surmount. I think L. Jenyns did
very wisely in not coming, that is judging from my own feelings, for I
am sure if I had left college some few years, or been those years older
I _never_ could have endured it. The officers (excepting the Captain)
are like the freshest freshmen, that is in their manners, in everything
else widely different. Remember me most kindly to him, and tell him if
ever he dreams in the night of palm-trees, he may in the morning comfort
himself with the assurance that the voyage would not have suited him.

I am much obliged for your advice, _de Mathematicis_. I suspect when
I am struggling with a triangle, I shall often wish myself in your
room, and as for those wicked sulky surds, I do not know what I
shall do without you to conjure them. My time passes away very
pleasantly. I know one or two pleasant people, foremost of whom is Mr.
Thunder-and-lightning Harris,[88] whom I dare say you have heard of. My
chief employment is to go on board the _Beagle_, and try to look as much
like a sailor as I can. I have no evidence of having taken in man, woman
or child.

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

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

Believe me, yours affectionately,

_C. D. to J. S. Henslow._ Devonport [December 3, 1831].

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

I will now give you my direction: it is at first, Rio; but if you will
send me a letter on the first Tuesday (when the packet sails) in
February, directed to Monte Video, it will give me very great pleasure:
I shall so much enjoy hearing a little Cambridge news. Poor dear old
_Alma Mater_! I am a very worthy son in as far as affection goes. I have
little more to write about.... I cannot end this without telling you how
cordially I feel grateful for the kindness you have shown me during my
Cambridge life. Much of the pleasure and utility which I may have
derived from it is owing to you. I long for the time when we shall again
meet, and till then believe me, my dear Henslow,

Your affectionate and obliged friend,


[65] "On Tuesday last Charles Darwin, of Christ's College, was admitted
B.A."--_Cambridge Chronicle_, Friday, April 29th, 1831.

[66] Readers of Calverley (another Christ's man) will remember his
tobacco poem ending "Hero's to thee, Bacon."

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

[68] For instance in a letter to Hooker (1817):--"Many thanks for your
welcome note from Cambridge, and I am glad you like my _Alma Mater_,
which I despise heartily as a place of education, but love from many
most pleasant recollections."

[69] Autobiography p. 10.

[70] From a letter to W. D. Fox.

[71] No doubt in allusion to the title of Lord Herbert of Cherbury.

[72] _Panagæus crux-major._

[73] Formerly Reader in Natural Philosophy at Durham University.

[74] Blane was afterwards, I believe, in the Life Guards; he was in the
Crimean War, and afterwards Military Attaché at St. Petersburg. I am
indebted to Mr. Hamilton for information about some of my father's

[75] Brother of Lord Sherbrooke.

[76] March 18, 1829.

[77] The postmark being Derby seems to show that the letter was written
from his cousin, W. D. Fox's house, Osmaston, near Derby.

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

[79] Rev. T. Butler, a son of the former head master of Shrewsbury

[80] No doubt a paid collector.

[81] The "Captain" is at the head of the "Poll": the "Apostles" are the
last twelve in the Mathematical Tripos.

[82] For an explanation of the word "gulfed" or "gulphed," see Mr. W. W.
Rouse Balls' interesting _History of the Study of Mathematics at
Cambridge_ (1889), p. 160.

[83] The _Beagle_ should have started on Nov. 4, but was delayed until
Dec. 27.

[84] See, too, a sketch by my father of his old master, in the Rev. L.
Blomefield's _Memoir of Professor Henslow_.

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

[86] Formerly Dean of Ely, and Lowndean Professor of Astronomy at

[87] Josiah Wedgwood.

[88] William Snow Harris, the Electrician.




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

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

The _Beagle_ is described[89] as a well-built little vessel, of 235
tons, rigged as a barque, and carrying six guns. She belonged to the old
class of ten-gun brigs, which were nicknamed "coffins," from their
liability to go down in severe weather. They were very "deep-waisted,"
that is, their bulwarks were high in proportion to their size, so that a
heavy sea breaking over them might be highly dangerous. Nevertheless,
she had already lived through five years' work, in the most stormy
regions in the world, under Commanders Stokes and Fitz-Roy without a
serious accident. When re-commissioned in 1831 for her second voyage,
she was found (as I learned from the late Admiral Sir James Sulivan) to
be so rotten that she had practically to be rebuilt, and it was this
that caused the long delay in refitting.

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

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

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

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

In a letter to his sister (July 1832), he writes contentedly of his
manner of life at sea:--"I do not think I have ever given you an account
of how the day passes. We breakfast at eight o'clock. The invariable
maxim is to throw away all politeness--that is, never to wait for each
other, and bolt off the minute one has done eating, &c. At sea, when the
weather is calm, I work at marine animals, with which the whole ocean
abounds. If there is any sea up I am either sick or contrive to read
some voyage or travels. At one we dine. You shore-going people are
lamentably mistaken about the manner of living on board. We have never
yet (nor shall we) dined off salt meat. Rice and peas and _calavanses_
are excellent vegetables, and, with good bread, who could want more?
Judge Alderson could not be more temperate, as nothing but water comes
on the table. At five we have tea."

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

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

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

It is pleasant to know how affectionately his old companions remember

Sir James Sulivan remained, throughout my father's lifetime, one of his
best and truest friends. He writes:--"I can confidently express my
belief that during the five years in the _Beagle_, he was never known to
be out of temper, or to say one unkind or hasty word _of_ or _to_ any
one. You will therefore readily understand how this, combined with the
admiration of his energy and ability, led to our giving him the name of
'the dear old Philosopher.'"[90] Admiral Mellersh writes to me:--"Your
father is as vividly in my mind's eye as if it was only a week ago that
I was in the _Beagle_ with him; his genial smile and conversation can
never be forgotten by any who saw them and heard them. I was sent on two
or three occasions away in a boat with him on some of his scientific
excursions, and always looked forward to these trips with great
pleasure, an anticipation that, unlike many others, was always realised.
I think he was the only man I ever knew against whom I never heard a
word said; and as people when shut up in a ship for five years are apt
to get cross with each other, that is saying a good deal."

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

Captain Fitz-Roy was a strict officer, and made himself thoroughly
respected both by officers and men. The occasional severity of his
manner was borne with because every one on board knew that his first
thought was his duty, and that he would sacrifice anything to the real
welfare of the ship. My father writes, July 1834: "We all jog on very
well together, there is no quarrelling on board, which is something to
say. The Captain keeps all smooth by rowing every one in turn."

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

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

It has been assumed that his ill-health in later years was due to his
having suffered so much from sea-sickness. This he did not himself
believe, but rather ascribed his bad health to the hereditary fault
which took shape as gout in some of the past generations. I am not quite
clear as to how much he actually suffered from sea-sickness; my
impression is distinct that, according to his own memory, he was not
actually ill after the first three weeks, but constantly uncomfortable
when the vessel pitched at all heavily. But, judging from his letters,
and from the evidence of some of the officers, it would seem that in
later years he forgot the extent of the discomfort. Writing June 3,
1836, from the Cape of Good Hope, he says: "It is a lucky thing for me
that the voyage is drawing to its close, for I positively suffer more
from sea-sickness now than three years ago."

_C. D. to R. W. Darwin._ Bahia, or San Salvador, Brazil. [February 8,

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

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

On the 4th of January we were not many miles from Madeira, but as there
was a heavy sea running, and the island lay to windward, it was not
thought worth while to beat up to it. It afterwards has turned out it
was lucky we saved ourselves the trouble. I was much too sick even to
get up to see the distant outline. On the 6th, in the evening, we sailed
into the harbour of Santa Cruz. I now first felt even moderately well,
and I was picturing to myself all the delights of fresh fruit growing in
beautiful valleys, and reading Humboldt's description of the island's
glorious views, when perhaps you may nearly guess at our disappointment,
when a small pale man informed us we must perform a strict quarantine of
twelve days. There was a death-like stillness in the ship till the
Captain cried "up jib," and we left this long wished-for place.

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

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

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

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

_February 26th._--About 280 miles from Bahia. We have been singularly
unlucky in not meeting with any homeward-bound vessels, but I suppose
[at] Bahia we certainly shall be able to write to England. Since writing
the first part of [this] letter nothing has occurred except crossing the
Equator, and being shaved. This most disagreeable operation, consists in
having your face rubbed with paint and tar, which forms a lather for a
saw which represents the razor, and then being half drowned in a sail
filled with salt water. About 50 miles north of the line we touched at
the rocks of St. Paul; this little speck (about ¼ of a mile across) in
the Atlantic has seldom been visited. It is totally barren, but is
covered by hosts of birds; they were so unused to men that we found we
could kill plenty with stones and sticks. After remaining some hours on
the island, we returned on board with the boat loaded with our prey.[91]
From this we went to Fernando Noronha, a small island where the
[Brazilians] send their exiles. The landing there was attended with so
much difficulty owing [to] a heavy surf that the Captain determined to
sail the next day after arriving. My one day on shore was exceedingly
interesting, the whole island is one single wood so matted together by
creepers that it is very difficult to move out of the beaten path. I
find the Natural History of all these unfrequented spots most
exceedingly interesting, especially the geology. I have written this
much in order to save time at Bahia.

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

_March 1st._--Bahia, or San Salvador. I arrived at this place on the
28th of February, and am now writing this letter after having in real
earnest strolled in the forests of the new world. No person could
imagine anything so beautiful as the ancient town of Bahia, it is fairly
embosomed in a luxuriant wood of beautiful trees, and situated on a
steep bank, and overlooks the calm waters of the great bay of All
Saints. The houses are white and lofty, and, from the windows being
narrow and long, have a very light and elegant appearance. Convents,
porticos, and public buildings, vary the uniformity of the houses; the
bay is scattered over with large ships; in short, and what can be said
more, it is one of the finest views in the Brazils. But the exquisite
glorious pleasure of walking amongst such flowers, and such trees,
cannot be comprehended but by those who have experienced it.[92]
Although in so low a latitude the locality is not disagreeably hot, but
at present it is very damp, for it is the rainy season. I find the
climate as yet agrees admirably with me; it makes me long to live
quietly for some time in such a country. If you really want to have [an
idea] of tropical countries, study Humboldt. Skip the scientific parts,
and commence after leaving Teneriffe. My feelings amount to admiration
the more I read him....

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

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

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

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

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

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

The _Beagle_ letters give ample proof of his strong love of home, and
all connected with it, from his father down to Nancy, his old nurse, to
whom he sometimes sends his love.

His delight in home-letters is shown in such passages as:--"But if you
knew the glowing, unspeakable delight, which I felt at being certain
that my father and all of you were well, only four months ago, you would
not grudge the labour lost in keeping up the regular series of letters."

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

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

"I have just received a bundle more letters. I do not know how to thank
you all sufficiently. One from Catherine, February 8th, another from
Susan, March 3rd, together with notes from Caroline and from my father;
give my best love to my father. I almost cried for pleasure at receiving
it; it was very kind thinking of writing to me. My letters are both few,
short, and stupid in return for all yours; but I always ease my
conscience, by considering the Journal as a long letter."

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

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

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

May 18, 1832, to Henslow:--

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

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

"Geology carries the day: it is like the pleasure of gambling.
Speculating, on first arriving, what the rocks may be, I often mentally
cry out 3 to 1 tertiary against primitive; but the latter have hitherto
won all the bets. So much for the grand end of my voyage: in other
respects things are equally flourishing. My life, when at sea, is so
quiet, that to a person who can employ himself, nothing can be
pleasanter; the beauty of the sky and brilliancy of the ocean together
make a picture. But when on shore, and wandering in the sublime forests,
surrounded by views more gorgeous than even Claude ever imagined, I
enjoy a delight which none but those who have experienced it can
understand. At our ancient snug breakfasts, at Cambridge, I little
thought that the wide Atlantic would ever separate us; but it is a rare
privilege that with the body, the feelings and memory are not divided.
On the contrary, the pleasantest scenes in my life, many of which have
been in Cambridge, rise from the contrast of the present, the more
vividly in my imagination. Do you think any diamond beetle will ever
give me so much pleasure as our old friend _crux-major_?... It is one of
my most constant amusements to draw pictures of the past; and in them I
often see you and poor little Fan. Oh, Lord, and then old Dash poor
thing! Do you recollect how you all tormented me about his beautiful
tail?"--[From a letter to Fox.]

To his sister, June 1833:--

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

To Fox, July 1835:--

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

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

Valparaiso, April 23, 1835.

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

I do not suppose any of you can be much interested in geological
details, but I will just mention my principal results:--Besides
understanding to a certain extent the description and manner of the
force which has elevated this great line of mountains, I can clearly
demonstrate that one part of the double line is of an age long posterior
to the other. In the more ancient line, which is the true chain of the
Andes, I can describe the sort and order of the rocks which compose it.
These are chiefly remarkable by containing a bed of gypsum nearly 2000
feet thick--a quantity of this substance I should think unparalleled in
the world. What is of much greater consequence, I have procured fossil
shells (from an elevation of 12,000 feet). I think an examination of
these will give an approximate age to these mountains, as compared to
the strata of Europe. In the other line of the Cordilleras there is a
strong presumption (in my own mind, conviction) that the enormous mass
of mountains, the peaks of which rise to 13,000 and 14,000 feet, are so
very modern as to be contemporaneous with the plains of Patagonia (or
about with the _upper_ strata of the Isle of Wight). If this result
shall be considered as proved,[93] it is a very important fact in the
theory of the formation of the world; because, if such wonderful changes
have taken place so recently in the crust of the globe, there can be no
reason for supposing former epochs of excessive violence....

Another feature in his letters is the surprise and delight with which he
hears of his collections and observations being of some use. It seems
only to have gradually occurred to him that he would ever be more than a
collector of specimens and facts, of which the great men were to make
use. And even as to the value of his collections he seems to have had
much doubt, for he wrote to Henslow in 1834: "I really began to think
that my collections were so poor that you were puzzled what to say; the
case is now quite on the opposite tack, for you are guilty of exciting
all my vain feelings to a most comfortable pitch; if hard work will
atone for these thoughts, I vow it shall not be spared."

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

"Both your letters were full of good news; especially the expressions
which you tell me Professor Sedgwick[94] used about my collections. I
confess they are deeply gratifying--I trust one part at least will turn
out true, and that I shall act as I now think--as a man who dares to
waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life. Professor
Sedgwick mentioning my name at all gives me hopes that he will assist me
with his advice, of which, in my geological questions, I stand much in

Occasional allusions to slavery show us that his feeling on this subject
was at this time as strong as in later life[95]:--

"The Captain does everything in his power to assist me, and we get on
very well, but I thank my better fortune he has not made me a renegade
to Whig principles. I would not be a Tory, if it was merely on account
of their cold hearts about that scandal to Christian nations--Slavery."

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

_C. D. to J. S. Henslow._ Sydney [January, 1836].

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

I must return to my old resource and think of the future, but that I may
not become more prosy, I will say farewell till the day arrives, when I
shall see my Master in Natural History, and can tell him how grateful I
feel for his kindness and friendship.

Believe me, dear Henslow, ever yours most faithfully.

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

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

Farewell for the present,
Yours most truly obliged.

After his return and settlement in London, he began to realise the value
of what he had done, and wrote to Captain Fitz-Roy--"However others may
look back to the _Beagle's_ voyage, now that the small disagreeable
parts are well-nigh forgotten, I think it far the _most fortunate
circumstance in my life_ that the chance afforded by your offer of
taking a Naturalist fell on me. I often have the most vivid and
delightful pictures of what I saw on board the _Beagle_[96] pass before
my eyes. These recollections, and what I learnt on Natural History, I
would not exchange for twice ten thousand a year."


[89] _Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle_, vol. i. introduction xii.
The illustration at the head of the chapter is from vol. ii. of the same

[90] His other nickname was "The Flycatcher." I have heard my father
tell how he overheard the boatswain of the _Beagle_ showing another
boatswain over the ship, and pointing out the officers: "That's our
first lieutenant; that's our doctor; that's our flycatcher."

[91] "There was such a scene here. Wickham (1st Lieutenant) and I were
the only two who landed with guns and geological hammers, &c. The birds
by myriads were too close to shoot; we then tried stones, but at last,
_proh pudor!_ my geological hammer was the instrument of death. We soon
loaded the boat with birds and eggs. Whilst we were so engaged, the men
in the boat were fairly fighting with the sharks for such magnificent
fish as you could not see in the London market. Our boat would have made
a fine subject for Snyders, such a medley of game it contained."--From a
letter to Herbert.

[92] "My mind has been, since leaving England, in a perfect hurricane of
delight and astonishment."--_C. D. to Fox_, May 1832, from Botofogo Bay.

[93] The importance of these results has been fully recognized by

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

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

[96] According to the _Japan Weekly Mail_, as quoted in _Nature_, March
8, 1888, the _Beagle_ is in use as a training ship at Yokosuka, in
Japan. Part of the old ship is, I am glad to think, in my possession, in
the form of a box (which I owe to the kindness of Admiral Mellersh) made
out of her main cross-tree.




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

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

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

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

"I have not made much progress with the great men. I find, as you told
me, that they are all overwhelmed with their own business. Mr. Lyell has
entered, in the _most_ good-natured manner, and almost without being
asked, into all my plans. He tells me, however, the same story, that I
must do all myself. Mr. Owen seems anxious to dissect some of the
animals in spirits, and, besides these two, I have scarcely met any one
who seems to wish to possess any of my specimens. I must except Dr.
Grant, who is willing to examine some of the corallines. I see it is
quite unreasonable to hope for a minute that any man will undertake the
examination of a whole order. It is clear the collectors so much
outnumber the real naturalists that the latter have no time to spare.

"I do not even find that the Collections care for receiving the unnamed
specimens. The Zoological Museum[97] is nearly full, and upwards of a
thousand specimens remain unmounted. I dare say the British Museum would
receive them, but I cannot feel, from all I hear, any great respect even
for the present state of that establishment. Your plan will be not only
the best, but the only one, namely, to come down to Cambridge, arrange
and group together the different families, and then wait till people,
who are already working in different branches, may want specimens....

"I have forgotten to mention Mr. Lonsdale,[98] who gave me a most
cordial reception, and with whom I had much most interesting
conversation. If I was not much more inclined for geology than the other
branches of Natural History, I am sure Mr. Lyell's and Lonsdale's
kindness ought to fix me. You cannot conceive anything more thoroughly
good-natured than the heart-and-soul manner in which he put himself in
my place and thought what would be best to do."

A few days later he writes more cheerfully: "I became acquainted with
Mr. Bell,[99] who, to my surprise, expressed a good deal of interest
about my crustacea and reptiles, and seems willing to work at them. I
also heard that Mr. Broderip would be glad to look over the South
American shells, so that things flourish well with me."

Again, on November 6:--

"All my affairs, indeed, are most prosperous; I find there are plenty
who will undertake the description of whole tribes of animals, of which
I know nothing."

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

My father's specimens included (besides the above-mentioned Toxodon and
Scelidotherium) the remains of Mylodon, Glossotherium, another gigantic
animal allied to the ant-eater, and Macrauchenia. His discovery of these
remains is a matter of interest in itself, but it has a special
importance as a point in his own life, his speculation on the extinction
of these extraordinary creatures[100] and on their relationship to
living forms having formed one of the chief starting-points of his views
on the origin of species. This is shown in the following extract from
his Pocket Book for this year (1837): "In July opened first note-book on
Transmutation of Species. Had been greatly struck from about the month
of previous March on character of South American fossils, and species on
Galapagos Archipelago. These facts (especially latter), origin of all my

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

"Cambridge," he writes, "yet continues a very pleasant, but not half so
merry a place as before. To walk through the courts of Christ's College,
and not know an inhabitant of a single room, gave one a feeling half
melancholy. The only evil I found in Cambridge was its being too
pleasant: there was some agreeable party or another every evening, and
one cannot say one is engaged with so much impunity there as in this
great city."[101]

Early in the spring of 1837 he left Cambridge for London, and a week
later he was settled in lodgings at 36 Great Marlborough Street; and
except for a "short visit to Shrewsbury" in June, he worked on till
September, being almost entirely employed on his _Journal_, of which he
wrote (March):--

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

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

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

In August he writes to Henslow to announce the success of the scheme for
the publication of the _Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle_, through
the promise of a grant of £1000 from the Treasury: "I had an interview
with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[102] He appointed to see me this
morning, and I had a long conversation with him, Mr. Peacock being
present. Nothing could be more thoroughly obliging and kind than his
whole manner. He made no sort of restriction, but only told me to make
the most of the money, which of course I am right willing to do.

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

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

Here he was already beginning to make his mark. Lyell wrote to Sedgwick
(April 21, 1837):--

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

Early in the following year (1838), he was, much against his will,
elected Secretary of the Geological Society, an office he held for three
years. A chief motive for his hesitation in accepting the post was the
condition of his health, the doctors having urged "me to give up
entirely all writing and even correcting press for some weeks. Of late
anything which flurries me completely knocks me up afterwards, and
brings on a violent palpitation of the heart."

In the summer of 1838 he started on his expedition to Glen Roy, where he
spent "eight good days" over the Parallel Roads. His Essay on this
subject was written out during the same summer, and published by the
Royal Society.[103] He wrote in his Pocket Book: "September 6 (1838).
Finished the paper on 'Glen Roy,' one of the most difficult and
instructive tasks I was ever engaged on." It will be remembered that in
his _Autobiography_ he speaks of this paper as a failure, of which he
was ashamed.[104]

_C. D. to Lyell._ [August 9th, 1838.]

36 Great Marlborough Street.

MY DEAR LYELL--I did not write to you at Norwich, for I thought I should
have more to say, if I waited a few more days. Very many thanks for the
present of your _Elements_, which I received (and I believe the _very
first_ copy distributed) together with your note. I have read it through
every word, and am full of admiration of it, and, as I now see no
geologist, I must talk to you about it. There is no pleasure in reading
a book if one cannot have a good talk over it; I repeat, I am full of
admiration of it, it is as clear as daylight, in fact I felt in many
parts some mortification at thinking how geologists have laboured and
struggled at proving what seems, as you have put it, so evidently
probable. I read with much interest your sketch of the secondary
deposits; you have contrived to make it quite "juicy," as we used to say
as children of a good story. There was also much new to me, and I have
to copy out some fifty notes and references. It must do good, the
heretics against common-sense must yield.... By the way, do you
recollect my telling you how much I disliked the manner X. referred to
his other works, as much as to say, "You must, ought, and shall buy
everything I have written." To my mind, you have somehow quite avoided
this; your references only seem to say, "I can't tell you all in this
work, else I would, so you must go to the _Principles_; and many a one,
I trust, you will send there, and make them, like me, adorers of the
good science of rock-breaking."[105] You will see I am in a fit of
enthusiasm, and good cause I have to be, when I find you have made such
infinitely more use of my Journal than I could have anticipated. I will
say no more about the book, for it is all praise. I must, however,
admire the elaborate honesty with which you quote the words of all
living and dead geologists.

My Scotch expedition answered brilliantly; my trip in the steam-packet
was absolutely pleasant, and I enjoyed the spectacle, wretch that I am,
of two ladies, and some small children quite sea-sick, I being well.
Moreover, on my return from Glasgow to Liverpool, I triumphed in a
similar manner over some full-grown men. I stayed one whole day in
Edinburgh, or more truly on Salisbury Craigs; I want to hear some day
what you think about that classical ground,--the structure was to me new
and rather curious,--that is, if I understand it right. I crossed from
Edinburgh in gigs and carts (and carts without springs, as I never shall
forget) to Loch Leven. I was disappointed in the scenery, and reached
Glen Roy on Saturday evening, one week after leaving Marlborough Street.
Here I enjoyed five [?] days of the most beautiful weather with gorgeous
sunsets, and all nature looking as happy as I felt. I wandered over the
mountains in all directions, and examined that most extraordinary
district. I think, without any exceptions, not even the first volcanic
island, the first elevated beach, or the passage of the Cordillera, was
so interesting to me as this week. It is far the most remarkable area I
ever examined. I have fully convinced myself (after some doubting at
first) that the shelves are sea-beaches, although I could not find a
trace of a shell; and I think I can explain away most, if not all, the
difficulties. I found a piece of a road in another valley, not hitherto
observed, which is important; and I have some curious facts about
erratic blocks, one of which was perched up on a peak 2200 feet above
the sea. I am now employed in writing a paper on the subject, which I
find very amusing work, excepting that I cannot anyhow condense it into
reasonable limits. At some future day I hope to talk over some of the
conclusions with you, which the examination of Glen Roy has led me to.
Now I have had my talk out, I am much easier, for I can assure you Glen
Roy has astonished me.

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

I have heard from more than one quarter that quarrelling is expected at
Newcastle[106]; I am sorry to hear it. I met old ---- this evening at
the Athenæum, and he muttered something about writing to you or some one
on the subject; I am however all in the dark. I suppose, however, I
shall be illuminated, for I am going to dine with him in a few days, as
my inventive powers failed in making any excuse. A friend of mine dined
with him the other day, a party of four, and they finished ten bottles
of wine--a pleasant prospect for me; but I am determined not even to
taste his wine, partly for the fun of seeing his infinite disgust and

I pity you the infliction of this most unmerciful letter. Pray remember
me most kindly to Mrs. Lyell when you arrive at Kinnordy. Tell Mrs.
Lyell to read the second series of 'Mr. Slick of Slickville's
Sayings.'... He almost beats 'Samivel,' that prince of heroes. Good
night, my dear Lyell; you will think I have been drinking some strong
drink to write so much nonsense, but I did not even taste Minerva's
small beer to-day....

A record of what he wrote during the year 1838 would not give a true
index of the most important work that was in progress--the laying of the
foundation-stones of what was to be the achievement of his life. This is
shown in the following passages from a letter to Lyell (September), and
from a letter to Fox, written in June:--

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

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

In the winter of 1839 (Jan. 29) my father was married to his cousin,
Emma Wedgwood.[107] The house in which they lived for the first few
years of their married life, No. 12 Upper Gower Street, was a small
common-place London house, with a drawing-room in front, and a small
room behind, in which they lived for the sake of quietness. In later
years my father used to laugh over the surpassing ugliness of the
furniture, carpets, &c., of the Gower Street house. The only redeeming
feature was a better garden than most London houses have, a strip as
wide as the house, and thirty yards long. Even this small space of dingy
grass made their London house more tolerable to its two country-bred

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

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

The entry under August 1839 is: "Read a little, was much unwell and
scandalously idle. I have derived this much good, that _nothing_ is so
intolerable as idleness."

At the end of 1839 his first child was born, and it was then that he
began his observations ultimately published in the _Expression of the
Emotions_. His book on this subject, and the short paper published in
_Mind_,[108] show how closely he observed his child. He seems to have
been surprised at his own feeling for a young baby, for he wrote to Fox
(July 1840): "He [_i.e._ the baby] is so charming that I cannot pretend
to any modesty. I defy anybody to flatter us on our baby, for I defy
anyone to say anything in its praise of which we are not fully
conscious.... I had not the smallest conception there was so much in a
five-month baby. You will perceive by this that I have a fine degree of
paternal fervour."

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

[100] I have often heard him speak of the despair with which he had to
break off the projecting extremity of a huge, partly excavated bone,
when the boat waiting for him would wait no longer.

[101] A trifling record of my father's presence in Cambridge occurs in
the book kept in Christ's College Combination-room, in which fines and
bets are recorded, the earlier entries giving a curious impression of
the after-dinner frame of mind of the Fellows. The bets are not allowed
to be made in money, but are, like the fines, paid in wine. The bet
which my father made and lost is thus recorded:--

"_Feb. 23, 1837._--Mr. Darwin _v._ Mr. Baines, that the combination-room
measures from the ceiling to the floor more than _x_ feet.

"1 Bottle paid same day."

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

[102] Spring Rice.

[103] _Phil. Trans._, 1839, pp. 39-82.

[104] Sir Archibald Geikie has been so good as to allow me to quote a
passage from a letter addressed to me (Nov. 19, 1884):--"Had the idea of
transient barriers of glacier-ice occurred to him, he would have found
the difficulties vanish from the lake-theory which he opposed, and he
would not have been unconsciously led to minimise the altogether
overwhelming objections to the supposition that the terraces are of
marine origin."

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

[105] In a letter of Sept. 13 he wrote:--"It will be a curious point to
geologists hereafter to note how long a man's name will support a theory
so completely exposed as that of De Beaumont has been by you; you say
you 'begin to hope that the great principles there insisted on will
stand the test of time.' _Begin to hope_: why, the _possibility_ of a
doubt has never crossed my mind for many a day. This may be very
unphilosophical, but my geological salvation is staked on it."

[106] At the meeting of the British Association.

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

[108] July 1877.




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

     Letter to Captain Fitz-Roy, October, 1846.

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

On Sept. 14, 1842, my father left London with his family and settled at
Down.[109] In the Autobiographical chapter, his motives for moving into
the country are briefly given. He speaks of the attendance at scientific
societies and ordinary social duties as suiting his health so "badly
that we resolved to live in the country, which we both preferred and
have never repented of." His intention of keeping up with scientific
life in London is expressed in a letter to Fox (Dec., 1842):--

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

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

The choice of Down was rather the result of despair than of actual
preference: my father and mother were weary of house-hunting, and the
attractive points about the place thus seemed to them to counterbalance
its somewhat more obvious faults. It had at least one desideratum,
namely, quietness. Indeed it would have been difficult to find a more
retired place so near to London. In 1842 a coach drive of some twenty
miles was the usual means of access to Down; and even now that railways
have crept closer to it, it is singularly out of the world, with nothing
to suggest the neighbourhood of London, unless it be the dull haze of
smoke that sometimes clouds the sky. The village stands in an angle
between two of the larger high-roads of the country, one leading to
Tunbridge and the other to Westerham and Edenbridge. It is cut off from
the Weald by a line of steep chalk hills on the south, and an abrupt
hill, now smoothed down by a cutting and embankment, must formerly have
been something of a barrier against encroachments from the side of
London. In such a situation, a village, communicating with the main
lines of traffic, only by stony tortuous lanes, may well have preserved
its retired character. Nor is it hard to believe in the smugglers and
their strings of pack-horses making their way up from the lawless old
villages of the Weald, of which the memory still existed when my father
settled in Down. The village stands on solitary upland country, 500 to
600 feet above the sea--a country with little natural beauty, but
possessing a certain charm in the shaws, or straggling strips of wood,
capping the chalky banks and looking down upon the quiet ploughed lands
of the valleys. The village, of three or four hundred inhabitants,
consists of three small streets of cottages meeting in front of the
little flint-built church. It is a place where new-comers are seldom
seen, and the names occurring far back in the old church registers are
still known in the village. The smock-frock is not yet quite extinct,
though chiefly used as a ceremonial dress by the "bearers" at funerals;
but as a boy I remember the purple or green smocks of the men at church.

The house stands a quarter of a mile from the village, and is built,
like so many houses of the last century, as near as possible to the
road--a narrow lane winding away to the Westerham high-road. In 1842, it
was dull and unattractive enough: a square brick building of three
storeys, covered with shabby whitewash, and hanging tiles. The garden
had none of the shrubberies or walls that now give shelter; it was
overlooked from the lane, and was open, bleak, and desolate. One of my
father's first undertakings was to lower the lane by about two feet, and
to build a flint wall along that part of it which bordered the garden.
The earth thus excavated was used in making banks and mounds round the
lawn: these were planted with evergreens, which now give to the garden
its retired and sheltered character.

The house was made to look neater by being covered with stucco, but the
chief improvement effected was the building of a large bow extending up
through three storeys. This bow became covered with a tangle of
creepers, and pleasantly varied the south side of the house. The
drawing-room, with its verandah opening into the garden, as well as the
study in which my father worked during the later years of his life, were
added at subsequent dates.

Eighteen acres of land were sold with the house, of which twelve acres
on the south side of the house form a pleasant field, scattered with
fair-sized oaks and ashes. From this field a strip was cut off and
converted into a kitchen garden, in which the experimental plot of
ground was situated, and where the greenhouses were ultimately put up.

During the whole of 1843 he was occupied with geological work, the
result of which was published in the spring of the following year. It
was entitled _Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands, visited
during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, together with some brief notices on
the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope_; it formed the
second part of the _Geology of the Voyage of the Beagle_, published
"with the Approval of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's
Treasury." The volume on _Coral Reefs_ forms Part I. of the series, and
was published, as we have seen, in 1842. For the sake of the
non-geological reader, I may here quote Sir A. Geikie's words[110] on
these two volumes--which were up to this time my father's chief
geological works. Speaking of the _Coral Reefs_, he says (p. 17): "This
well-known treatise, the most original of all its author's geological
memoirs, has become one of the classics of geological literature. The
origin of those remarkable rings of coral-rock in mid-ocean has given
rise to much speculation, but no satisfactory solution of the problem
had been proposed. After visiting many of them, and examining also coral
reefs that fringe islands and continents, he offered a theory which for
simplicity and grandeur, strikes every reader with astonishment. It is
pleasant, after the lapse of many years, to recall the delight with
which one first read the _Coral Reefs_, how one watched the facts being
marshalled into their places, nothing being ignored or passed lightly
over; and how, step by step, one was led to the grand conclusion of wide
oceanic subsidence. No more admirable example of scientific method was
ever given to the world, and even if he had written nothing else, the
treatise alone would have placed Darwin in the very front of
investigators of nature."

It is interesting to see in the following extract from one of Lyell's
letters[111] how warmly and readily he embraced the theory. The extract
also gives incidentally some idea of the theory itself.

"I am very full of Darwin's new theory of Coral Islands, and have urged
Whewell to make him read it at our next meeting. I must give up my
volcanic crater theory for ever, though it cost me a pang at first, for
it accounted for so much, the annular form, the central lagoon, the
sudden rising of an isolated mountain in a deep sea; all went so well
with the notion of submerged, crateriform, and conical volcanoes, ...
and then the fact that in the South Pacific we had scarcely any rocks in
the regions of coral islands, save two kinds, coral limestone and
volcanic! Yet in spite of all this, the whole theory is knocked on the
head, and the annular shape and central lagoon have nothing to do with
volcanoes, nor even with a crateriform bottom. Perhaps Darwin told you
when at the Cape what he considers the true cause? Let any mountain be
submerged gradually, and coral grow in the sea in which it is sinking,
and there will be a ring of coral, and finally only a lagoon in the
centre.... Coral islands are the last efforts of drowning continents to
lift their heads above water. Regions of elevation and subsidence in the
ocean may be traced by the state of the coral reefs."

The second part of the _Geology of the Voyage of the Beagle_, _i.e._ the
volume on Volcanic Islands, which specially concerns us now, cannot be
better described than by again quoting from Sir A. Geikie (p. 18):--

"Full of detailed observations, this work still remains the best
authority on the general geological structure of most of the regions it
describes. At the time it was written the 'crater of elevation theory,'
though opposed by Constant Prévost, Scrope, and Lyell, was generally
accepted, at least on the Continent. Darwin, however, could not receive
it as a valid explanation of the facts; and though he did not share the
view of its chief opponents, but ventured to propose a hypothesis of his
own, the observations impartially made and described by him in this
volume must be regarded as having contributed towards the final solution
of the difficulty." Geikie continues (p. 21): "He is one of the earliest
writers to recognize the magnitude of the denudation to which even
recent geological accumulations have been subjected. One of the most
impressive lessons to be learnt from his account of 'Volcanic Islands'
is the prodigious extent to which they have been denuded.... He was
disposed to attribute more of this work to the sea than most geologists
would now admit; but he lived himself to modify his original views, and
on this subject his latest utterances are quite abreast of the time."

An extract from a letter of my father's to Lyell shows his estimate of
his own work. "You have pleased me much by saying that you intend
looking through my _Volcanic Islands_: it cost me eighteen months!!! and
I have heard of very few who have read it.[112] Now I shall feel,
whatever little (and little it is) there is confirmatory of old work, or
new, will work its effect and not be lost."

The second edition of the _Journal of Researches_[113] was completed in
1845. It was published by Mr. Murray in the _Colonial and Home Library_,
and in this more accessible form soon had a large sale.

_C. D. to Lyell._ Down [July, 1845].

MY DEAR LYELL--I send you the first part[114] of the new edition, which
I so entirely owe to you. You will see that I have ventured to dedicate
it to you, and I trust that this cannot be disagreeable. I have long
wished, not so much for your sake, as for my own feelings of honesty, to
acknowledge more plainly than by mere reference, how much I
geologically owe you. Those authors, however, who, like you, educate
people's minds as well as teach them special facts, can never, I should
think, have full justice done them except by posterity, for the mind
thus insensibly improved can hardly perceive its own upward ascent. I
had intended putting in the present acknowledgment in the third part of
my Geology, but its sale is so exceedingly small that I should not have
had the satisfaction of thinking that as far as lay in my power I had
owned, though imperfectly, my debt. Pray do not think that I am so
silly, as to suppose that my dedication can any ways gratify you, except
so far as I trust you will receive it, as a most sincere mark of my
gratitude and friendship. I think I have improved this edition,
especially the second part, which I have just finished. I have added a
good deal about the Fuegians, and cut down into half the mercilessly
long discussion on climate and glaciers, &c. I do not recollect anything
added to the first part, long enough to call your attention to; there is
a page of description of a very curious breed of oxen in Banda Oriental.
I should like you to read the few last pages; there is a little
discussion on extinction, which will not perhaps strike you as new,
though it has so struck me, and has placed in my mind all the
difficulties with respect to the causes of extinction, in the same class
with other difficulties which are generally quite overlooked and
undervalued by naturalists; I ought, however, to have made my discussion
longer and shown by facts, as I easily could, how steadily every species
must be checked in its numbers.

A pleasant notice of the _Journal_ occurs in a letter from Humboldt to
Mrs. Austin, dated June 7, 1844[115]:--

"Alas! you have got some one in England whom you do not read--young
Darwin, who went with the expedition to the Straits of Magellan. He has
succeeded far better than myself with the subject I took up. There are
admirable descriptions of tropical nature in his journal, which you do
not read because the author is a zoologist, which you imagine to be
synonymous with bore. Mr. Darwin has another merit, a very rare one in
your country--he has praised me."

_October 1846 to October 1854._

The time between October 1846, and October 1854, was practically given
up to working at the Cirripedia (Barnacles); the results were published
in two volumes by the Ray Society in 1851 and 1854. His volumes on the
Fossil Cirripedes were published by the Palæontographical Society in
1851 and 1854.

Writing to Sir J. D. Hooker in 1845, my father says: "I hope this next
summer to finish my South American Geology,[116] then to get out a
little Zoology, and hurrah for my species work...." This passage serves
to show that he had at this time no intention of making an exhaustive
study of the Cirripedes. Indeed it would seem that his original
intention was, as I learn from Sir J. D. Hooker, merely to work out one
special problem. This is quite in keeping with the following passage in
the _Autobiography_: "When on the coast of Chile, I found a most curious
form, which burrowed into the shells of Concholepas, and which differed
so much from all other Cirripedes that I had to form a new sub-order for
its sole reception.... To understand the structure of my new Cirripede I
had to examine and dissect many of the common forms; and this gradually
led me on to take up the whole group." In later years he seems to have
felt some doubt as to the value of these eight years of work--for
instance when he wrote in his _Autobiography_--"My work was of
considerable use to me, when I had to discuss in the _Origin of Species_
the principles of a natural classification. Nevertheless I doubt whether
the work was worth the consumption of so much time." Yet I learn from
Sir J. D. Hooker that he certainly recognised at the time its value to
himself as systematic training. Sir Joseph writes to me: "Your father
recognised three stages in his career as a biologist: the mere collector
at Cambridge; the collector and observer in the _Beagle_, and for some
years afterwards; and the trained naturalist after, and only after the
Cirripede work. That he was a thinker all along is true enough, and
there is a vast deal in his writings previous to the Cirripedes that a
trained naturalist could but emulate.... He often alluded to it as a
valued discipline, and added that even the 'hateful' work of digging out
synonyms, and of describing, not only improved his methods but opened
his eyes to the difficulties and merits of the works of the dullest of
cataloguers. One result was that he would never allow a depreciatory
remark to pass unchallenged on the poorest class of scientific workers,
provided that their work was honest, and good of its kind. I have always
regarded it as one of the finest traits of his character,--this generous
appreciation of the hod-men of science, and of their labours ... and it
was monographing the Barnacles that brought it about."

Mr. Huxley allows me to quote his opinion as to the value of the eight
years given to the Cirripedes:--

"In my opinion your sagacious father never did a wiser thing than when
he devoted himself to the years of patient toil which the Cirripede-book
cost him.

"Like the rest of us, he had no proper training in biological science,
and it has always struck me as a remarkable instance of his scientific
insight, that he saw the necessity of giving himself such training, and
of his courage, that he did not shirk the labour of obtaining it.

"The great danger which besets all men of large speculative faculty, is
the temptation to deal with the accepted statements of fact in natural
science, as if they were not only correct, but exhaustive; as if they
might be dealt with deductively, in the same way as propositions in
Euclid may be dealt with. In reality, every such statement, however true
it may be, is true only relatively to the means of observation and the
point of view of those who have enunciated it. So far it may be depended
upon. But whether it will bear every speculative conclusion that may be
logically deduced from it, is quite another question.

"Your father was building a vast superstructure upon the foundations
furnished by the recognised facts of geological and biological science.
In Physical Geography, in Geology proper, in Geographical Distribution,
and in Palæontology, he had acquired an extensive practical training
during the voyage of the _Beagle_. He knew of his own knowledge the way
in which the raw materials of these branches of science are acquired,
and was therefore a most competent judge of the speculative strain they
would bear. That which he needed, after his return to England, was a
corresponding acquaintance with Anatomy and Development, and their
relation to Taxonomy--and he acquired this by his Cirripede work."

Though he became excessively weary of the work before the end of the
eight years, he had much keen enjoyment in the course of it. Thus he
wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (1847?):--"As you say, there is an
extraordinary pleasure in pure observation; not but what I suspect the
pleasure in this case is rather derived from comparisons forming in
one's mind with allied structures. After having been so long employed
in writing my old geological observations, it is delightful to use one's
eyes and fingers again." It was, in fact, a return to the work which
occupied so much of his time when at sea during his voyage. Most of his
work was done with the simple dissecting microscope--and it was the need
which he found for higher powers that induced him, in 1846, to buy a
compound microscope. He wrote to Hooker:--"When I was drawing with L., I
was so delighted with the appearance of the objects, especially with
their perspective, as seen through the weak powers of a good compound
microscope, that I am going to order one; indeed, I often have
structures in which the 1/30 is not power enough."

During part of the time covered by the present chapter, my father
suffered perhaps more from ill-health than at any other period of his
life. He felt severely the depressing influence of these long years of
illness; thus as early as 1840 he wrote to Fox: "I am grown a dull, old,
spiritless dog to what I used to be. One gets stupider as one grows
older I think." It is not wonderful that he should so have written, it
is rather to be wondered at that his spirit withstood so great and
constant a strain. He wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker in 1845: "You are very
kind in your inquiries about my health; I have nothing to say about it,
being always much the same, some days better and some worse. I believe I
have not had one whole day, or rather night, without my stomach having
been greatly disordered, during the last three years, and most days
great prostration of strength: thank you for your kindness; many of my
friends, I believe, think me a hypochondriac."

During the whole of the period now under consideration, he was in
constant correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker. The following
characteristic letter on Sigillaria (a gigantic fossil plant found in
the Coal Measures) was afterwards characterised by himself as not being
"reasoning, or even speculation, but simply as mental rioting."

[Down, 1847?]

" ... I am delighted to hear that Brongniart thought Sigillaria aquatic,
and that Binney considers coal a sort of submarine peat. I would bet 5
to 1 that in twenty years this will be generally admitted;[117] and I do
not care for whatever the botanical difficulties or impossibilities may
be. If I could but persuade myself that Sigillaria and Co. had a good
range of depth, _i.e._ could live from 5 to 10 fathoms under water, all
difficulties of nearly all kinds would be removed (for the simple fact
of muddy ordinary shallow sea implies proximity of land). [N.B.--I am
chuckling to think how you are sneering all this time.] It is not much
of a difficulty, there not being shells with the coal, considering how
unfavourable deep mud is for most Mollusca, and that shells would
probably decay from the humic acid, as seems to take place in peat and
in the _black_ moulds (as Lyell tells me) of the Mississippi. So coal
question settled--Q. E. D. Sneer away!"

The two following extracts give the continuation and conclusion of the
coal battle.

"By the way, as submarine coal made you so wrath, I thought I would
experimentise on Falconer and Bunbury[118] together, and it made [them]
even more savage; 'such infernal nonsense ought to be thrashed out of
me.' Bunbury was more polite and contemptuous. So I now know how to stir
up and show off any Botanist. I wonder whether Zoologists and Geologists
have got their tender points; I wish I could find out."

"I cannot resist thanking you for your most kind note. Pray do not think
that I was annoyed by your letter: I perceived that you had been
thinking with animation, and accordingly expressed yourself strongly,
and so I understood it. Forfend me from a man who weighs every
expression with Scotch prudence. I heartily wish you all success in your
noble problem, and I shall be very curious to have some talk with you
and hear your ultimatum."

He also corresponded with the late Hugh Strickland,--a well-known
ornithologist, on the need of reform in the principle of nomenclature.
The following extract (1849) gives an idea of my father's view:--

"I feel sure as long as species-mongers have their vanity tickled by
seeing their own names appended to a species, because they miserably
described it in two or three lines, we shall have the same _vast_ amount
of bad work as at present, and which is enough to dishearten any man who
is willing to work out any branch with care and time. I find every genus
of Cirripedia has half-a-dozen names, and not one careful description of
any one species in any one genus. I do not believe that this would have
been the case if each man knew that the memory of his own name depended
on his doing his work well, and not upon merely appending a name with a
few wretched lines indicating only a few prominent external

In 1848 Dr. R. W. Darwin died, and Charles Darwin wrote to Hooker, from

"On the 13th of November, my poor dear father died, and no one who did
not know him would believe that a man above eighty-three years old could
have retained so tender and affectionate a disposition, with all his
sagacity unclouded to the last. I was at the time so unwell, that I was
unable to travel, which added to my misery.

"All this winter I have been bad enough ... and my nervous system began
to be affected, so that my hands trembled, and head was often swimming.
I was not able to do anything one day out of three, and was altogether
too dispirited to write to you, or to do anything but what I was
compelled. I thought I was rapidly going the way of all flesh. Having
heard, accidentally, of two persons who had received much benefit from
the water-cure, I got Dr. Gully's book, and made further inquiries, and
at last started here, with wife, children, and all our servants. We have
taken a house for two months, and have been here a fortnight. I am
already a little stronger.... Dr. Gully feels pretty sure he can do me
good, which most certainly the regular doctors could not.... I feel
certain that the water-cure is no quackery.

"How I shall enjoy getting back to Down with renovated health, if such
is to be my good fortune, and resuming the beloved Barnacles. Now I hope
that you will forgive me for my negligence in not having sooner answered
your letter. I was uncommonly interested by the sketch you give of your
intended grand expedition, from which I suppose you will soon be
returning. How earnestly I hope that it may prove in every way

_C. D. to W. D. Fox_. [March 7, 1852.]

Our long silence occurred to me a few weeks since, and I had then
thought of writing, but was idle. I congratulate and condole with you on
your _tenth_ child; but please to observe when I have a tenth, send only
condolences to me. We have now seven children, all well, thank God, as
well as their mother; of these seven, five are boys; and my father used
to say that it was certain that a boy gave as much trouble as three
girls; so that _bonâ fide_ we have seventeen children. It makes me sick
whenever I think of professions; all seem hopelessly bad, and as yet I
cannot see a ray of light. I should very much like to talk over this
(by the way, my three bugbears are Californian and Australian gold,
beggaring me by making my money on mortgage worth nothing; the French
coming by the Westerham and Sevenoaks roads, and therefore enclosing
Down; and thirdly, professions for my boys), and I should like to talk
about education, on which you ask me what we are doing. No one can more
truly despise the old stereotyped stupid classical education than I do;
but yet I have not had courage to break through the trammels. After many
doubts we have just sent our eldest boy to Rugby, where for his age he
has been very well placed.... I honour, admire, and envy you for
educating your boys at home. What on earth shall you do with your boys?
Very many thanks for your most kind and large invitation to Delamere,
but I fear we can hardly compass it. I dread going anywhere, on account
of my stomach so easily failing under any excitement. I rarely even now
go to London, not that I am at all worse, perhaps rather better, and
lead a very comfortable life with my three hours of daily work, but it
is the life of a hermit. My nights are _always_ bad, and that stops my
becoming vigorous. You ask about water-cure. I take at intervals of two
or three months, five or six weeks of _moderately_ severe treatment, and
always with good effect. Do you come here, I pray and beg whenever you
can find time; you cannot tell how much pleasure it would give me and E.
What pleasant times we had in drinking coffee in your rooms at Christ's
College, and think of the glories of Crux-major.[119] Ah, in those days
there were no professions for sons, no ill-health to fear for them, no
Californian gold, no French invasions. How paramount the future is to
the present when one is surrounded by children. My dread is hereditary
ill-health. Even death is better for them.

My dear Fox, your sincere friend.

P.S.--Susan[120] has lately been working in a way which I think truly
heroic about the scandalous violation of the Act against children
climbing chimneys. We have set up a little Society in Shrewsbury to
prosecute those who break the law. It is all Susan's doing. She has had
very nice letters from Lord Shaftesbury and the Duke of Sutherland, but
the brutal Shropshire squires are as hard as stones to move. The Act out
of London seems most commonly violated. It makes one shudder to fancy
one of one's own children at seven years old being forced up a
chimney--to say nothing of the consequent loathsome disease and
ulcerated limbs, and utter moral degradation. If you think strongly on
this subject, do make some enquiries; add to your many good works, this
other one, and try to stir up the magistrates....

The following letter refers to the Royal Medal, which was awarded to him
in November, 1853:

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker_. Down [November 1853].

MY DEAR HOOKER--Amongst my letters received this morning, I opened first
one from Colonel Sabine; the contents certainly surprised me very much,
but, though the letter was a _very kind one_, somehow, I cared very
little indeed for the announcement it contained. I then opened yours,
and such is the effect of warmth, friendship, and kindness from one that
is loved, that the very same fact, told as you told it, made me glow
with pleasure till my very heart throbbed. Believe me, I shall not soon
forget the pleasure of your letter. Such hearty, affectionate sympathy
is worth more than all the medals that ever were or will be coined.
Again, my dear Hooker, I thank you. I hope Lindley[121] will never hear
that he was a competitor against me; for really it is almost
_ridiculous_ (of course you would never repeat that I said this, for it
would be thought by others, though not, I believe by you, to be
affectation) his not having the medal long before me; I must feel _sure_
that you did quite right to propose him; and what a good, dear, kind
fellow you are, nevertheless, to rejoice in this honour being bestowed
on me.

What _pleasure_ I have felt on the occasion, I owe almost entirely to

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately.

The following series of extracts, must, for want of space, serve as a
sketch of his feeling with regard to his seven years' work at

_September 1849._--"It makes me groan to think that probably I shall
never again have the exquisite pleasure of making out some new district,
of evolving geological light out of some troubled dark region. So I must
make the best of my Cirripedia...."

_October 1849._--"I have of late been at work at mere species
describing, which is much more difficult than I expected, and has much
the same sort of interest as a puzzle has; but I confess I often feel
wearied with the work, and cannot help sometimes asking myself what is
the good of spending a week or fortnight in ascertaining that certain
just perceptible differences blend together and constitute varieties and
not species. As long as I am on anatomy I never feel myself in that
disgusting, horrid, _cui bono_, inquiring, humour. What miserable work,
again, it is searching for priority of names. I have just finished two
species, which possess seven generic, and twenty-four specific names! My
chief comfort is, that the work must be sometime done, and I may as well
do it, as any one else."

_October 1852._--"I am at work at the second volume of the Cirripedia,
of which creatures I am wonderfully tired. I hate a Barnacle as no man
ever did before, not even a sailor in a slow-sailing ship. My first
volume is out; the only part worth looking at is on the sexes of Ibla
and Scalpellum. I hope by next summer to have done with my tedious

_July 1853._--"I am _extremely_ glad to hear that you approved of my
cirripedial volume. I have spent an almost ridiculous amount of labour
on the subject, and certainly would never have undertaken it had I
foreseen what a job it was."

In September, 1854, his Cirripede work was practically finished, and he
wrote to Sir J. Hooker:

"I have been frittering away my time for the last several weeks in a
wearisome manner, partly idleness, and odds and ends, find sending ten
thousand Barnacles[124] out of the house all over the world. But I shall
now in a day or two begin to look over my old notes on species. What a
deal I shall have to discuss with you; I shall have to look sharp that I
do not 'progress' into one of the greatest bores in life, to the few
like you with lots of knowledge."


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

[110] Charles Darwin, _Nature_ Series, 1882.

[111] To Sir John Herschel, May 24, 1837. _Life of Sir Charles Lyell_,
vol. ii. p. 12.

[112] He wrote to Herbert:--"I have long discovered that geologists
never read each other's works, and that the only object in writing a
book is a proof of earnestness, and that you do not form your opinions
without undergoing labour of some kind. Geology is at present very oral,
and what I here say is to a great extent quite true." And to Fitz-Roy,
on the same subject, he wrote: "I have sent my _South American Geology_
to Dover Street, and you will get it, no doubt, in the course of time.
You do not know what you threaten when you propose to read it--it is
purely geological. I said to my brother, 'You will of course read it,'
and his answer was, 'Upon my life, I would sooner even buy it.'"

[113] The first edition was published in 1839, as vol. iii. of the
_Voyages of the 'Adventure' and 'Beagle.'_

[114] No doubt proof-sheets.

[115] _Three Generations of Englishwomen_, by Janet Ross (1888), vol. i.
p. 195.

[116] This refers to the third and last of his geological books,
_Geological Observation on South America_, which was published in 1846.
A sentence from a letter of Dec. 11, 1860, may be quoted here--"David
Forbes has been carefully working the Geology of Chile, and as I value
praise for accurate observation far higher than for any other quality,
forgive (if you can) the _insufferable_ vanity of my copying the last
sentence in his note: 'I regard your Monograph on Chile as, without
exception, one of the finest specimens of Geological inquiry.' I feel
inclined to strut like a turkey-cock!"

[117] An unfulfilled prophecy.

[118] The late Sir C. Bunbury, well known as a palæobotanist.

[119] The beetle Panagæus crux-major.

[120] His sister.

[121] John Lindley (b. 1799, d. 1865) was the son of a nurseryman near
Norwich, through whose failure in business he was thrown at the age of
twenty on his own resources. He was befriended by Sir W. Hooker, and
employed as assistant librarian by Sir J. Banks. He seems to have had
enormous capacity for work, and is said to have translated Richard's
_Analyse du Fruit_ at one sitting of two days and three nights. He
became Assistant-Secretary to the Horticultural Society, and in 1829 was
appointed Professor of Botany at University College, a post which he
held for upwards of thirty years. His writings are numerous; the best
known being perhaps his _Vegetable Kingdom_, published in 1846.

[122] Shortly afterwards he received a fresh mark of esteem from his
warm-hearted friend: "Hooker's book (_Himalayan Journal_) is out, and
_most beautifully_ got up. He has honoured me beyond measure by
dedicating it to me!"

[123] In 1860 he wrote to Lyell: "Is not Krohn a good fellow? I have
long meant to write to him. He has been working at Cirripedes, and has
detected two or three gigantic blunders, about which, I thank Heaven, I
spoke rather doubtfully. Such difficult dissection that even Huxley
failed. It is chiefly the interpretation which I put on parts that is so
wrong, and not the parts which I describe. But they were gigantic
blunders, and why I say all this is because Krohn, instead of crowing at
all, pointed out my errors with the utmost gentleness and pleasantness."

There are two papers by Aug. Krohn, one on the Cement Glands, and the
other on the development of Cirripedes, _Weigmann's Archiv._ xxv. and
xxvi. See _Autobiography_, p. 39, where my father remarks, "I blundered
dreadfully about the cement glands."

[124] The duplicate type-specimens of my father's Cirripedes are in the
Liverpool Free Public Museum, as I learn from the Rev. H. H. Higgins.



To give an account of the development of the chief work of my father's
life--the _Origin of Species_, it will be necessary to return to an
earlier date, and to weave into the story letters and other material,
purposely omitted from the chapters dealing with the voyage and with his
life at Down.

To be able to estimate the greatness of the work, we must know something
of the state of knowledge on the species question at the time when the
germs of the Darwinian theory were forming in my father's mind.

For the brief sketch which I can here insert, I am largely indebted to
vol. ii. chapter v. of the _Life and Letters_--a discussion on the
_Reception of the Origin of Species_ which Mr. Huxley "was good enough
to write for me, also to the masterly obituary essay on my father, which
the same writer contributed to the Proceedings of the Royal

Mr. Huxley has well said[126]:

"To any one who studies the signs of the times, the emergence of the
philosophy of Evolution, in the attitude of claimant to the throne of
the world of thought, from the limbo of hated and, as many hoped,
forgotten things, is the most portentous event of the nineteenth

In the autobiographical chapter, my father has given an account of his
share in this great work: the present chapter does little more than
expand that story.

Two questions naturally occur to one: (1)--When and how did Darwin
become convinced that species are mutable? How (that is to say) did he
begin to believe in evolution. And (2)--When and how did he conceive the
manner in which species are modified; when did he begin to believe in
Natural Selection?

The first question is the more difficult of the two to answer. He has
said in the _Autobiography_ (p. 39) that certain facts observed by him
in South America seemed to be explicable only on the "supposition that
species gradually become modified." He goes on to say that the subject
"haunted him"; and I think it is especially worthy of note that this
"haunting,"--this unsatisfied dwelling on the subject was connected with
the desire to explain _how_ species can be modified. It was
characteristic of him to feel, as he did, that it was "almost useless"
to endeavour to prove the general truth of evolution, unless the cause
of change could be discovered. I think that throughout his life the
questions 1 and 2 were intimately,--perhaps unduly so, connected in his
mind. It will be shown, however, that after the publication of the
_Origin_, when his views were being weighed in the balance of scientific
opinion, it was to the acceptance of Evolution not of Natural Selection
that he attached importance.

An interesting letter (Feb. 24, 1877) to Dr. Otto Zacharias,[127] gives
the same impression as the _Autobiography_:--

"When I was on board the _Beagle_ I believed in the permanence of
species, but as far as I can remember, vague doubts occasionally flitted
across my mind. On my return home in the autumn of 1836, I immediately
began to prepare my Journal for publication, and then saw how many facts
indicated the common descent of species, so that in July, 1837, I opened
a note-book to record any facts which might bear on the question. But I
did not become convinced that species were mutable until, I think, two
or three years had elapsed."

Two years bring us to 1839, at which date the idea of natural selection
had already occurred to him--a fact which agrees with what has been said
above. How far the idea that evolution is conceivable came to him from
earlier writers it is not possible to say. He has recorded in the
_Autobiography_ (p. 38) the "silent astonishment with which, about the
year 1825, he heard Grant expound the Lamarckian philosophy." He goes

"I had previously read the _Zoonomia_ of my grandfather, in which
similar views are maintained, but without producing any effect on me.
Nevertheless, it is probable that the hearing rather early in life such
views maintained and praised, may have favoured my upholding them under
a different form in my _Origin of Species_. At this time I admired
greatly the _Zoonomia_; but on reading it a second time after an
interval of ten or fifteen years, I was much disappointed; the
proportion of speculation being so large to the facts given."

Mr. Huxley has well said (Obituary Notice, p. ii.): "Erasmus Darwin,
was in fact an anticipator of Lamarck, and not of Charles Darwin; there
is no trace in his works of the conception by the addition of which his
grandson metamorphosed the theory of evolution as applied to living
things, and gave it a new foundation."

On the whole it seems to me that the effect on his mind of the earlier
evolutionists was inappreciable, and as far as concerns the history of
the _Origin of the Species_, it is of no particular importance, because,
as before said, evolution made no progress in his mind until the cause
of modification was conceivable.

I think Mr. Huxley is right in saying[128] that "it is hardly too much
to say that Darwin's greatest work is the outcome of the unflinching
application to biology of the leading idea, and the method applied in
the _Principles_ to Geology." Mr. Huxley has elsewhere[129] admirably
expressed the bearing of Lyell's work in this connection:--

"I cannot but believe that Lyell, for others, as for myself, was the
chief agent in smoothing the road for Darwin. For consistent
uniformitarianism postulates evolution as much in the organic as in the
inorganic world. The origin of a new species by other than ordinary
agencies would be a vastly greater 'catastrophe' than any of those which
Lyell successfully eliminated from sober geological speculation....

"Lyell,[130] with perfect right, claims this position for himself. He
speaks of having 'advocated a law of continuity even in the organic
world, so far as possible without adopting Lamarck's theory of

"'But while I taught,' Lyell goes on, 'that as often as certain forms of
animals and plants disappeared, for reasons quite intelligible to us,
others took their place by virtue of a causation which was beyond our
comprehension; it remained for Darwin to accumulate proof that there is
no break between the incoming and the outgoing species, that they are
the work of evolution, and not of special creation.... I had certainly
prepared the way in this country, in six editions of my work before the
_Vestiges of Creation_ appeared in 1842 [1844], for the reception of
Darwin's gradual and insensible evolution of species.'"

Mr. Huxley continues:--

"If one reads any of the earlier editions of the _Principles_ carefully
(especially by the light of the interesting series of letters recently
published by Sir Charles Lyell's biographer), it is easy to see that,
with all his energetic opposition to Lamarck, on the one hand, and to
the ideal quasi-progressionism of Agassiz, on the other, Lyell, in his
own mind, was strongly disposed to account for the origination of all
past and present species of living things by natural causes. But he
would have liked, at the same time, to keep the name of creation for a
natural process which he imagined to be incomprehensible."

The passage above given refers to the influence of Lyell in preparing
men's minds for belief in the _Origin_, but I cannot doubt that it
"smoothed the way" for the author of that work in his early searchings,
as well as for his followers. My father spoke prophetically when he
wrote the dedication to Lyell of the second edition of the _Journal of
Researches_ (1845).

"To Charles Lyell, Esq., F.R.S., this second edition is dedicated with
grateful pleasure--as an acknowledgment that the chief part of whatever
scientific merit this journal and the other works of the author may
possess, has been derived from studying the well-known and admirable
_Principles of Geology_."

Professor Judd, in some reminiscences of my father which he was so good
as to give me, quotes him as saying that, "It was the reading of the
_Principles of Geology_ which did most towards moulding his mind and
causing him to take up the line of investigation to which his life was

The _rôle_ that Lyell played as a pioneer makes his own point of view as
to evolution all the more remarkable. As the late H. C. Watson wrote to
my father (December 21, 1859):--

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

In his earlier attitude towards evolution, my father was on a par with
his contemporaries. He wrote in the _Autobiography_:--

"I occasionally sounded not a few naturalists, and never happened to
come across a single one who seemed to doubt about the permanence of
species:" and it will be made abundantly clear by his letters that in
supporting the opposite view he felt himself a terrible heretic.

Mr. Huxley[131] writes in the same sense:--

"Within the ranks of biologists, at that time [1851-58], I met with
nobody, except Dr. Grant, of University College, who had a word to say
for Evolution--and his advocacy was not calculated to advance the cause.
Outside these ranks, the only person known to me whose knowledge and
capacity compelled respect, and who was, at the same time, a
thorough-going evolutionist, was Mr. Herbert Spencer, whose acquaintance
I made, I think, in 1852, and then entered into the bonds of a
friendship which, I am happy to think, has known no interruption. Many
and prolonged were the battles we fought on this topic. But even my
friend's rare dialectic skill and copiousness of apt illustration could
not drive me from my agnostic position. I took my stand upon two
grounds: firstly, that up to that time, the evidence in favour of
transmutation was wholly insufficient; and, secondly, that no suggestion
respecting the causes of the transmutation assumed, which had been made,
was in any way adequate to explain the phenomena. Looking back at the
state of knowledge at that time, I really do not see that any other
conclusion was justifiable."

These two last citations refer of course to a period much later than the
time, 1836-37, at which the Darwinian theory was growing in my father's
mind. The same thing is however true of earlier days.

So much for the general problem: the further question as to the growth
of Darwin's theory of natural selection is a less complex one, and I
need add but little to the history given in the _Autobiography_ of how
he came by that great conception by the help of which he was able to
revivify "the oldest of all philosophies--that of evolution."

The first point in the slow journey towards the _Origin of Species_ was
the opening of that note-book of 1837 of which mention has been already
made. The reader who is curious on the subject will find a series of
citations from this most interesting note-book, in the _Life and
Letters_, vol. ii. p. 5, _et seq._

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

"If we choose to let conjecture run wild, then animals, our fellow
brethren in pain, disease, death, suffering and famine--our slaves in
the most laborious works, our companions in our amusements--they may
partake [of] our origin in one common ancestor--we may be all melted

"The different intellects of man and animals not so great as between
living things without thought (plants), and living things with thought

Speaking of intermediate forms, he remarks:--

"Opponents will say--_show them me_. I will answer yes, if you will show
me every step between bulldog and greyhound."

Here we see that the argument from domestic animals was already present
in his mind as bearing on the production of natural species, an argument
which he afterwards used with such signal force in the _Origin_.

A comparison of the two editions of the _Naturalists' Voyage_ is
instructive, as giving some idea of the development of his views on
evolution. It does not give us a true index of the mass of conjecture
which was taking shape in his mind, but it shows us that he felt sure
enough of the truth of his belief to allow a stronger tinge of evolution
to appear in the second edition. He has mentioned in the _Autobiography_
(p. 40), that it was not until he read Malthus that he got a clear view
of the potency of natural selection. This was in 1838--a year after he
finished the first edition (it was not published until 1839), and seven
years before the second edition was issued (1845). Thus the
turning-point in the formation of his theory took place between the
writing of the two editions. Yet the difference between the two editions
is not very marked; it is another proof of the author's caution and
self-restraint in the treatment of his ideas. After reading the second
edition of the _Voyage_ we remember with a strong feeling of surprise
how far advanced were his views when he wrote it.

These views are given in the manuscript volume of 1844, mentioned in the
_Autobiography_. I give from my father's Pocket-book the entries
referring to the preliminary sketch of this historic essay.

"_1842, May 18_,--Went to Maer. _June 15_--to Shrewsbury, and 18th to
Capel Curig. During my stay at Maer and Shrewsbury ... wrote pencil
sketch of species theory."[132]

In 1844, the pencil-sketch was enlarged to one of 230 folio pages,
which is a wonderfully complete presentation of the arguments familiar
to us in the _Origin_.

The following letter shows in a striking manner the value my father put
on this piece of work.

_C. D. to Mrs. Darwin._ Down [July 5, 1844].

... I have just finished my sketch of my species theory. If, as I
believe, my theory in time be accepted even by one competent judge, it
will be a considerable step in science.

I therefore write this in case of my sudden death, as my most solemn and
last request, which I am sure you will consider the same as if legally
entered in my will, that you will devote £400 to its publication, and
further, will yourself, or through Hensleigh,[133] take trouble in
promoting it. I wish that my sketch be given to some competent person,
with this sum to induce him to take trouble in its improvement and
enlargement. I give to him all my books on Natural History, which are
either scored or have references at the end to the pages, begging him
carefully to look over and consider such passages as actually bearing,
or by possibility bearing, on this subject. I wish you to make a list of
all such books as some temptation to an editor. I also request that you
will hand over [to] him all those scraps roughly divided in eight or ten
brown paper portfolios. The scraps, with copied quotations from various
works, are those which may aid my editor. I also request that you, or
some amanuensis, will aid in deciphering any of the scraps which the
editor may think possibly of use. I leave to the editor's judgment
whether to interpolate these facts in the text, or as notes, or under
appendices. As the looking over the references and scraps will be a long
labour, and as the _correcting_ and enlarging and altering my sketch
will also take considerable time, I leave this sum of £400 as some
remuneration, and any profits from the work, I consider that for this
the editor is bound to get the sketch published either at a publisher's
or his own risk. Many of the scraps in the portfolios contain mere rude
suggestions and early views, now useless, and many of the facts will
probably turn out as having no bearing on my theory.

With respect to editors, Mr. Lyell would be the best if he would
undertake it; I believe he would find the work pleasant, and he would
learn some facts new to him. As the editor must be a geologist as well
as a naturalist, the next best editor would be Professor Forbes of
London. The next best (and quite best in many respects) would be
Professor Henslow. Dr. Hooker would be _very_ good. The next, Mr.
Strickland.[134] If none of these would undertake it, I would request
you to consult with Mr. Lyell, or some other capable man for some
editor, a geologist and naturalist. Should one other hundred pounds make
the difference of procuring a good editor, I request earnestly that you
will raise £500.

My remaining collections in Natural History may be given to any one or
any museum where [they] would be accepted....

The following note seems to have formed part of the original letter, but
may have been of later date:

"Lyell, especially with the aid of Hooker (and of any good zoological
aid), would be best of all. Without an editor will pledge himself to
give up time to it, it would be of no use paying such a sum."

"It there should be any difficulty in getting an editor who would go
thoroughly into the subject, and think of the bearing of the passages
marked in the books and copied out [on?] scraps of paper, then let my
sketch be published as it is, stating that it was done several years
ago[135] and from memory without consulting any works, and with no
intention of publication in its present form."

The idea that the Sketch of 1844 might remain, in the event of his
death, as the only record of his work, seems to have been long in his
mind, for in August 1854, when he had finished with the Cirripedes, and
was thinking of beginning his "species work," he added on the back of
the above letter, "Hooker by far best man to edit my species volume.
August 1854."


[125] Vol. xliv. No. 269.

[126] _Life and Letters_, vol. ii. p. 180.

[127] This letter was unaccountably overlooked in preparing the _Life
and Letters_ for publication.

[128] _Obituary Notice_, p. viii.

[129] _Life and Letters_, vol. ii. p. 190. In Mr. Huxley's chapter the
passage beginning "Lyell with perfect right...." is given as a footnote:
it will be seen that I have incorporated it with Mr. Huxley's text.

[130] Lyell's _Life and Letters_, Letter to Haeckel, vol. ii. p. 436.
Nov. 23, 1868.

[131] _Life and Letters_, vol. ii. p. 188.

[132] I have discussed in the _Life and Letters_ the statement often
made that the first sketch of his theory was written in 1839.

[133] The late Mr. H. Wedgwood.

[134] After Mr. Strickland's name comes the following sentence, which
has been erased, but remains legible: "Professor Owen would be very
good; but I presume he would not undertake such a work."

[135] The words "several years ago and," seem to have been added at a
later date.




The history of the years 1843-1858 is here related in an extremely
abbreviated fashion. It was a period of minute labour on a variety of
subjects, and the letters accordingly abound in detail. They are in many
ways extremely interesting, more especially so to professed naturalists,
and the picture of patient research which they convey is of great value
from a biographical point of view. But such a picture must either be
given in a complete series of unabridged letters, or omitted altogether.
The limits of space compel me to the latter choice. The reader must
imagine my father corresponding on problems in geology, geographical
distribution, and classification; at the same time collecting facts on
such varied points as the stripes on horses' legs, the floating of
seeds, the breeding of pigeons, the form of bees' cells and the
innumerable other questions to which his gigantic task demanded answers.

The concluding letter of the last chapter has shown how strong was his
conviction of the value of his work. It is impressive evidence of the
condition of the scientific atmosphere, to discover, as in the following
letters to Sir Joseph Hooker, how small was the amount of encouragement
that he dared to hope for from his brother-naturalists.

[January 11th, 1844.]

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

And again (1844):--

"In my most sanguine moments, all I expect, is that I shall be able to
show even to sound Naturalists, that there are two sides to the question
of the immutability of species--that facts can be viewed and grouped
under the notion of allied species having descended from common stocks.
With respect to books on this subject, I do not know of any systematical
ones, except Lamarck's which is veritable rubbish: but there are plenty,
as Lyell, Pritchard, &c., on the view of the immutability. Agassiz
lately has brought the strongest argument in favour of immutability.
Isidore G. St. Hilaire has written some good Essays, tending towards the
mutability-side, in the _Suites à Buffon_, entitled _Zoolog. Générale_.
Is it not strange that the author of such a book as the _Animaux sans
Vertèbres_ should have written that insects, which never see their eggs,
should will (and plants, their seeds) to be of particular forms, so as
to become attached to particular objects. The other common (specially
Germanic) notion is hardly less absurd, viz. that climate, food, &c.,
should make a Pediculus formed to climb hair, or a wood-pecker to climb
trees. I believe all these absurd views arise from no one having, as far
as I know, approached the subject on the side of variation under
domestication, and having studied all that is known about

"I hate arguments from results, but on my views of descent, really
Natural History becomes a sublimely grand result-giving subject (now you
may quiz me for so foolish an escape of mouth)...."

_C. D. to L. Jenyns_[136] Down Oct. 12th [1845].

MY DEAR JENYNS--Thanks for your note. I am sorry to say I have not even
the tail-end of a fact in English Zoology to communicate. I have found
that even trifling observations require, in my case, some leisure and
energy, [of] both of which ingredients I have had none to spare, as
writing my Geology thoroughly expends both. I had always thought that I
would keep a journal and record everything, but in the way I now live I
find I observe nothing to record. Looking after my garden and trees, and
occasionally a very little walk in an idle frame of my mind, fill up
every afternoon in the same manner. I am surprised that with all your
parish affairs, you have had time to do all that which you have done. I
shall be very glad to see your little work[137] (and proud should I have
been if I could have added a single fact to it). My work on the species
question has impressed me very forcibly with the importance of all such
works as your intended one, containing what people are pleased generally
to call trifling facts. These are the facts which make one understand
the working or economy of nature. There is one subject, on which I am
very curious, and which perhaps you may throw some light on, if you have
ever thought on it; namely, what are the checks and what the periods of
life--by which the increase of any given species is limited. Just
calculate the increase of any bird, if you assume that only half the
young are reared, and these breed: within the _natural_ (i.e. if free
from accidents) life of the parents the number of individuals will
become enormous, and I have been much surprised to think how great
destruction _must_ annually or occasionally be falling on every species,
yet the means and period of such destruction are scarcely perceived by

I have continued steadily reading and collecting facts on variation of
domestic animals and plants, and on the question of what are species. I
have a grand body of facts, and I think I can draw some sound
conclusions. The general conclusions at which I have slowly been driven
from a directly opposite conviction, is that species are mutable, and
that allied species are co-descendants from common stocks. I know how
much I open myself to reproach for such a conclusion, but I have at
least honestly and deliberately come to it. I shall not publish on this
subject for several years.

_C. Darwin to L. Jenyns._[138] Down [1845?].

With respect to my far distant work on species, I must have expressed
myself with singular inaccuracy if I led you to suppose that I meant to
say that my conclusions were inevitable. They have become so, after
years of weighing puzzles, to myself _alone_; but in my wildest
day-dream, I never expect more than to be able to show that there are
two sides to the question of the immutability of species, i.e. whether
species are _directly_ created or by intermediate laws (as with the life
and death of individuals). I did not approach the subject on the side of
the difficulty in determining what are species and what are varieties,
but (though why I should give you such a history of my doings it would
be hard to say) from such facts as the relationship between the living
and extinct mammifers in South America, and between those living on the
Continent and on adjoining islands, such as the Galapagos. It occurred
to me that a collection of all such analogous facts would throw light
either for or against the view of related species being co-descendants
from a common stock. A long searching amongst agricultural and
horticultural books and people makes me believe (I well know how
absurdly presumptuous this must appear) that I see the way in which new
varieties become exquisitely adapted to the external conditions of life
and to other surrounding beings. I am a bold man to lay myself open to
being thought a complete fool, and a most deliberate one. From the
nature of the grounds which make me believe that species are mutable in
form, these grounds cannot be restricted to the closest-allied species;
but how far they extend I cannot tell, as my reasons fall away by
degrees, when applied to species more and more remote from each other.
Pray do not think that I am so blind as not to see that there are
numerous immense difficulties in my notions, but they appear to me less
than on the common view. I have drawn up a sketch and had it copied (in
200 pages) of my conclusions; and if I thought at some future time that
you would think it worth reading, I should, of course, be most thankful
to have the criticism of so competent a critic. Excuse this very long
and egotistical and ill-written letter, which by your remarks you have
led me into.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down [1849-50?].

... How painfully (to me) true is your remark, that no one has hardly a
right to examine the question of species who has not minutely described
many. I was, however, pleased to hear from Owen (who is vehemently
opposed to any mutability in species), that he thought it was a very
fair subject, and that there was a mass of facts to be brought to bear
on the question, not hitherto collected. My only comfort is (as I mean
to attempt the subject), that I have dabbled in several branches of
Natural History, and seen good specific men work out my species, and
know something of geology (an indispensable union); and though I shall
get more kicks than half-pennies, I will, life serving, attempt my work.
Lamarck is the only exception, that I can think of, of an accurate
describer of species at least in the Invertebrate Kingdom, who has
disbelieved in permanent species, but he in his absurd though clever
work has done the subject harm, as has Mr. Vestiges, and, as (some
future loose naturalist attempting the same speculations will perhaps
say) has Mr. D....

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ September 25th [1853].

In my own Cirripedial work (by the way, thank you for the dose of soft
solder; it does one--or at least me--a great deal of good)--in my own
work I have not felt conscious that disbelieving in the mere
_permanence_ of species has made much difference one way or the other;
in some few cases (if publishing avowedly on the doctrine of
non-permanence), I should _not_ have affixed names, and in some few
cases should have affixed names to remarkable varieties. Certainly I
have felt it humiliating, discussing and doubting, and examining over
and over again, when in my own mind the only doubt has been whether the
form varied _to-day or yesterday_ (not to put too fine a point on it, as
Snagsby[139] would say). After describing a set of forms as distinct
species, tearing up my MS., and making them one species, tearing that up
and making them separate, and then making them one again (which has
happened to me), I have gnashed my teeth, cursed species, and asked what
sin I had committed to be so punished. But I must confess that perhaps
nearly the same thing would have happened to me on any scheme of work.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, March 26th [1854].

MY DEAR HOOKER--I had hoped that you would have had a little
breathing-time after your Journal,[140] but this seems to be very far
from the case; and I am the more obliged (and somewhat contrite) for the
long letter received this morning, _most_ juicy with news and _most_
interesting to me in many ways. I am very glad indeed to hear of the
reforms, &c., in the Royal Society. With respect to the Club,[141] I am
deeply interested; only two or three days ago, I was regretting to my
wife, how I was letting drop and being dropped by nearly all my
acquaintances, and that I would endeavour to go oftener to London; I was
not then thinking of the Club, which, as far as one thing goes, would
answer my exact object in keeping up old and making some new
acquaintances. I will therefore come up to London for every (with rare
exceptions) Club-day, and then my head, I think, will allow me on an
average to go to every other meeting. But it is grievous how often any
change knocks me up. I will further pledge myself, as I told Lyell, to
resign after a year, if I did not attend pretty often, so that I should
_at worst_ encumber the Club temporarily. If you can get me elected, I
certainly shall be very much pleased.... I am particularly obliged to
you for sending me Asa Gray's letter; how very pleasantly he writes. To
see his and your caution on the species-question ought to overwhelm me
in confusion and shame; it does make me feel deuced uncomfortable.... I
was pleased and surprised to see A. Gray's remarks on crossing
obliterating varieties, on which, as you know, I have been collecting
facts for these dozen years. How awfully flat I shall feel, if, when I
got my notes together on species, &c. &c., the whole thing explodes like
an empty puff-ball. Do not work yourself to death.

Ever yours most truly.

To work out the problem of the Geographical Distribution of animals and
plants on evolutionary principles, Darwin had to study the means by
which seeds, eggs, &c., can be transported across wide spaces of ocean.
It was this need which gave an interest to the class of experiment to
which the following letters refer.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ April 13th [1855].

... I have had one experiment some little time in progress which will, I
think, be interesting, namely, seeds in salt water, immersed in water of
32°-33°, which I have and shall long have, as I filled a great tank with
snow. When I wrote last I was going to triumph over you, for my
experiment had in a slight degree succeeded; but this, with infinite
baseness, I did not tell, in hopes that you would say that you would eat
all the plants which I could raise after immersion. It is very
aggravating that I cannot in the least remember what you did formerly
say that made me think you scoffed at the experiments vastly; for you
now seem to view the experiment like a good Christian. I have in small
bottles out of doors, exposed to variation of temperature, cress,
radish, cabbages, lettuces, carrots, and celery, and onion seed. These,
after immersion for exactly one week, have all germinated, which I did
not in the least expect (and thought how you would sneer at me); for the
water of nearly all, and of the cress especially, smelt very badly, and
the cress seed emitted a wonderful quantity of mucus (the
_Vestiges_[142] would have expected them to turn into tadpoles), so as
to adhere in a mass; but these seeds germinated and grew splendidly. The
germination of all (especially cress and lettuces) has been accelerated,
except the cabbages, which have come up very irregularly, and a good
many, I think, dead. One would, have thought, from their native habitat,
that the cabbage would have stood well. The Umbelliferæ and onions seem
to stand the salt well. I wash the seed before planting them. I have
written to the _Gardeners' Chronicle_,[143] though I doubt whether it
was worth while. If my success seems to make it worth while, I will send
a seed list, to get you to mark some different classes of seeds. To-day
I replant the same seeds as above after fourteen days' immersion. As
many sea-currents go a mile an hour, even in a week they might be
transported 168 miles; the Gulf Stream is said to go fifty and sixty
miles a day. So much and too much on this head; but my geese are always

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ [April 14th, 1855.]

... You are a good man to confess that you expected the cress would be
killed in a week, for this gives me a nice little triumph. The children
at first were tremendously eager, and asked me often, "whether I should
beat Dr. Hooker!" The cress and lettuce have just vegetated well after
twenty-one days' immersion. But I will write no more, which is a great
virtue in me; for it is to me a very great pleasure telling you
everything I do.

... If you knew some of the experiments (if they may be so called) which
I am trying, you would have a good right to sneer, for they are so
_absurd_ even in _my_ opinion that I dare not tell you.

Have not some men a nice notion of experimentising? I have had a letter
telling me that seeds _must_ have _great_ power of resisting salt water,
for otherwise how could they get to islands'? This is the true way to
solve a problem?

Experiments on the transportal of seeds through the agency of animals,
also gave him much labour. He wrote to Fox (1855):--

"All nature is perverse and will not do as I wish it; and just at
present I wish I had my old barnacles to work at, and nothing new."

And to Hooker:--

"Everything has been going wrong with me lately: the fish at the Zoolog.
Soc. ate up lots of soaked seeds, and in imagination they had in my mind
been swallowed, fish and all, by a heron, had been carried a hundred
miles, been voided on the banks of some other lake and germinated
splendidly, when lo and behold, the fish ejected vehemently, and with
disgust equal to my own, _all_ the seeds from their mouths."


In his Autobiographical sketch (p. 41) my father wrote:--"Early in 1856
Lyell advised me to write out my views pretty fully, and I began at once
to do so on a scale three or four times as extensive as that which was
afterwards followed in my _Origin of Species_; yet it was only an
abstract of the materials which I had collected." The remainder of the
present chapter is chiefly concerned with the preparation of this
unfinished book.

The work was begun on May 14th, and steadily continued up to June 1858,
when it was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Wallace's MS. During the
two years which we are now considering, he wrote ten chapters (that is
about one-half) of the projected book.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker_. May 9th [1856].

... I very much want advice and _truthful_ consolation if you can give
it. I had a good talk with Lyell about my species work, and he urges me
strongly to publish something. I am fixed against any periodical or
Journal, as I positively will _not_ expose myself to an Editor or a
Council allowing a publication for which they might be abused. If I
publish anything it must be a _very thin_ and little volume, giving a
sketch of my views and difficulties; but it is really dreadfully
unphilosophical to give a _résumé_, without exact references, of an
unpublished work. But Lyell seemed to think I might do this, at the
suggestion of friends, and on the ground, which I I might state, that I
had been at work for eighteen[144] years, and yet could not publish for
several years, and especially as I could point out difficulties which
seemed to me to require especial investigation. Now what think you? I
should be really grateful for advice. I thought of giving up a couple of
months and writing such a sketch, and trying to keep my judgment open
whether or no to publish it when completed. It will be simply impossible
for me to give exact references; anything important I should state on
the authority of the author generally; and instead of giving all the
facts on which I ground my opinion, I could give by memory only one or
two. In the Preface I would state that the work could not be considered
strictly scientific, but a mere sketch or outline of a future work in
which full references, &c., should be given. Eheu, eheu, I believe I
should sneer at any one else doing this, and my only comfort is, that I
_truly_ never dreamed of it, till Lyell suggested it, and seems
deliberately to think it advisable.

I am in a peck of troubles, and do pray forgive me for troubling you.

Yours affectionately.

He made an attempt at a sketch of his views, but as he wrote to Fox in
October 1856:--

"I found it such unsatisfactory work that I have desisted, and am now
drawing up my work as perfect as my materials of nineteen years'
collecting suffice, but do not intend to stop to perfect any line of
investigation beyond current work."

And in November he wrote to Sir Charles Lyell:--

"I am working very steadily at my big book; I have found it quite
impossible to publish any preliminary essay or sketch; but am doing my
work as completely as my present materials allow without waiting to
perfect them. And this much acceleration I owe to you."

Again to Mr. Fox, in February, 1857:--

"I am got most deeply interested in my subject; though I wish I could
set less value on the bauble fame, either present or posthumous, than I
do, but not I think, to any extreme degree: yet, if I know myself, I
would work just as hard, though with less gusto, if I knew that my book
would be published for ever anonymously."

_C. D. to A. R. Wallace._ Moor Park, May 1st, 1857.

MY DEAR SIR--I am much obliged for your letter of October 10th, from
Celebes, received a few days ago; in a laborious undertaking, sympathy
is a valuable and real encouragement. By your letter and even still more
by your paper[145] in the Annals, a year or more ago, I can plainly see
that we have thought much alike and to a certain extent have come to
similar conclusions. In regard to the Paper in the Annals, I agree to
the truth of almost every word of your paper; and I dare say that you
will agree with me that it is very rare to find oneself agreeing pretty
closely with any theoretical paper; for it is lamentable how each man
draws his own different conclusions from the very same facts. This
summer will make the 20th year (!) since I opened my first note-book, on
the question how and in what way do species and varieties differ from
each other. I am now preparing my work for publication, but I find the
subject so very large, that though I have written many chapters, I do
not suppose I shall go to press for two years. I have never heard how
long you intend staying in the Malay Archipelago; I wish I might profit
by the publication of your Travels there before my work appears, for no
doubt you will reap a large harvest of facts. I have acted already in
accordance with your advice of keeping domestic varieties, and those
appearing in a state of nature, distinct; but I have sometimes doubted
of the wisdom of this, and therefore I am glad to be backed by your
opinion. I must confess, however, I rather doubt the truth of the now
very prevalent doctrine of all our domestic animals having descended
from several wild stocks; though I do not doubt that it is so in some
cases. I think there is rather better evidence on the sterility of
hybrid animals than you seem to admit: and in regard to plants the
collection of carefully recorded facts by Kölreuter and Gaertner (and
Herbert) is _enormous_. I most entirely agree with you on the little
effects of "climatal conditions," which one sees referred to _ad
nauseam_ in all books: I suppose some very little effect must be
attributed to such influences, but I fully believe that they are very
slight. It is really _impossible_ to explain my views (in the compass of
a letter), on the causes and means of variation in a state of nature;
but I have slowly adopted a distinct and tangible idea,--whether true or
false others must judge; for the firmest conviction of the truth of a
doctrine by its author, seems, alas, not to be the slightest guarantee
of truth!...

In December 1857 he wrote to the same correspondent:--

"You ask whether I shall discuss 'man.' I think I shall avoid the whole
subject, as so surrounded with prejudices; though I fully admit that it
is the highest and most interesting problem for the naturalist. My work,
on which I have now been at work more or less for twenty years, will not
fix or settle anything; but I hope it will aid by giving a large
collection of facts, with one definite end. I get on very slowly, partly
from ill-health, partly from being a very slow worker. I have got about
half written; but I do not suppose I shall publish under a couple of
years. I have now been three whole months on one chapter on Hybridism!

"I am astonished to see that you expect to remain out three or four
years more. What a wonderful deal you will have seen, and what
interesting areas--the grand Malay Archipelago and the richest parts of
South America! I infinitely admire and honour your zeal and courage in
the good cause of Natural Science; and you have my very sincere and
cordial good wishes for success of all kinds, and may all your theories
succeed, except that on Oceanic Islands, on which subject I will do
battle to the death."

And to Fox in February 1858:--

"I am working very hard at my book, perhaps too hard. It will be very
big, and I am become most deeply interested in the way facts fall into
groups. I am like Croesus overwhelmed with my riches in facts, and I
mean to make my book as perfect as ever I can. I shall not go to press
at soonest for a couple of years."

The letter which follows, written from his favourite resting place, the
Water-Cure Establishment at Moor Park, comes in like a lull before the
storm,--the upset of all his plans by the arrival of Mr. Wallace's
manuscript, a phase in the history of his life to which the next chapter
is devoted.

_C. D. to Mrs. Darwin._ Moor Park, April [1858].

The weather is quite delicious. Yesterday, after writing to you, I
strolled a little beyond the glade for an hour and a half, and enjoyed
myself--the fresh yet dark green of the grand Scotch firs, the brown of
the catkins of the old birches, with their white stems, and a fringe of
distant green from the larches, made an excessively pretty view. At last
I fell fast asleep on the grass, and awoke with a chorus of birds
singing around me, and squirrels running up the trees, and some
woodpeckers laughing, and it was as pleasant and rural a scene as ever I
saw, and I did not care one penny how any of the beasts or birds had
been formed. I sat in the drawing-room till after eight, and then went
and read the Chief Justice's summing up, and thought Bernard[146]
guilty, and then read a bit of my novel, which is feminine, virtuous,
clerical, philanthropical, and all that sort of thing, but very
decidedly flat. I say feminine, for the author is ignorant about money
matters, and not much of a lady--for she makes her men say, "My Lady." I
like Miss Craik very much, though we have some battles, and differ on
every subject. I like also the Hungarian; a thorough gentleman, formerly
attaché at Paris, and then in the Austrian cavalry, and now a pardoned
exile, with broken health. He does not seem to like Kossuth, but says,
he is certain [he is] a sincere patriot, most clever and eloquent, but
weak, with no determination of character....


[136] Rev. L. Blomefield.

[137] Mr. Jenyns' _Observations in Natural History_. It is prefaced by
an Introduction on "Habits of observing as connected with the study of
Natural History," and followed by a "Calendar of Periodic Phenomena in
Natural History," with "Remarks on the importance of such Registers."

[138] Rev. L. Blomefield.

[139] In _Bleak House_.

[140] Sir Joseph Hooker's _Himalayan Journal_.

[141] The Philosophical Club, to which my father was elected (as
Professor Bonney is good enough to inform me) on April 24, 1854. He
resigned his membership in 1864. The Club was founded in 1847. The
number of members being limited to 47, it was proposed to christen it
"the Club of 47," but the name was never adopted. The nature of the Club
may be gathered from its first rule: "The purpose of the Club is to
promote as much as possible the scientific objects of the Royal Society;
to facilitate intercourse between those Fellows who are actively engaged
in cultivating the various branches of Natural Science, and who have
contributed to its progress; to increase the attendance at the evening
meetings, and to encourage the contribution and discussion of papers."
The Club met for dinner at 6, and the chair was to be quitted at 8.15,
it being expected that members would go to the Royal Society. Of late
years the dinner has been at 6.30, the Society meeting in the afternoon.

[142] _The Vestiges of Creation_, by R. Chambers.

[143] A few words asking for information. The results were published in
the _Gardeners' Chronicle_, May 26, Nov. 24, 1855. In the same year (p.
789) he sent a postscript to his former paper, correcting a misprint and
adding a few words on the seeds of the Leguminosæ. A fuller paper on the
germination of seeds after treatment in salt water, appeared in the
_Linnean Soc. Journal_, 1857, p. 130.

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

[145] "On the Law that has regulated the Introduction of New
Species."--_Ann. Nat. Hist._, 1855.

[146] Simon Bernard was tried in April 1858 as an accessory to Orsini's
attempt on the life of the Emperor of the French. The verdict was "not



     "I have done my best. If you had all my material I am sure you
     would have made a splendid book."--From a letter to Lyell, June 21,

JUNE 18, 1858, TO NOVEMBER 1859.

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, 18th [June 1858].

MY DEAR LYELL--Some year or so ago you recommended me to read a paper by
Wallace in the _Annals_,[147] which had interested you, and as I was
writing to him, I knew this would please him much, so I told him. He has
to-day sent me the enclosed, and asked me to forward it to you. It seems
to me well worth reading. Your words have come true with a
vengeance--that I should be forestalled. You said this, when I explained
to you here very briefly my views of 'Natural Selection' depending on
the struggle for existence. I never saw a more striking coincidence; if
Wallace had my MS. sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a
better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as heads of my chapters.
Please return me the MS., which he does not say he wishes me to publish,
but I shall, of course, at once write and offer to send to any journal.
So all my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed,
though my book, if it will ever have any value, will not be
deteriorated; as all the labour consists in the application of the

I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him what
you say.

My dear Lyell, yours most truly.

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, [June 25, 1858].

MY DEAR LYELL--I am very sorry to trouble you, busy as you are, in so
merely personal an affair; but if you will give me your deliberate
opinion, you will do me as great a service as ever man did, for I have
entire confidence in your judgment and honour....

There is nothing in Wallace's sketch which is not written out much
fuller in my sketch, copied out in 1844, and read by Hooker some dozen
years ago. About a year ago I sent a short sketch, of which I have a
copy, of my views (owing to correspondence on several points) to Asa
Gray, so that I could most truly say and prove that I take nothing from
Wallace. I should be extremely glad now to publish a sketch of my
general views in about a dozen pages or so; but I cannot persuade myself
that I can do so honourably. Wallace says nothing about publication, and
I enclose his letter. But as I had not intended to publish any sketch,
can I do so honourably, because Wallace has sent me an outline of his
doctrine? I would far rather burn my whole book, than that he or any
other man should think that I had behaved in a paltry spirit. Do you not
think his having sent me this sketch ties my hands?... If I could
honourably publish, I would state that I was induced now to publish a
sketch (and I should be very glad to be permitted to say, to follow your
advice long ago given) from Wallace having sent me an outline of my
general conclusions. We differ only, [in] that I was led to my views
from what artificial selection has done for domestic animals. I would
send Wallace a copy of my letter to Asa Gray, to show him that I had not
stolen his doctrine. But I cannot tell whether to publish now would not
be base and paltry. This was my first impression, and I should have
certainly acted on it had it not been for your letter.

This is a trumpery affair to trouble you with, but you cannot tell how
much obliged I should be for your advice.

By the way, would you object to send this and your answer to Hooker to
be forwarded to me? for then I shall have the opinion of my two best and
kindest friends. This letter is miserably written, and I write it now,
that I may for a time banish the whole subject; and I am worn out with

My good dear friend, forgive me. This is a trumpery letter, influenced
by trumpery feelings.

Yours most truly.

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

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, 26th [June 1858].

MY DEAR LYELL--Forgive me for adding a P.S. to make the case as strong
as possible against myself.

Wallace might say, "You did not intend publishing an abstract of your
views till you received my communication. Is it fair to take advantage
of my having freely, though unasked, communicated to you my ideas, and
thus prevent me forestalling you?" The advantage which I should take
being that I am induced to publish from privately knowing that Wallace
is in the field. It seems hard on me that I should be thus compelled to
lose my priority of many years' standing, but I cannot feel at all sure
that this alters the justice of the case. First impressions are
generally right, and I at first thought it would be dishonourable in me
now to publish.

Yours most truly.

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

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Tuesday night [June 29, 1858].

MY DEAR HOOKER--I have just read your letter, and see you want the
papers at once. I am quite prostrated,[148] and can do nothing, but I
send Wallace, and the abstract[149] of my letter to Asa Gray, which
gives most imperfectly only the means of change, and does not touch on
reasons for believing that species do change. I dare say all is too
late. I hardly care about it. But you are too generous to sacrifice so
much time and kindness. It is most generous, most kind. I send my sketch
of 1844 solely that you may see by your own handwriting that you did
read it. I really cannot bear to look at it. Do not waste much time. It
is miserable in me to care at all about priority.

The table of contents will show what it is.

I would make a similar, but shorter and more accurate sketch for the
_Linnean Journal_.

I will do anything. God bless you, my dear kind friend.

I can write no more. I send this by my servant to Kew.

The joint paper[150] of Mr. Wallace and my father was read at the
Linnean Society on the evening of July 1st. Mr. Wallace's Essay bore
the title, "On the Tendency of Varieties to depart indefinitely from the
Original Type."

My father's contribution to the paper consisted of (1) Extracts from the
sketch of 1844; (2) part of a letter, addressed to Dr. Asa Gray, dated
September 5, 1857. The paper was "communicated" to the Society by Sir
Charles Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker, in whose prefatory letter a clear
account of the circumstances of the case is given.

Referring to Mr. Wallace's Essay, they wrote:--

"So highly did Mr. Darwin appreciate the value of the views therein set
forth, that he proposed, in a letter to Sir Charles Lyell, to obtain Mr.
Wallace's consent to allow the Essay to be published as soon as
possible. Of this step we highly approved, provided Mr. Darwin did not
withhold from the public, as he was strongly inclined to do (in favour
of Mr. Wallace), the memoir which he had himself written on the same
subject, and which, as before stated, one of us had perused in 1844, and
the contents of which we had both of us been privy to for many years. On
representing this to Mr. Darwin, he gave us permission to make what use
we thought proper of his memoir, &c.; and in adopting our present
course, of presenting it to the Linnean Society, we have explained to
him that we are not solely considering the relative claims to priority
of himself and his friend, but the interests of science generally."

Sir Charles Lyell and Sir J. D. Hooker were present at the reading of
the paper, and both, I believe, made a few remarks, chiefly with a view
of impressing on those present the necessity of giving the most careful
consideration to what they had heard. There was, however, no semblance
of a discussion. Sir Joseph Hooker writes to me: "The interest excited
was intense, but the subject was too novel and too ominous for the old
school to enter the lists, before armouring. After the meeting it was
talked over with bated breath: Lyell's approval and perhaps in a small
way mine, as his lieutenant in the affair, rather overawed the Fellows,
who would otherwise have flown out against the doctrine. We had, too,
the vantage ground of being familiar with the authors and their theme."

Mr. Wallace has, at my request, been so good as to allow me to publish
the following letter. Professor Newton, to whom the letter is addressed,
had submitted to Mr. Wallace his recollections of what the latter had
related to him many years before, and had asked Mr. Wallace for a fuller
version of the story. Hence the few corrections in Mr. Wallace's
letter, for instance _bed_ for _hammock_.

_A. R. Wallace to A. Newton._ Frith Hill, Godalming, Dec. 3rd, 1887.

MY DEAR NEWTON--I had hardly heard of Darwin before going to the East,
except as connected with the voyage of the _Beagle_, which I _think_ I
had read. I saw him _once_ for a few minutes in the British Museum
before I sailed. Through Stevens, my agent, I heard that he wanted
curious _varieties_ which he was studying. I _think_ I wrote to him
about some varieties of ducks I had sent, and he must have written once
to me. I find on looking at his "Life" that his _first_ letter to me is
given in vol. ii. p. 95, and another at p. 109, both after the
publication of my first paper. I must have heard from some notices in
the _Athenæum_, I think (which I had sent me), that he was studying
varieties and species, and as I was continually thinking of the subject,
I wrote to him giving some of my notions, and making some suggestions.
But at that time I had not the remotest notion that he had already
arrived at a definite theory--still less that it was the same as
occurred to me, suddenly, in Ternate in 1858. The most interesting
coincidence in the matter, I think, is, that I, _as well as Darwin_, was
led to the theory itself through Malthus--in my case it was his
elaborate account of the action of "preventive checks" in keeping down
the population of savage races to a tolerably fixed, but scanty number.
This had strongly impressed me, and it suddenly flashed upon me that all
animals are necessarily thus kept down--"the struggle for
existence"--while _variations_, on which I was always thinking, must
necessarily often be _beneficial_, and would then cause those varieties
to increase while the injurious variations diminished.[151] You are
quite at liberty to mention the circumstances, but I think you have
coloured them a little highly, and introduced some slight errors. I was
lying on my bed (no hammocks in the East) in the hot fit of intermittent
fever, when the idea suddenly came to me. I thought it almost all out
before the fit was over, and the moment I got up began to write it
down, and I believe finished the first draft the next day.

I had no idea whatever of "dying,"--as it was not a serious
illness,--but I _had_ the idea of working it out, so far as I was able,
when I returned home, not at all expecting that Darwin had so long
anticipated me. I can truly say _now_, as I said many years ago, that I
am glad it was so; for I have not the love of _work_, _experiment_ and
_detail_ that was so pre-eminent in Darwin, and without which anything I
could have written would never have convinced the world. If you do refer
to me at any length, can you send me a proof and I will return it to you
at once?

Yours faithfully

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Miss Wedgwood's, Hartfield, Tunbridge Wells
[July 13th, 1858].

MY DEAR HOOKER--Your letter to Wallace seems to me perfect, quite clear
and most courteous. I do not think it could possibly be improved, and I
have to-day forwarded it with a letter of my own. I always thought it
very possible that I might be forestalled, but I fancied that I had a
grand enough soul not to care; but I found myself mistaken, and
punished; I had, however, quite resigned myself, and had written half a
letter to Wallace to give up all priority to him, and should certainly
not have changed had it not been for Lyell's and your quite
extraordinary kindness. I assure you I feel it, and shall not forget it.
I am _more_ than satisfied at what took place at the Linnean Society. I
had thought that your letter and mine to Asa Gray were to be only an
appendix to Wallace's paper.

We go from here in a few days to the sea-side, probably to the Isle of
Wight, and on my return (after a battle with pigeon skeletons) I will
set to work at the abstract, though how on earth I shall make anything
of an abstract in thirty pages of the Journal, I know not, but will try
my best....

I must try and see you before your journey; but do not think I am
fishing to ask you to come to Down, for you will have no time for that.

You cannot imagine how pleased I am that the notion of Natural Selection
has acted as a purgative on your bowels of immutability. Whenever
naturalists can look at species changing as certain, what a magnificent
field will be open,--on all the laws of variation,--on the genealogy of
all living beings,--on their lines of migration, &c. &c. Pray thank Mrs.
Hooker for her very kind little note, and pray say how truly obliged I
am, and in truth ashamed to think that she should have had the trouble
of copying my ugly MS. It was extraordinarily kind in her. Farewell, my
dear kind friend.

Yours affectionately.

P.S.--I have had some fun here in watching a slave-making ant; for I
could not help rather doubting the wonderful stories, but I have now
seen a defeated marauding party, and I have seen a migration from one
nest to another of the slave-makers, carrying their slaves (who are
_house_, and not field niggers) in their mouths!

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of Wight. July
18th [1858].

... We are established here for ten days, and then go on to Shanklin,
which seems more amusing to one, like myself, who cannot walk. We hope
much that the sea may do H. and L. good. And if it does, our expedition
will answer, but not otherwise.

I have never half thanked you for all the extraordinary trouble and
kindness you showed me about Wallace's affair. Hooker told me what was
done at the Linnean Society, and I am far more than satisfied, and I do
not think that Wallace can think my conduct unfair in allowing you and
Hooker to do whatever you thought fair. I certainly was a little annoyed
to lose all priority, but had resigned myself to my fate. I am going to
prepare a longer abstract; but it is really impossible to do justice to
the subject, except by giving the facts on which each conclusion is
grounded, and that will, of course, be absolutely impossible. Your name
and Hooker's name appearing as in any way the least interested in my
work will, I am certain, have the most important bearing in leading
people to consider the subject without prejudice. I look at this as so
very important, that I am almost glad of Wallace's paper for having led
to this.

My dear Lyell, yours most gratefully.

The following letter refers to the proof-sheets of the Linnean paper.
The 'introduction' means the prefatory letter signed by Sir C. Lyell and
Sir J. D. Hooker.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ King's Head Hotel, Sandown, Isle of Wight.
July 21st [1858].

MY DEAR HOOKER--I received only yesterday the proof-sheets, which I now
return. I think your introduction cannot be improved.

I am disgusted with my bad writing. I could not improve it, without
rewriting all, which would not be fair or worth while, as I have begun
on a better abstract for the Linnean Society. My excuse is that it
_never_ was intended for publication. I have made only a few corrections
in the style; but I cannot make it decent, but I hope moderately
intelligible. I suppose some one will correct the revise. (Shall I?)

Could I have a clean proof to send to Wallace?

I have not yet fully considered your remarks on big genera (but your
general concurrence is of the _highest possible_ interest to me); nor
shall I be able till I re-read my MS.; but you may rely on it that you
never make a remark to me which is lost from _inattention_. I am
particularly glad you do not object to my stating your objections in a
modified form, for they always struck me as very important, and as
having much inherent value, whether or no they were fatal to my notions.
I will consider and reconsider all your remarks....

I am very glad at what you say about my Abstract, but you may rely on it
that I will condense to the utmost. I would aid in money if it is too
long.[152] In how many ways you have aided me!

Yours affectionately.

The "Abstract" mentioned in the last sentence of the preceding letter
was in fact the _Origin of Species_, on which he now set to work. In his
_Autobiography_ (p. 41) he speaks of beginning to write in September,
but in his Diary he wrote, "July 20 to Aug. 12, at Sandown, began
Abstract of Species book." "Sep. 16, Recommenced Abstract." The book was
begun with the idea that it would be published as a paper, or series of
papers, by the Linnean Society, and it was only in the late autumn that
it became clear that it must take the form of an independent volume.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Norfolk House, Shanklin, Isle of Wight.
[August 1858.]

MY DEAR HOOKER,--I write merely to say that the MS. came safely two or
three days ago. I am much obliged for the correction of style: I find it
unutterably difficult to write clearly. When we meet I must talk over a
few points on the subject.

You speak of going to the sea-side somewhere; we think this the nicest
sea-side place which we have ever seen, and we like Shanklin better than
other spots on the south coast of the island, though many are charming
and prettier, so that I would suggest your thinking of this place. We
are on the actual coast; but tastes differ so much about places.

If you go to Broadstairs, when there is a strong wind from the coast of
France and in fine, dry, warm weather, look out and you will _probably_
(!) see thistle-seeds blown across the Channel. The other day I saw one
blown right inland, and then in a few minutes a second one and then a
third; and I said to myself, God bless me, how many thistles there must
be in France; and I wrote a letter in imagination to you. But I then
looked at the _low_ clouds, and noticed that they were not coming
inland, so I feared a screw was loose, I then walked beyond a headland
and found the wind parallel to the coast, and on this very headland a
noble bed of thistles, which by every wide eddy were blown far out to
sea, and then came right in at right angles to the shore! One day such a
number of insects were washed up by the tide, and I brought to life
thirteen species of Coleoptera; not that I suppose these came from
France. But do you watch for thistle-seed as you saunter along the

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ [Down] Oct. 6th, 1858.

... If you have or can make leisure, I should very much like to hear
news of Mrs. Hooker, yourself, and the children. Where did you go, and
what did you do and are doing? There is a comprehensive text.

You cannot tell how I enjoyed your little visit here. It did me much
good. If Harvey[153] is still with you, pray remember me very kindly to

... I am working most steadily at my Abstract [_Origin of Species_], but
it grows to an inordinate length; yet fully to make my view clear (and
never giving briefly more than a fact or two, and slurring over
difficulties), I cannot make it shorter. It will yet take me three or
four months; so slow do I work, though never idle. You cannot imagine
what a service you have done me in making me make this Abstract; for
though I thought I had got all clear, it has clarified my brains very
much, by making me weigh the relative importance of the several

He was not so fully occupied but that he could find time to help his
boys in their collecting. He sent a short notice to the _Entomologists'
Weekly Intelligencer_, June 25th, 1859, recording the capture of
_Licinus silphoides_, _Clytus mysticus_, _Panagæus 4-pustulatus_. The
notice begins with the words, "We three very young collectors having
lately taken in the parish of Down," &c., and is signed by three of his
boys, but was clearly not written by them. I have a vivid recollection
of the pleasure of turning out my bottle of dead beetles for my father
to name, and the excitement, in which he fully shared, when any of them
proved to be uncommon ones. The following letter to Mr. Fox (Nov. 13th,
1858), illustrates this point:--

"I am reminded of old days by my third boy having just begun collecting
beetles, and he caught the other day _Brachinus crepitans_, of immortal
Whittlesea Mere memory. My blood boiled with old ardour when he caught a
Licinus--a prize unknown to me."

And again to Sir John Lubbock:--

"I feel like an old war-horse at the sound of the trumpet when I read
about the capturing of rare beetles--is not this a magnanimous simile
for a decayed entomologist?--It really almost makes me long to begin
collecting again. Adios.

"'Floreat Entomologia'!--to which toast at Cambridge I have drunk many a
glass of wine. So again, 'Floreat Entomologia.'--N.B. I have _not_ now
been drinking any glasses full of wine."

_C D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, Jan. 23rd, 1859.

... I enclose letters to you and me from Wallace. I admire extremely the
spirit in which they are written. I never felt very sure what he would
say. He must be an amiable man. Please return that to me, and Lyell
ought to be told how well satisfied he is. These letters have vividly
brought before me how much I owe to your and Lyell's most kind and
generous conduct in all this affair.

... How glad I shall be when the Abstract is finished, and I can

_C. D. to A. B. Wallace._ Down, Jan. 25th [1859].

MY DEAR SIR,--I was extremely much pleased at receiving three days ago
your letter to me and that to Dr. Hooker. Permit me to say how heartily
I admire the spirit in which they are written. Though I had absolutely
nothing whatever to do in leading Lyell and Hooker to what they thought
a fair course of action, yet I naturally could not but feel anxious to
hear what your impression would be. I owe indirectly much to you and
them; for I almost think that Lyell would have proved right, and I
should never have completed my larger work, for I have found my Abstract
[_Origin of Species_] hard enough with my poor health, but now, thank
God, I am in my last chapter but one. My Abstract will make a small
volume of 400 or 500 pages. Whenever published, I will, of course, send
you a copy, and then you will see what I mean about the part which I
believe selection has played with domestic productions. It is a very
different part, as you suppose, from that played by "Natural Selection."
I sent off, by the same address as this note, a copy of the _Journal of
the Linnean Society_, and subsequently I have sent some half-dozen
copies of the paper. I have many other copies at your disposal....

I am glad to hear that you have been attending to birds' nests. I have
done so, though almost exclusively under one point of view, viz. to show
that instincts vary, so that selection could work on and improve them.
Few other instincts, so to speak, can be preserved in a Museum.

Many thanks for your offer to look after horses' stripes; if there are
any donkeys, pray add them. I am delighted to hear that you have
collected bees' combs.... This is an especial hobby of mine, and I think
I can throw a light on the subject. If you can collect duplicates at no
very great expense, I should be glad of some specimens for myself with
some bees of each kind. Young, growing, and irregular combs, and those
which have not had pupæ, are most valuable for measurements and
examination. Their edges should be well protected against abrasion.

Every one whom I have seen has thought your paper very well written and
interesting. It puts my extracts (written in 1839,[154] now just twenty
years ago!), which I must say in apology were never for an instant
intended for publication, into the shade.

You ask about Lyell's frame of mind. I think he is somewhat staggered,
but does not give in, and speaks with horror, often to me, of what a
thing it would be, and what a job it would be for the next edition of
_The Principles_, if he were "perverted." But he is most candid and
honest, and I think will end by being perverted. Dr. Hooker has become
almost as heterodox as you or I, and I look at Hooker as _by far_ the
most capable judge in Europe.

Most cordially do I wish you health and entire success in all your
pursuits, and, God knows, if admirable zeal and energy deserve success,
most amply do you deserve it. I look at my own career as nearly run out.
If I can publish my Abstract and perhaps my greater work on the same
subject, I shall look at my course as done.

Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely.

In March 1859 the work was telling heavily on him. He wrote to Fox:--

"I can see daylight through my work, and am now finally correcting my
chapters for the press; and I hope in a month or six weeks to have
proof-sheets. I am weary of my work. It is a very odd thing that I have
no sensation that I overwork my brain; but facts compel me to conclude
that my brain was never formed for much thinking. We are resolved to go
for two or three months, when I have finished, to Ilkley, or some such
place, to see if I can anyhow give my health a good start, for it
certainly has been wretched of late, and has incapacitated me for
everything. You do me injustice when you think that I work for fame; I
value it to a certain extent; but, if I know myself, I work from a sort
of instinct to try to make out truth."

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, March 28th [1859].

MY DEAR LYELL,--If I keep decently well, I hope to be able to go to
press with my volume early in May. This being so, I want much to beg a
little advice from you. From an expression in Lady Lyell's note, I fancy
that you have spoken to Murray. Is it so? And is he willing to publish
my Abstract?[155] If you will tell me whether anything, and what has
passed, I will then write to him. Does he know at all of the subject of
the book? Secondly, can you advise me whether I had better state what
terms of publication I should prefer, or first ask him to propose
terms? And what do you think would be fair terms for an edition? Share
profits, or what?

Lastly, will you be so very kind as to look at the enclosed title and
give me your opinion and any criticisms; you must remember that, if I
have health, and it appears worth doing, I have a much larger and full
book on the same subject nearly ready.

My Abstract will be about five hundred pages of the size of your first
edition of the _Elements of Geology_.

Pray forgive me troubling you with the above queries; and you shall have
no more trouble on the subject. I hope the world goes well with you, and
that you are getting on with your various works.

I am working very hard for me, and long to finish and be free and try to
recover some health.

My dear Lyell, ever yours.

P.S.--Would you advise me to tell Murray that my book is not more
_un_-orthodox than the subject makes inevitable. That I do not discuss
the origin of man. That I do not bring in any discussion about Genesis,
&c. &c., and only give facts, and such conclusions from them as seem to
me fair.

Or had I better say _nothing_ to Murray, and assume that he cannot
object to this much unorthodoxy, which in fact is not more than any
Geological Treatise which runs slap counter to Genesis.



LONDON: &c. &c. &c. &c. 1859.

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, March 30th [1859].

MY DEAR LYELL,--You have been uncommonly kind in all you have done. You
not only have saved me much trouble and some anxiety, but have done all
incomparably better than I could have done it. I am much pleased at all
you say about Murray. I will write either to-day or to-morrow to him,
and will send shortly a large bundle of MS., but unfortunately I cannot
for a week, as the first three chapters are in the copyists' hands.

I am sorry about Murray objecting to the term Abstract, as I look at it
as the only possible apology for _not_ giving references and facts in
full, but I will defer to him and you. I am also sorry about the term
"natural selection." I hope to retain it with explanation somewhat as

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

Why I like the term is that it is constantly used in all works on
breeding, and I am surprised that it is not familiar to Murray; but I
have so long studied such works that I have ceased to be a competent

I again most truly and cordially thank you for your really valuable

Yours most truly.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, April 2nd [1859].

... I wrote to him [Mr. Murray] and gave him the headings of the
chapters, and told him he could not have the MS. for ten days or so; and
this morning I received a letter, offering me handsome terms, and
agreeing to publish without seeing the MS.! So he is eager enough; I
think I should have been cautious, anyhow, but, owing to your letter, I
told him most _explicitly_ that I accept his offer solely on condition
that, after he has seen part or all the MS. he has full power of
retracting. You will think me presumptuous, but I think my book will be
popular to a certain extent (enough to ensure [against] heavy loss)
amongst scientific and semi-scientific men; why I think so is, because I
have found in conversation so great and surprising an interest amongst
such men, and some 0-scientific [non-scientific] men on this subject,
and all my chapters are not _nearly_ so dry and dull as that which you
have read on geographical distribution. Anyhow, Murray ought to be the
best judge, and if he chooses to publish it, I think I may wash my
hands of all responsibility. I am sure my friends, _i.e._ Lyell and you,
have been _extraordinarily_ kind in troubling yourselves on the matter.

I shall be delighted to see you the day before Good Friday; there would
be one advantage for you in any other day--as I believe both my boys
come home on that day--and it would be almost impossible that I could
send the carriage for you. There will, I believe, be some relations in
the house--but I hope you will not care for that, as we shall easily get
as much talking as my _imbecile state_ allows. I shall deeply enjoy
seeing you.

... I am tired, so no more.

P.S.--Please to send, well _tied up_ with strong string, my Geographical
MS. towards the latter half of next week--_i.e._ 7th or 8th--that I may
send it with more to Murray; and God help him if he tries to read it.

... I cannot help a little doubting whether Lyell would take much pains
to induce Murray to publish my book; this was not done at my request,
and it rather grates against my pride.

I know that Lyell has been _infinitely_ kind about my affair, but your
dashed [_i.e._ underlined] "_induce_" gives the idea that Lyell had
unfairly urged Murray.

_C. D. to J. Murray._ Down, April 6th [1859].

MY DEAR SIR,--I send by this post, the Title (with some remarks on a
separate page), and the first three chapters. If you have patience to
read all Chapter I., I honestly think you will have a fair notion of the
interest of the whole book. It may be conceit, but I believe the subject
will interest the public, and I am sure that the views are original. If
you think otherwise, I must repeat my request that you will freely
reject my work; and though I shall be a little disappointed, I shall be
in no way injured.

If you choose to read Chapters II. and III., you will have a dull and
rather abstruse chapter, and a plain and interesting one, in my opinion.

As soon as you have done with the MS., please to send it by _careful
messenger, and plainly directed_, to Miss G. Tollett,[156] 14, Queen
Anne Street, Cavendish Square.

This lady, being an excellent judge of style, is going to look out for
errors for me.

You must take your own time, but the sooner you finish, the sooner she
will, and the sooner I shall get to press, which I so earnestly wish.

I presume you will wish to see Chapter IV.,[157] the key-stone of my
arch, and Chapters X. and XI., but please to inform me on this head.

My dear Sir, yours sincerely.

On April 11th he wrote to Hooker:--

"I write one line to say that I heard from Murray yesterday, and he says
he has read the first three chapters of [my] MS. (and this includes a
very dull one), and he abides by his offer. Hence he does not want more
MS., and you can send my Geographical chapter when it pleases you."

Part of the MS. seems to have been lost on its way back to my father. He
wrote (April 14) to Sir J. D. Hooker:--

"I have the old MS., otherwise the loss would have killed me! The worst
is now that it will cause delay in getting to press, and far worst of
all, I lose all advantage of your having looked over my chapter,[158]
except the third part returned. I am very sorry Mrs. Hooker took the
trouble of copying the two pages."

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ [April or May, 1859.]

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

I enclose a criticism, a taste of the future--

_Rev. S. Haughton's Address to the Geological Society, Dublin._[159]

"This speculation of Messrs. Darwin and Wallace would not be worthy of
notice were it not for the weight of authority of the names (_i.e._
Lyell's and yours), under whose auspices it has been brought forward. If
it means what it says, it is a truism; if it means anything more, it is
contrary to fact."

Q. E. D.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, May 11th [1859].

MY DEAR HOOKER,--Thank you for telling me about obscurity of style. But
on my life no nigger with lash over him could have worked harder at
clearness than I have done. But the very difficulty to me, of itself
leads to the probability that I fail. Yet one lady who has read all my
MS. has found only two or three obscure sentences; but Mrs. Hooker
having so found it, makes me tremble. I will do my best in proofs. You
are a good man to take the trouble to write about it.

With respect to our mutual muddle,[160] I never for a moment thought we
could not make our ideas clear to each other by talk, or if either of us
had time to write _in extenso_.

I imagine from some expressions (but if you ask me what, I could not
answer) that you look at variability as some necessary contingency with
organisms, and further that there is some necessary tendency in the
variability to go on diverging in character or degree. _If you do_, I do
not agree. "Reversion" again (a form of inheritance), I look at as in no
way directly connected with Variation, though of course inheritance is
of fundamental importance to us, for if a variation be not inherited, it
is of no signification to us. It was on such points as these I _fancied_
that we perhaps started differently.

I fear that my book will not deserve at all the pleasant things you say
about it, and Good Lord, how I do long to have done with it!

Since the above was written, I have received and have been _much
interested_ by A. Gray. I am delighted at his note about my and
Wallace's paper. He will go round, for it is futile to give up very many
species, and stop at an arbitrary line at others. It is what my father
called Unitarianism, "a featherbed to catch a falling Christian."...

_C. D. to J. Murray._ Down, June 14th [1859].

MY DEAR SIR,--The diagram will do very well, and I will send it shortly
to Mr. West to have a few trifling corrections made.

I get on very slowly with proofs. I remember writing to you that I
thought there would be not much correction. I honestly wrote what I
thought, but was most grievously mistaken. I find the style incredibly
bad, and most difficult to make clear and smooth. I am extremely sorry
to say, on account of expense, and loss of time for me, that the
corrections are very heavy, as heavy as possible. But from casual
glances, I still hope that later chapters are not so badly written. How
I could have written so badly is quite inconceivable, but I suppose it
was owing to my whole attention being fixed on the general line of
argument, and not on details. All I can say is, that I am very sorry.

Yours very sincerely.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down [Sept.] 11th [1859].

MY DEAR HOOKER,--I corrected the last proof yesterday, and I have now my
revises, index, &c., which will take me near to the end of the month. So
that the neck of my work, thank God, is broken.

I write now to say that I am uneasy in my conscience about hesitating to
look over your proofs,[161] but I was feeling miserably unwell and
shattered when I wrote. I do not suppose I could be of hardly any use,
but if I could, pray send me any proofs. I should be (and fear I was)
the most ungrateful man to hesitate to do anything for you after some
fifteen or more years' help from you.

As soon as ever I have fairly finished I shall be off to Ilkley, or some
other Hydropathic establishment. But I shall be some time yet, as my
proofs have been so utterly obscured with corrections, that I have to
correct heavily on revises.

Murray proposes to publish the first week in November. Oh, good heavens,
the relief to my head and body to banish the whole subject from my mind!

I hope you do not think me a brute about your proof-sheets.

Farewell, yours affectionately.

The following letter is interesting as showing with what a very moderate
amount of recognition he was satisfied,--and more than satisfied.

Sir Charles Lyell was President of the Geological section at the meeting
of the British Association at Aberdeen in 1859. In his address he
said:--"On this difficult and mysterious subject [Evolution] a work will
very shortly appear by Mr. Charles Darwin, the result of twenty years
of observations and experiments in Zoology, Botany, and Geology, by
which he has been led to the conclusion that those powers of nature
which give rise to races and permanent varieties in animals and plants,
are the same as those which in much longer periods produce species, and
in a still longer series of ages give rise to differences of generic
rank. He appears to me to have succeeded by his investigations and
reasonings in throwing a flood of light on many classes of phenomena
connected with the affinities, geographical distribution, and geological
succession of organic beings, for which no other hypothesis has been
able, or has even attempted to account."

My father wrote:--

"You once gave me intense pleasure, or rather delight, by the way you
were interested, in a manner I never expected, in my Coral Reef notions,
and now you have again given me similar pleasure by the manner you have
noticed my species work. Nothing could be more satisfactory to me, and I
thank you for myself, and even more for the subject's sake, as I know
well that the sentence will make many fairly consider the subject,
instead of ridiculing it."

And again, a few days later:--

"I do thank you for your eulogy at Aberdeen. I have been so wearied and
exhausted of late that I have for months doubted whether I have not been
throwing away time and labour for nothing. But now I care not what the
universal world says; I have always found you right, and certainly on
this occasion I am not going to doubt for the first time. Whether you go
far, or but a very short way with me and others who believe as I do, I
am contented, for my work cannot be in vain. You would laugh if you knew
how often I have read your paragraph, and it has acted like a little

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, Sept. 30th [1859].

MY DEAR LYELL,--I sent off this morning the last sheets, but without
index, which is not in type. I look at you as my Lord High Chancellor in
Natural Science, and therefore I request you, after you have finished,
just to _re-run_ over the heads in the recapitulation-part of the last
chapter. I shall be deeply anxious to hear what you decide (if you are
able to decide) on the balance of the pros and contras given in my
volume, and of such other pros and contras as may occur to you. I hope
that you will think that I have given the difficulties fairly. I feel an
entire conviction that if you are now staggered to any moderate extent,
you will come more and more round, the longer you keep the subject at
all before your mind. I remember well how many long years it was before
I could look into the face of some of the difficulties and not feel
quite abashed. I fairly struck my colours before the case of neuter

I suppose that I am a very slow thinker, for you would be surprised at
the number of years it took me to see clearly what some of the problems
were which had to be solved, such as the necessity of the principle of
divergence of character, the extinction of intermediate varieties, on a
continuous area, with graduated conditions; the double problem of
sterile first crosses and sterile hybrids, &c. &c.

Looking back, I think it was more difficult to see what the problems
were than to solve them, so far as I have succeeded in doing, and this
seems to me rather curious. Well, good or bad, my work, thank God, is
over; and hard work, I can assure you, I have had, and much work which
has never borne fruit. You can see, by the way I am scribbling, that I
have an idle and rainy afternoon. I was not able to start for Ilkley
yesterday as I was too unwell; but I hope to get there on Tuesday or
Wednesday. Do, I beg you, when you have finished my book and thought a
little over it, let me hear from you. Never mind and pitch into me, if
you think it requisite; some future day, in London possibly, you may
give me a few criticisms in detail, that is, if you have scribbled any
remarks on the margin, for the chance of a second edition.

Murray has printed 1250 copies, which seems to me rather too large an
edition, but I hope he will not lose.

I make as much fuss about my book as if it were my first. Forgive me,
and believe me, my dear Lyell,

Yours most sincerely.

The book was at last finished and printed, and he wrote to Mr. Murray:--

Ilkley, Yorkshire [1859].

MY DEAR SIR,--I have received your kind note and the copy; I am
infinitely pleased and proud at the appearance of my child.

I quite agree to all you propose about price. But you are really too
generous about the, to me, scandalously heavy corrections. Are you not
acting unfairly towards yourself? Would it not be better at least to
share the £72 8s.? I shall be fully satisfied, for I had no business to
send, though quite unintentionally and unexpectedly, such badly composed
MS. to the printers.

Thank you for your kind offer to distribute the copies to my friends and
assisters as soon as possible. Do not trouble yourself much about the
foreigners, as Messrs. Williams and Norgate have most kindly offered to
do their best, and they are accustomed to send to all parts of the

I will pay for my copies whenever you like. I am so glad that you were
so good as to undertake the publication of my book.

My dear Sir, yours very sincerely,

The further history of the book is given in the next chapter.


[147] _Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist._, 1855.

[148] After the death, from scarlet fever, of his infant child.

[149] "Abstract" is here used in the sense of "extract;" in this sense
also it occurs in the _Linnean Journal_, where the sources of my
father's paper are described.

[150] "On the tendency of Species to form Varieties and on the
Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by Natural Means of
Selection."--_Linnean Society's Journal_, iii. p. 53.

[151] This passage was published as a footnote in a review of the _Life
and Letters of Charles Darwin_ which appeared in the _Quarterly Review_,
Jan. 1888. In the new edition (1891) of _Natural Selection and Tropical
Nature_ (p. 20), Mr. Wallace has given the facts above narrated. There
is a slight and quite unimportant discrepancy between the two accounts,
viz. that in the narrative of 1891 Mr. Wallace speaks of the "cold fit"
instead of the "hot fit" of his ague attack.

[152] That is to say, he would help to pay for the printing, if it
should prove too long for the Linnean Society.

[153] W. H. Harvey, born 1811, died 1866: a well-known botanist.

[154] See a discussion on the date of the earliest sketch of the
_Origin_ in the _Life and Letters_, ii. p. 10.

[155] _The Origin of Species._

[156] Miss Tollett was an old friend of the family.

[157] In the first edition Chapter iv. was on Natural Selection.

[158] The following characteristic acknowledgment of the help he
received occurs in a letter to Hooker, of about this time: "I never did
pick any one's pocket, but whilst writing my present chapter I keep on
feeling (even when differing most from you) just as if I were stealing
from you, so much do I owe to your writings and conversation, so much
more than mere acknowledgments show."

[159] Feb. 9th, 1858.

[160] "When I go over the chapter I will see what I can do, but I hardly
know how I am obscure, and I think we are somehow in a mutual muddle
with respect to each other, from starting from some fundamentally
different notions."--Letter of May 6th, 1859.

[161] Of Hooker's _Flora of Australia_.

[162] _Origin of Species_, 6th edition, vol. ii. p. 357. "But with the
working ant we have an insect differing greatly from its parents, yet
absolutely sterile, so that it could never have transmitted successively
acquired modifications of structure or instinct to its progeny. It may
well be asked how is it possible to reconcile this case with the theory
of natural selection?"



     "Remember that your verdict will probably have more influence than
     my book in deciding whether such views as I hold will be admitted
     or rejected at present; in the future I cannot doubt about their
     admittance, and our posterity will marvel as much about the current
     belief as we do about fossil shells having been thought to have
     been created as we now see them."--From a letter to Lyell, Sept.

OCTOBER 3RD, 1859, TO DECEMBER 31ST, 1859.

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

In October he was, as we have seen in the last chapter, at Ilkley, near
Leeds: there he remained with his family until December, and on the 9th
of that month he was again at Down. The only other entry in the Diary
for this year is as follows:--"During end of November and beginning of
December, employed in correcting for second edition of 3000 copies;
multitude of letters."

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

_C. Lyell to C. Darwin._ October 3rd, 1859.

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

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

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

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

In the first place, at p. 480, it cannot surely be said that the most
eminent naturalists have rejected the view of the mutability of species?
You do not mean to ignore G. St. Hilaire and Lamarck. As to the latter,
you may say, that in regard to animals you substitute natural selection
for volition to a certain considerable extent, but in his theory of the
changes of plants he could not introduce volition; he may, no doubt,
have laid an undue comparative stress on changes in physical conditions,
and too little on those of contending organisms. He at least was for the
universal mutability of species and for a genealogical link between the
first and the present. The men of his school also appealed to
domesticated varieties. (Do you mean _living_ naturalists?)[163]

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,"[164] 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.

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

You enclose your sheets in old MS., so the Post Office very properly
charge them, as letters, 2_d._ extra. I wish all their fines on MS. were
worth as much. I paid 4_s._ 6_d._ 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.

_C. D. to L. Agassiz._[165] Down, November 11th [1859].

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

Yours very faithfully.

He sent copies of the _Origin_, accompanied by letters similar to the
last, to M. De Candolle, Dr. Asa Gray, Falconer and Mr. Jenyns

To Henslow he wrote (Nov. 11th, 1859):--

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

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

"If you are _in ever so slight a degree_ staggered (which I hardly
expect) on the immutability of species, then I am convinced with further
reflection you will become more and more staggered, for this has been
the process through which my mind has gone."

_C. D. 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 profoundly
on the subject, and in so nearly the same channel with myself. I hope
there will be some little new to you, but I fear not much. Remember it
is only an abstract, and very much condensed. God knows what the public
will think. No one has read it, except Lyell, with whom I have had much
correspondence. Hooker thinks him a complete convert, but he does not
seem so in his letters to me; but is evidently deeply interested in the
subject. I do not think your share in the theory will be overlooked by
the real judges, as Hooker, Lyell, Asa Gray, &c. I have heard from Mr.
Sclater that your paper on the Malay Archipelago has been read at the
Linnean Society, and that he was _extremely_ much interested by it.

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

I sincerely hope that you keep your health; I suppose that you will be
thinking of returning[166] soon with your magnificent collections, and
still grander mental materials. You will be puzzled how to publish. The
Royal Society fund will be worth your consideration. With every good
wish, pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely.

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

_C. Darwin to W. B. Carpenter._ November 19th [1859].

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

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. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Ilkley, Yorkshire. [November, 1859.]

MY DEAR HOOKER,--I have just read a review on my book in the
_Athenæum_[167] and it excites my curiosity much who is the author. If
you should hear who writes in the _Athenæum_ 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,[168] which shames me a little. There is
another review of which I should like to know the author, viz. of H. C.
Watson in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_.[169] Some of the remarks are like
yours, and he does deserve punishment; but surely the review is too
severe. Don't you think so?...

I have heard from Carpenter, who, I think, is likely to be a convert.
Also from Quatrefages, who is inclined to go a long way with us. He says
that he exhibited in his lecture a diagram closely like mine!

_J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin._ Monday [Nov. 21, 1859].

MY DEAR DARWIN,--I am a sinner not to have written you ere this, if only
to thank you for your glorious book--what a mass of close reasoning on
curious facts and fresh phenomena--it is capitally written, and will be
very successful. I say this on the strength of two or three plunges into
as many chapters, for I have not yet attempted to read it. Lyell, with
whom we are staying, is perfectly enchanted, and is absolutely gloating
over it. I must accept your compliment to me, and acknowledgment of
supposed assistance[170] from me, as the warm tribute of affection from
an honest (though deluded) man, and furthermore accept it as very
pleasing to my vanity; but, my dear fellow, neither my name nor my
judgment nor my assistance deserved any such compliments, and if I am
dishonest enough to be pleased with what I don't deserve, it must just
pass. How different the _book_ reads from the MS. I see I shall have
much to talk over with you. Those lazy printers have not finished my
luckless Essay: which, beside your book, will look like a ragged
handkerchief beside a Royal Standard....

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ [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.[171] I
hope it was _not_ ----. As advocate, he might think himself justified in
giving the argument only on one side. But the manner in which he drags
in immortality, and sets the priests at me, and leaves me to their
mercies, is base. He would, on no account, burn me, but he will get the
wood ready, and tell the black beasts how to catch me.... It would be
unspeakably grand if Huxley were to lecture on the subject, but I can
see this is a mere chance; Faraday might think it too unorthodox.

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

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

Believe me, your would-be modest friend.

The following passage from a letter to Lyell shows how strongly he felt
on the subject of Lyell's adherence:--"I rejoice profoundly that you
intend admitting the doctrine of modification in your new edition;[172]
nothing, I am convinced, could be more important for its success. I
honour you most sincerely. To have maintained in the position of a
master, one side of a question for thirty years, and then deliberately
give it up, is a fact to which I much doubt whether the records of
science offer a parallel. For myself, also I rejoice profoundly; for,
thinking of so many cases of men pursuing an illusion for years, often
and often a cold shudder has run through me, and I have asked myself
whether I may not have devoted my life to a phantasy. Now I look at it
as morally impossible that investigators of truth, like you and Hooker,
can be wholly wrong, and therefore I rest in peace."

_T. H. Huxley[173] 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 Bär's[174] 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.,[175] and most parts of Chapters X., XI., XII.; and Chapter
XIII. contains much that is most admirable, but on one or two points I
enter a _caveat_ until I can see further into all sides of the question.

As to the first four chapters, I agree thoroughly and fully 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

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

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

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

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

I am sharpening up my claws and beak in readiness.

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

Ever yours faithfully.

_C. D. to T. H. Huxley._ Ilkley, Nov. 25 [1859].

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

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

Yours very sincerely.

_Erasmus Darwin[176] 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.[177] has said. He has not read much above half, so, as he says, he
can give no definite conclusion, and keeps stating that he is not
tied down to either view, and that he has always left an escape by
the way he has spoken of varieties. I happened to speak of the eye
before he had read that part, and it took away his breath--utterly
impossible--structure--function, &c., &c., &c., but when he had read it
he hummed and hawed, and perhaps it was partly conceivable, and then he
fell back on the bones of the ear, which were beyond all probability or
conceivability. He mentioned a slight blot, which I also observed, that
in speaking of the slave-ants carrying one another, you change the
species without giving notice first, and it makes one turn back....

... For myself I really think it is the most interesting book I ever
read, and can only compare it to the first knowledge of chemistry,
getting into a new world or rather behind the scenes. To me the
geographical distribution, I mean the relation of islands to continents
is the most convincing of the proofs, and the relation of the oldest
forms to the existing species. I dare say I don't feel enough the
absence of varieties, but then I don't in the least know if everything
now living were fossilized whether the palæontologists 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.

_A. Sedgwick[178] to C. Darwin._ [November 1859.]

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

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

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


The following extract from a note to Lyell (Nov. 24) gives an idea of
the conditions under which the second edition was prepared: "This
morning I heard from Murray that he sold the whole edition[179] the
first day to the trade. He wants a new edition instantly, and this
utterly confounds me. Now, under water-cure, with all nervous power
directed to the skin, I cannot possibly do head-work, and I must make
only actually necessary corrections. But I will, as far as I can without
my manuscript, take advantage of your suggestions: I must not attempt
much. Will you send me one line to say whether I must strike out about
the secondary whale,[180] 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 coûte_."

Here follows a hint of the coming storm (from a letter to Lyell, Dec.

"Do what I could, I fear I shall be greatly abused. In answer to
Sedgwick's remark that my book would be 'mischievous,' I asked him
whether truth can be known except by being victorious over all attacks.
But it is no use. H. C. Watson tells me that one zoologist says he will
read my book, 'but I will never believe it.' What a spirit to read any
book in! Crawford[181] writes to me that his notice will be hostile,
but that 'he will not calumniate the author.' He says he has read my
book, 'at least such parts as he could understand.'[182] He sent me some
notes and suggestions (quite unimportant), and they show me that I have
unavoidably done harm to the subject, by publishing an abstract.... I
have had several notes from ----, very civil and less decided. Says he
shall not pronounce against me without much reflection, _perhaps will
say nothing_ on the subject. X. says he will go to that part of hell,
which Dante tells us is appointed for those who are neither on God's
side nor on that of the devil."

But his friends were preparing to fight for him. Huxley gave, in
_Macmillan's Magazine_ for December, an analysis of the _Origin_,
together with the substance of his Royal Institution lecture, delivered
before the publication of the book.

Carpenter was preparing an essay for the _National Review_, and
negotiating for a notice in the _Edinburgh_ free from any taint of
_odium theologicum_.

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down [December 12th, 1859].

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

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

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

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

_J. D. Hooker to C. Darwin_. Kew [1859].

DEAR DARWIN,--You have, I know, been drenched with letters since the
publication of your book, and I have hence forborne to add my mite.[183]
I hope now that you are well through Edition II., and I have heard that
you were flourishing in London. I have not yet got half-through the
book, not from want of will, but of time--for it is the very hardest
book to read, to full profits, that I ever tried--it is so cram-full of
matter and reasoning.[184] I am all the more glad that you have
published in this form, for the three volumes, unprefaced by this, would
have choked any Naturalist of the nineteenth century, and certainly have
softened my brain in the operation of assimilating their contents. I am
perfectly tired of marvelling at the wonderful amount of facts you have
brought to bear, and your skill in marshalling them and throwing them on
the enemy; it is also extremely clear as far as I have gone, but very
hard to fully appreciate. Somehow it reads very different from the MS.,
and I often fancy that I must have been very stupid not to have more
fully followed it in MS. Lyell told me of his criticisms. I did not
appreciate them all, and there are many little matters I hope one day to
talk over with you. I saw a highly flattering notice in the _English
Churchman_, short and not at all entering into discussion, but praising
you and your book, and talking patronizingly of the doctrine!... Bentham
and Henslow will still shake their heads, I fancy....

Ever yours affectionately.

_C. D. 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 clearness; and what is even still rarer, his writing
is seasoned with most pleasant wit. We all laughed heartily over some of
the sentences.... Who can it be? Certainly I should have said that there
was only one man in England who could have written this essay, and that
_you_ were the man. But I suppose I am wrong, and that there is some
hidden genius of great calibre. For how could you influence Jupiter
Olympus and make him give three and a half columns to pure science? The
old fogies will think the world will come to an end. Well, whoever the
man is, he has done great service to the cause, far more than by a dozen
reviews in common periodicals. The grand way he soars above common
religious prejudices, and the admission of such views into the _Times_,
I look at as of the highest importance, quite independently of the mere
question of species. If you should happen to be _acquainted_ with the
author, for Heaven-sake tell me who he is?

My dear Huxley, yours most sincerely.

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

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

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

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

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


[163] In his next letter to Lyell my father writes: "The omission of
'living' before 'eminent' naturalists was a dreadful blunder." In the
first edition, as published, the blunder is corrected by the addition of
the word "living."

[164] Darwin wrote to Asa Gray in 1860:--"The eye to this day gives me a
cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my reason
tells me I ought to conquer the cold shudder."

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

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

[166] Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago.

[167] Nov. 19, 1859.

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

[169] A review of the fourth volume of Watson's _Cybele Britannica_,
_Gard. Chron._, 1859, p. 911.

[170] See the _Origin_, first edition, p. 3, where Sir J. D. Hooker's
help is conspicuously acknowledged.

[171] This refers to the review in the _Athenæum_, Nov. 19th, 1859,
where the reviewer, after touching on the theological aspects of the
book, leaves the author to "the mercies of the Divinity Hall, the
College, the Lecture Room, and the Museum."

[172] It appears from Sir Charles Lyell's published letters that he
intended to admit the doctrine of evolution in a new edition of the
_Manual_, but this was not published till 1865. He was, however, at work
on the _Antiquity of Man_ in 1860, and had already determined to discuss
the Origin at the end of the book.

[173] In a letter written in October, my father had said, "I am
intensely curious to hear Huxley's opinion of my book. I fear my long
discussion on classification will disgust him, for it is much opposed to
what he once said to me." He may have remembered the following incident
told by Mr. Huxley in his chapter of the _Life and Letters_, ii. p.
196:--"I remember, in the course of my first interview with Mr. Darwin,
expressing my belief in the sharpness of the lines of demarcation
between natural groups and in the absence of transitional forms, with
all the confidence of youth and imperfect knowledge. I was not aware, at
that time, that he had then been many years brooding over the species
question; and the humorous smile which accompanied his gentle answer,
that such was not altogether his view, long haunted and puzzled me."

[174] Karl Ernst von Baer, b. 1792, d. at Dorpat 1876--one of the most
distinguished biologists of the century. He practically founded the
modern science of embryology.

[175] In the first edition of the _Origin_, Chap. IX. is on the
'Imperfection of the Geological Record;' Chap. X., on the 'Geological
Succession of Organic Beings;' Chaps. XI. and XII., on 'Geographical
Distribution;' Chap. XIII., on 'Mutual Affinities of Organic Beings;
Morphology; Embryology; Rudimentary Organs.'

[176] His brother.

[177] Dr., afterwards Sir Henry, Holland.

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

[179] First edition, 1250 copies.

[180] The passage was omitted in the second edition.

[181] 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 progress of amelioration and that is expounded in the
reverential language which we have quoted."

[182] A letter of Dec. 14, gives a good example of the manner in which
some naturalists received and understood it. "Old J. E. Gray of the
British Museum attacked me in fine style: 'You have just reproduced
Lamarck's doctrine, and nothing else, and here Lyell and others have
been attacking him for twenty years, and because _you_ (with a sneer and
laugh) say the very same thing, they are all coming round; it is the
most ridiculous inconsistency, &c. &c.'"

[183] See, however, p. 211.

[184] Mr. Huxley has made a similar remark:--"Long occupation with the
work has led the present writer to believe that the _Origin of Species_
is one of the hardest of books to master."--_Obituary Notice, Proc. R.
Soc._ No. 269, p. xvii.



     "You are the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this
     century, if not of all centuries."--H. C. Watson to C. Darwin, Nov.
     21, 1859.


The second edition, 3000 copies, of the _Origin_ was published on
January 7th; on the 10th, he wrote with regard to it, to Lyell:--

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, January 10th [1860].

... It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the corrections to you,
and several verbal ones to you and others; I am heartily glad you
approve of them, as yet only two things have annoyed me; those
confounded millions[185] of years (not that I think it is probably
wrong), and my not having (by inadvertence) mentioned Wallace towards
the close of the book in the summary, not that any one has noticed this
to me. I have now put in Wallace's name at p. 484 in a conspicuous
place. I shall be truly glad to read carefully any MS. on man, and give
my opinion. You used to caution me to be cautious about man. I suspect I
shall have to return the caution a hundred fold! Yours will, no doubt,
be a grand discussion; but it will horrify the world at first more than
my whole volume; although by the sentence (p. 489, new edition[186]) I
show that I believe man is in the same predicament with other animals.
It is in fact impossible to doubt it. I have thought (only vaguely) on
man. With respect to the races, one of my best chances of truth has
broken down from the impossibility of getting facts. I have one good
speculative line, but a man must have entire credence in Natural
Selection before he will even listen to it. Psychologically, I have done
scarcely anything. Unless, indeed, expression of countenance can be
included, and on that subject I have collected a good many facts, and
speculated, but I do not suppose I shall ever publish, but it is an
uncommonly curious subject.

A few days later he wrote again to the same correspondent:

"What a grand immense benefit you conferred on me by getting Murray to
publish my book. I never till to-day realised that it was getting widely
distributed; for in a letter from a lady to-day to E., she says she
heard a man enquiring for it at the _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. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, 14th [January, 1860].

... I heard from Lyell this morning, and he tells me a piece of news.
You are a good-for-nothing man; here you are slaving yourself to death
with hardly a minute to spare, and you must write a review on my book! I
thought it[187] a very good one, and was so much struck with it, that I
sent it to Lyell. But I assumed, as a matter of course, that it was
Lindley's. Now that I know it is yours, I have re-read it, and my kind
and good friend, it has warmed my heart with all the honourable and
noble things you say of me and it. I was a good deal surprised at
Lindley hitting on some of the remarks, but I never dreamed of you. I
admired it chiefly as so well adapted to tell on the readers of the
_Gardeners' Chronicle_; but now I admire it in another spirit. Farewell,
with hearty thanks....

_Asa Gray to J. D. Hooker._ Cambridge, Mass., January 5th, 1860.

MY DEAR HOOKER,--Your last letter, which reached me just before
Christmas, has got mislaid during the upturnings in my study which take
place at that season, and has not yet been discovered. I should be very
sorry to lose it, for there were in it some botanical mems. which I had
not secured....

The principal part of your letter was high laudation of Darwin's book.

Well, the book has reached me, and I finished its careful perusal four
days ago; and I freely say that your laudation is not out of place.

It is done in a _masterly manner_. It might well have taken twenty years
to produce it. It is crammed full of most interesting matter--thoroughly
digested--well expressed--close, cogent, and taken as a system it makes
out a better case than I had supposed possible....

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

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[188] 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)
number, and I am now setting about it (when I ought to be every moment
working the Expl[oring] Expedition Compositæ, which I know far more
about). And really it is no easy job as you may well imagine.

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

_C. D. to Asa Gray._ Down, January 28th [1860].

MY DEAR GRAY,--Hooker has forwarded to me your letter to him; and I
cannot express how deeply it has gratified me. To receive the approval
of a man whom one has long sincerely respected, and whose judgment and
knowledge are most universally admitted, is the highest reward an author
can possibly wish for; and I thank you heartily for your most kind

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.[189]

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 received by this
time complete, and I could send four or five corrections or additions of
equally small importance, or rather of equal brevity. I also intend to
write a _short_ preface with a brief history of the subject. These I
will set about, as they must some day be done, and I will send them to
you in a short time--the few corrections first, and the preface
afterwards, unless I hear that you have given up all idea of a separate
edition. You will then be able to judge whether it is worth having the
new edition with _your review prefixed_. Whatever be the nature of your
review, I assure you I should feel it a _great_ honour to have my book
thus preceded....

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down [February 15th, 1860].

... I am perfectly convinced (having read it this morning) that the
review in the _Annals_[190] is by Wollaston; no one else in the world
would have used so many parentheses. I have written to him, and told him
that the "pestilent" fellow thanks him for his kind manner of speaking
about him. I have also told him that he would be pleased to hear that
the Bishop of Oxford says it is the most unphilosophical[191] work he
ever read. The review seems to me clever, and only misinterprets me in a
few places. Like all hostile men, he passes over the explanation given
of Classification, Morphology, Embryology, and Rudimentary Organs, &c. I
read Wallace's paper in MS.,[192] and thought it admirably good; he does
not know that he has been anticipated about the depth of intervening sea
determining distribution.... The most curious point in the paper seems
to me that about the African character of the Celebes productions, but I
should require further confirmation....

Henslow is staying here; I have had some talk with him; he is in much
the same state as Bunbury,[193] and will go a very little way with us,
but brings up no real argument against going further. He also shudders
at the eye! It is really curious (and perhaps is an argument in our
favour) how differently different opposers view the subject. Henslow
used to rest his opposition on the imperfection of the Geological
Record, but he now thinks nothing of this, and says I have got well out
of it; I wish I could quite agree with him. Baden Powell says he never
read anything so conclusive as my statement about the eye!! A stranger
writes to me about sexual selection, and regrets that I boggle about
such a trifle as the brush of hair on the male turkey, and so on. As L.
Jenyns has a really philosophical mind, and as you say you like to see
everything, I send an old letter of his. In a later letter to Henslow,
which I have seen, he is more candid than any opposer I have heard of,
for he says, though he cannot go so far as I do, yet he can give no good
reason why he should not. It is funny how each man draws his own
imaginary line at which to halt. It reminds me so vividly [of] what I
was told[194] about you when I first commenced geology--to believe a
_little_, but on no account to believe all.

Ever yours affectionately.

With regard to the attitude of the more liberal representatives of the
Church, the following letter 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, [Greek: hepesthai tô
logô]--follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into
whatsoever unexpected bogs and brakes he may lead us, if we do but run
into him at last.

From two common superstitious, at least, I shall be free while judging
of your book:--

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

(2.) I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a
conception of Deity, to believe that He created primal forms capable of
self-development into all forms needful _pro tempore_ and _pro loco_, as
to believe that He required a fresh act of intervention to supply the
_lacunas_ which He Himself had made. I question whether the former be
not the loftier thought.

Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself, and as a
proof that you are aware of the existence of such a person as

Your faithful servant,

My father's old friend, the Rev. J. Brodie Innes, of Milton Brodie, who
was for many years Vicar of Down, in some reminiscences of my father
which he was so good as to give me, writes in the same spirit:

"We never attacked each other. Before I knew Mr. Darwin I had adopted,
and publicly expressed, the principle that the study of natural history,
geology, and science in general, 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....

"In [a] letter, after I had left Down, he [Darwin] writes, 'We often
differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ
and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing [of] which I
should feel very proud if any one could say [it] of me.'

"On my last visit to Down, Mr. Darwin said, at his dinner-table, 'Innes
and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never thoroughly
agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at each other,
and thought one of us must be very ill.'"

The following extract from a letter to Lyell, Feb. 23, 1860, has a
certain bearing on the points just touched on:

"With respect to Bronn's[195] objection that it cannot be shown how life
arises, and likewise to a certain extent Asa Gray's remark that natural
selection is not a _vera causa_, I was much interested by finding
accidentally in Brewster's _Life of Newton_, that Leibnitz objected to
the law of gravity because Newton could not show what gravity itself is.
As it has chanced, I have used in letters this very same argument,
little knowing that any one had really thus objected to the law of
gravity. Newton answers by saying that it is philosophy to make out the
movements of a clock, though you do not know why the weight descends to
the ground. Leibnitz further objected that the law of gravity was
opposed to Natural Religion! Is this not curious? I really think I shall
use the facts for some introductory remarks for my bigger book."

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, March 3rd [1860].

... I think you expect too much in regard to change of opinion on the
subject of Species. One large class of men, more especially I suspect of
naturalists, never will care about _any_ general question, of which old
Gray, of the British Museum, may be taken as a type; and secondly,
nearly all men past a moderate age, either in actual years or in mind
are, I am fully convinced, incapable of looking at facts under a new
point of view. Seriously, I am astonished and rejoiced at the progress
which the subject has made; look at the enclosed memorandum. ---- says
my book will be forgotten in ten years, perhaps so; but, with such a
list, I feel convinced the subject will not.

[Here follows the memorandum referred to:]

Geologists.       | Zoologists and   |  Physiologists.  |Botanists.
                  | Palæontologists. |                  |
Lyell.            |Huxley.           |Carpenter.        |Hooker.
Ramsay.[196]      |J. Lubbock.       |Sir. H. Holland   |H. C. Watson.
Jukes.[197]       |L. Jenyns         |(to large extent).|Asa Gray
H. D. Rogers.[198]|(to large extent).|                  |(to some extent).
                  |Searles Wood.[199]|                  |Dr. Boott
                                     |                  |(to large extent).
                                     |                  |Thwaites.[200]

_C. D. to Asa Gray_. Down, April 3 [1860].

... I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold
all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small
trifling particulars of structure often make me very uncomfortable. The
sight of a feather in a peacock's tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me

You may like to hear about reviews on my book. Sedgwick (as I and Lyell
feel _certain_ from internal evidence) has reviewed me savagely and
unfairly in the _Spectator_.[201] 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.... There has been
one prodigy of a review, namely, an _opposed_ one (by Pictet,[202] the
palæontologist, in the _Bib. Universelle_ of Geneva) which is
_perfectly_ fair and just, and I agree to every word he says; our only
difference being that he attaches less weight to arguments in favour,
and more to arguments opposed, than I do. Of all the opposed reviews, I
think this the only quite fair one, and I never expected to see one.
Please observe that I do not class your review by any means as opposed,
though you think so yourself! It has done me _much_ too good service
ever to appear in that rank in my eyes. But I fear I shall weary you
with so much about my book. I should rather think there was a good
chance of my becoming the most egotistical man in all Europe! What a
proud pre-eminence! Well, you have helped to make me so, and therefore
you must forgive me if you can.

My dear Gray, ever yours most gratefully.

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, April 10th [1860].

I have just read the _Edinburgh_,[203] 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

Now for a curious thing about my book, and then I have done. In last
Saturday's _Gardeners' Chronicle_,[204] a Mr. Patrick Matthew publishes
a long extract from his work on _Naval Timber and Arboriculture_
published in 1831, in which he briefly but completely anticipates the
theory of Natural Selection. I have ordered the book, as some few
passages are rather obscure, but it is certainly, I think, a complete
but not developed anticipation! Erasmus always said that surely this
would be shown to be the case some day. Anyhow, one may be excused in
not having discovered the fact in a work on Naval Timber.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down [April 13th, 1860].

MY DEAR HOOKER,--Questions of priority so often lead to odious quarrels,
that I should esteem it a great favour if you would read the
enclosed.[205] If you think it proper that I should send it (and of
this there can hardly be any question), and if you think it full and
ample enough, please alter the date to the day on which you post it, and
let that be soon. The case in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_ seems a
_little_ stronger than in Mr. Matthew's book, for the passages are
therein scattered in three places; but it would be mere hair-splitting
to notice that. If you object to my letter, please return it; but I do
not expect that you will, but I thought that you would not object to run
your eye over it. My dear Hooker, it is a great thing for me to have so
good, true, and old a friend as you. I owe much for science to my

... I have gone over [the _Edinburgh_] review again, and compared
passages, and I am astonished at the misrepresentations. But I am glad I
resolved not to answer. Perhaps it is selfish, but to answer and think
more on the subject is too unpleasant. I am so sorry that Huxley by my
means has been thus atrociously attacked. I do not suppose you much care
about the gratuitous attack on you.

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

_C. D. to C. Lyell._ Down, April [1860].

... I was particularly glad to hear what you thought about not noticing
[the _Edinburgh_] review. Hooker and Huxley thought it a sort of duty to
point out the alteration of quoted citations, and there is truth in this
remark; but I so hated the thought that I resolved not to do so. I shall
come up to London on Saturday the 14th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, as I
have an accumulation of things to do in London, and will (if I do not
hear to the contrary) call about a quarter before ten on Sunday morning,
and sit with you at breakfast, but will not sit long, and so take up
much of your time. I must say one more word about our quasi-theological
controversy about natural selection, and let me have your opinion when
we meet in London. Do you consider that the successive variations in the
size of the crop of the Pouter Pigeon, which man has accumulated to
please his caprice, have been due to "the creative and sustaining powers
of Brahma?" In the sense that an omnipotent and omniscient Deity must
order and know everything, this must be admitted; yet, in honest truth,
I can hardly admit it. It seems preposterous that a maker of a universe
should care about the crop of a pigeon solely to please man's silly
fancies. But if you agree with me in thinking such an interposition of
the Deity uncalled for, I can see no reason whatever for believing in
such interpositions in the case of natural beings, in which strange and
admirable peculiarities have been naturally selected for the creature's
own benefit. Imagine a Pouter in a state of nature wading into the water
and then, being buoyed up by its inflated crop, sailing about in search
of food. What admiration this would have excited--adaptation to the laws
of hydrostatic pressure, &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.

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. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down [May 15th, 1860].

... How paltry it is in such men as X., Y. and Co. not reading your
essay. It is incredibly paltry. They may all attack me to their hearts'
content. I am got case-hardened. As for the old fogies in
Cambridge,[206] it really signifies nothing. I look at their attacks as
a proof that our work is worth the doing. It makes me resolve to buckle
on my armour. I see plainly that it will be a long uphill fight. But
think of Lyell's progress with Geology. One thing I see most plainly,
that without Lyell's, yours, Huxley's and Carpenter's aid, my book would
have been a mere flash in the pan. But if we all stick to it, we shall
surely gain the day. And I now see that the battle is worth fighting. I
deeply hope that you think so.

_C. D. to Asa Gray._ Down May 22nd [1860].

MY DEAR GRAY,--Again I have to thank you for one of your very pleasant
letters of May 7th, enclosing a very pleasant remittance of £22. I am in
simple truth astonished at all the kind trouble you have taken for me. I
return Appletons' account. For the chance of your wishing for a formal
acknowledgment I send one. If you have any further communication to the
Appletons, pray express my acknowledgment for [their] generosity; for it
is generosity in my opinion. I am not at all surprised at the sale
diminishing; my extreme surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No
doubt the public has been _shamefully_ imposed on! for they bought the
book thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale to
stop soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day that calling
at Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in the previous
forty-eight hours. I am extremely glad that you will notice in
_Silliman_ the additions in the _Origin_.[207] Judging from letters (and
I have just seen one from Thwaites to Hooker), and from remarks, the
most serious omission in my book was not explaining how it is, as I
believe, that all forms do not necessarily advance, how there can now be
_simple_ organisms still existing.... I hear there is a _very_ severe
review on me in the _North British_ by a Rev. Mr. Dunns,[208] a Free
Kirk minister, and dabbler in Natural History. In the _Saturday Review_
(one of our cleverest periodicals) of May 5th, p. 573, there is a nice
article on [the _Edinburgh_] review, defending Huxley, but not Hooker;
and the latter, I think, [the _Edinburgh_ reviewer] treats most
ungenerously.[209] But surely you will get sick unto death of me and my

With respect to the theological view of the question. This is always
painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write
atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and
as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides
of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade
myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly
created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding
within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with
mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye
was expressly designed. On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented
to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and
to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined
to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details,
whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.
Not that this notion _at all_ satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the
whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as
well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what
he can. Certainly I agree with you that my views are not at all
necessarily atheistical. The lightning kills a man, whether a good one
or bad one, owing to the excessively complex action of natural laws. A
child (who may turn out an idiot) is born by the action of even more
complex laws, and I can see no reason why a man, or other animal, may
not have been aboriginally produced by other laws, and that all these
laws may have been expressly designed by an omniscient Creator, who
foresaw every future event and consequence. But the more I think the
more bewildered I become; as indeed I have probably shown by this

Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest.

Yours sincerely and cordially.

The meeting of the British Association at Oxford in 1860 is famous for
two pitched battles over the _Origin of Species_. Both of them
originated in unimportant papers. On Thursday, June 28th, 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 _Athenæum_ report) to avoid a discussion, on the
ground "that a general audience, in which sentiment would unduly
interfere with intellect, was not the public before which such a
discussion should be carried on." However, the subject was not allowed
to drop. Sir R. Owen (I quote from the _Athenæum_, July 7th, 1860), who
"wished to approach this subject in the spirit of the philosopher,"
expressed his "conviction that there were facts by which the public
could come to some conclusion with regard to the probabilities of the
truth of Mr. Darwin's theory." He went on to say that the brain of the
gorilla "presented more differences, as compared with the brain of man,
than it did when compared with the brains of the very lowest and most
problematical of the Quadrumana." Mr. Huxley replied, and gave these
assertions a "direct and unqualified contradiction," pledging himself to
"justify that unusual procedure elsewhere,"[210] a pledge which he amply
fulfilled.[211] On Friday there was peace, but on Saturday 30th, the
battle arose with redoubled fury, at a conjoint meeting of three
Sections, over a paper by Dr. Draper of New York, on the "Intellectual
development of Europe considered with reference to the views of Mr.

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

"The excitement was tremendous. The Lecture-room, in which it had been
arranged that the discussion should be held, proved far too small for
the audience, and the meeting adjourned to the Library of the Museum,
which was crammed to suffocation long before the champions entered the
lists. The numbers were estimated at from 700 to 1000. Had it been
term-time, or had the general public been admitted, it would have been
impossible to have accommodated the rush to hear the oratory of the bold
Bishop.[212] Professor Henslow, the President of Section D, occupied the
chair, and wisely announced _in limine_ that none who had not valid
arguments to bring forward on one side or the other, would be allowed to
address the meeting: a caution that proved necessary, for no fewer than
four combatants had their utterances burked by him, because of their
indulgence in vague declamation.

"The Bishop was up to time, and spoke for full half-an-hour with
inimitable spirit, emptiness and unfairness. It was evident from his
handling of the subject that he had been 'crammed' up to the throat, and
that he knew nothing at first hand; in fact, he used no argument not to
be found in his _Quarterly_ article.[213] He ridiculed Darwin badly, and
Huxley savagely, but all in such dulcet tones, so persuasive a manner,
and in such well-turned periods, that I who had been inclined to blame
the President for allowing a discussion that could serve no scientific
purpose, now forgave him from the bottom of my heart."

What follows is from notes most kindly supplied by the Hon. and Rev. W.
H. Fremantle, who was an eye-witness of the scene.

"The Bishop of Oxford attacked Darwin, at first playfully but at last in
grim earnest. It was known that the Bishop had written an article
against Darwin in the last _Quarterly Review_: it was also rumoured that
Professor Owen had been staying at Cuddesden and had primed the Bishop,
who was to act as mouthpiece to the great Palæontologist, who did not
himself dare to enter the lists. The Bishop, however, did not show
himself master of the facts, and made one serious blunder. A fact which
had been much dwelt on as confirmatory of Darwin's idea of variation,
was that a sheep had been born shortly before in a flock in the North of
England, having an addition of one to the vertebræ of the spine. The
Bishop was declaring with rhetorical exaggeration that there was hardly
any actual evidence on Darwin's side. 'What have they to bring forward?'
he exclaimed. 'Some rumoured statement about a long-legged sheep.' But
he passed on to banter: 'I should like to ask Professor Huxley, who is
sitting by me, and is about to tear me to pieces when I have sat down,
as to his belief in being descended from an ape. Is it on his
grandfather's or his grandmother's side that the ape ancestry comes in?'
And then taking a graver tone, he asserted in a solemn peroration that
Darwin's views were contrary to the revelations of God in the
Scriptures. Professor Huxley was unwilling to respond: but he was called
for and spoke with his usual incisiveness and with some scorn. 'I am
here only in the interests of science,' he said, 'and I have not heard
anything which can prejudice the case of my august client.' Then after
showing how little competent the Bishop was to enter upon the
discussion, he touched on the question of Creation. 'You say that
development drives out the Creator. But you assert that God made you:
and yet you know that you yourself were originally a little piece of
matter no bigger than the end of this gold pencil-case.' Lastly as to
the descent from a monkey, he said: 'I should feel it no shame to have
risen from such an origin. But I should feel it a shame to have sprung
from one who prostituted the gifts of culture and of eloquence to the
service of prejudice and of falsehood.'

"Many others spoke. Mr. Gresley, an old Oxford don, pointed out that in
human nature at least orderly development was not the necessary rule;
Homer was the greatest of poets, but he lived 3000 years ago, and has
not produced his like.

"Admiral Fitz-Roy was present, and said that he had often expostulated
with his old comrade of the _Beagle_ for entertaining views which were
contradictory to the First Chapter of Genesis.

"Sir John Lubbock declared that many of the arguments by which the
permanence of species was supported came to nothing, and instanced some
wheat which was said to have come off an Egyptian mummy and was sent to
him to prove that wheat had not changed since the time of the Pharaohs;
but which proved to be made of French chocolate.[214] Sir Joseph (then
Dr.) Hooker spoke shortly, saying that he had found the hypothesis of
Natural Selection so helpful in explaining the phenomena of his own
subject of Botany, that he had been constrained to accept it. After a
few words from Darwin's old friend Professor Henslow who occupied the
chair, the meeting broke up, leaving the impression that those most
capable of estimating the arguments of Darwin in detail saw their way to
accept his conclusions."

Many versions of Mr. Huxley's speech were current: the following report
of his conclusion is from a letter addressed by the late John Richard
Green, then an undergraduate, to a fellow-student, now Professor Boyd
Dawkins:--"I asserted, and I repeat, that a man has no reason to be
ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor
whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would be a _man_, a man of
restless and versatile intellect, who, not content with an equivocal
success in his own sphere of activity, plunges into scientific questions
with which he has no real acquaintance, only to obscure them by an
aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of his hearers from the
real point at issue by eloquent digressions, and skilled appeals to
religious prejudice."[215]

The following letter shows that Mr. Huxley's presence at this
remarkable scene depended on so slight a chance as that of meeting a
friend in the street; that this friend should have been Robert Chambers,
so that the author of the _Vestiges_ should have sounded the war-note
for the battle of the _Origin_, adds interest to the incident. I have to
thank Mr. Huxley for allowing the story to be told in words of his not
written for publication.

_T. H. Huxley to Francis Darwin._

June 27, 1891.

... I should say that Fremantle's account is substantially correct; but
that Green has the passage of my speech more accurately. However, I am
certain I did not use the word "equivocal."[216]

The odd part of the business is that I should not have been present
except for Robert Chambers. I had heard of the Bishop's intention to
utilise the occasion. I knew he had the reputation of being a first-rate
controversialist, and I was quite aware that if he played his cards
properly, we should have little chance, with such an audience, of making
an efficient defence. Moreover, I was very tired, and wanted to join my
wife at her brother-in-law's country house near Reading, on the
Saturday. On the Friday I met Chambers in the street, and in reply to
some remark of his about the meeting, I said that I did not mean to
attend it; did not see the good of giving up peace and quietness to be
episcopally pounded. Chambers broke out into vehement remonstrances and
talked about my deserting them. So I said, "Oh! if you take it that way,
I'll come and have my share of what is going on."

So I came, and chanced to sit near old Sir Benjamin Brodie. The Bishop
began his speech, and, to my astonishment, very soon showed that he was
so ignorant that he did not know how to manage his own case. My spirits
rose proportionally, and when he turned to me with his insolent
question, I said to Sir Benjamin, in an undertone, "The Lord hath
delivered him into mine hands."

That sagacious old gentleman stared at me as if I had lost my senses.
But, in fact, the Bishop had justified the severest retort I could
devise, and I made up my mind to let him have it. I was careful,
however, not to rise to reply, until the meeting called for me--then I
let myself go.

In justice to the Bishop, I am bound to say he bore no malice, but was
always courtesy itself when we occasionally met in after years. Hooker
and I walked away from the meeting together, and I remember saying to
him that this experience had changed my opinion as to the practical
value of the art of public speaking, and that, from that time forth, I
should carefully cultivate it, and try to leave off hating it. I did the
former, but never quite succeeded in the latter effort.

I did not mean to trouble you with such a long scrawl when I began about
this piece of ancient history.

Ever yours very faithfully

The eye-witness above quoted (p. 237) continues:--

"There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at the rooms of the
hospitable and genial Professor of Botany, Dr. Daubeny, where the almost
sole topic was the battle of the _Origin_, and I was much struck with
the fair and unprejudiced way in which the black coats and white cravats
of Oxford discussed the question, and the frankness with which they
offered their congratulations to the winners in the combat."[217]

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Monday night [July 2nd, 1860].

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

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ [July 1860.]

... I have just read the _Quarterly_.[218] It is uncommonly clever; it
picks out with skill all the most conjectural parts, and brings forward
well all the difficulties. It quizzes me quite splendidly by quoting the
_Anti-Jacobin_ versus my Grandfather. You are not alluded to, nor,
strange to say, Huxley; and I can plainly see, here and there, ----'s
hand. The concluding pages will make Lyell shake in his shoes. By Jove,
if he sticks to us, he will be a real hero. Good-night. Your
well-quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate friend,

C. D.

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

The following extract from a letter of Sept. 1st, 1860, is of interest,
not only as showing that Lyell was still conscientiously working out his
conversion, but also and especially as illustrating the remarkable fact
that hardly any of my father's critics gave him any new objections--so
fruitful had been his ponderings of twenty years:--

"I have been much interested by your letter of the 28th, received this
morning. It has _delighted_ me, because it 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."

_C. D. to Asa Gray._ [Hartfield, Sussex] July 22nd [1860].

MY DEAR GRAY,--Owing to absence from home at water-cure and then having
to move my sick girl to whence I am now writing, I have only lately read
the discussion in _Proc. American Acad._,[219] 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![220] 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 _Athenæum_ has the largest circulation, and I have sent my
copy to the editor with a request that he would republish the first
discussion; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed the subject in so
hostile a spirit.... I shall be curious [to see], and will order the
August number, as soon as I know that it contains your review of
reviews. My conclusion is that you have made a mistake in being a
botanist, you ought to have been a lawyer.

The following passages from a letter to Huxley (Dec. 2nd, 1860) may
serve to show what was my father's view of the position of the subject,
after a year's experience of reviewers, critics and converts:--

"I have got fairly sick of hostile reviews. Nevertheless, they have been
of use in showing me when to expatiate a little and to introduce a few
new discussions.

"I entirely agree with you, that the difficulties on my notions are
terrific, yet having seen what all the Reviews have said against me, I
have far more confidence in the _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.... 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."


[185] 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 improbable that a longer period than 300 million years has
elapsed since the latter part of the Secondary period." This passage is
omitted in the later editions of the _Origin_, against the advice of
some of his friends, as appears from the pencil notes in my father's
copy of the 2nd edition.

[186] In the first edition, the passages occur on p. 488.

[187] _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 1860. Sir J. D. Hooker took the line of
complete impartiality, so as not to commit the editor, Lindley.

[188] On Jan. 23 Gray wrote to Darwin: "It naturally happens that my
review of your book does not exhibit anything like the full force of the
impression the book has made upon me. Under the circumstances I suppose
I do your theory more good here, by bespeaking for it a fair and
favourable consideration, and by standing non-committed as to its full
conclusions, than I should if I announced myself a convert; nor could I
say the latter, with truth....

"What seems to me the weakest point in the book is the attempt to
account for the formation of organs, the making of eyes, &c., by natural
selection. Some of this reads quite Lamarckian."

[189] In a letter to Mr. Murray, 1860, my father wrote:--"I am amused by
Asa Gray's account of the excitement my book has made amongst
naturalists in the U. States. Agassiz has denounced it in a newspaper,
but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine advertisement!" This
seems to refer to a lecture given before the Mercantile Library

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

[191] Another version of the words is given by Lyell, to whom they were
spoken, viz. "the most illogical book ever written."--_Life and Letters
of Sir C. Lyell_, vol. ii. p. 358.

[192] "On the Zoological Geography of the Malay Archipelago."--_Linn.
Soc. Journ._ 1860.

[193] The late Sir Charles Bunbury, well known as a Paleo-botanist.

[194] By Professor Henslow.

[195] The translator of the first German edition of the _Origin_.

[196] Andrew Ramsay, late Director-General of the Geological Survey.

[197] Joseph Beete Jukes, M.A., F.R.S., born 1811, died 1869. He was
educated at Cambridge, and from 1842 to 1846 he acted as naturalist to
H.M.S. _Fly_, on an exploring expedition in Australia and New Guinea. He
was afterwards appointed Director of the Geological Survey of Ireland.
He was the author of many papers, and of more than one good handbook of

[198] Professor of Geology in the University of Glasgow. Born in the
United States 1809, died 1866.

[199] Searles Valentine Wood, died 1880. Chiefly known for his work on
the Mollusca of the _Crag_.

[200] Dr. G. H. K. Thwaites, F.R.S., was born in 1811, or about that
date, and died in Ceylon, September 11, 1882. He began life as a Notary,
but his passion for Botany and Entomology ultimately led to his taking
to Science as a profession. He became lecturer on Botany at the Bristol
School of Medicine, and in 1849 he was appointed Director of the Botanic
Gardens at Peradeniya, which he made "the most beautiful tropical garden
in the world." He is best known through his important discovery of
conjugation in the Diatomaceæ (1847). His _Enumeratio Plantarum
Zeylaniæ_ (1858-64) was "the first complete account, on modern lines, of
any definitely circumscribed tropical area." (From a notice in _Nature_,
October 26, 1882.)

[201] _Spectator_, March 24, 1860. There were favourable notices of the
Origin by Huxley in the _Westminster Review_, and Carpenter in the
_Medico-Chir. Review_, both in the April numbers.

[202] François Jules Pictet, in the _Archives des Science de la
Bibliothèque Universelle_, Mars 1860.

[203] _Edinburgh Review_, April, 1860.

[204] April 7, 1860.

[205] My father wrote (_Gardeners' Chronicle_, April 21, 1860, p. 362):
"I have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in
the number of your paper dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr.
Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have
offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I
think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any
other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how
briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work
on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my
apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If
another edition of my work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing
effect." In spite of my father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew
remained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the _Saturday
Analyst and Leader_, Nov. 24, 1860, was "scarcely fair in alluding to
Mr. Darwin as the parent of the origin of species, seeing that I
published the whole that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, more than
twenty-nine years ago." It was not until later that he learned that
Matthew had also been forestalled. In October 1865, he wrote Sir J. D.
Hooker:--"Talking of the _Origin_, a Yankee has called my attention to a
paper attached to Dr. Wells' famous _Essay on Dew_, which was read in
1813 to the Royal Soc., but not [then] printed, in which he applies most
distinctly the principle of Natural Selection to the races of Man. So
poor old Patrick Matthew is not the first, and he cannot, or ought not,
any longer to put on his title-pages, 'Discoverer of the principle of
Natural Selection'!"

[206] This refers to a "savage onslaught" on the _Origin_ by Sedgwick at
the Cambridge Philosophical Society. Henslow defended his old pupil, and
maintained that "the subject was a legitimate one for investigation."

[207] "The battle rages furiously in the United States. Gray says he was
preparing a speech, which would take 1½ hours to deliver, and which he
'fondly hoped would be a stunner.' He is fighting splendidly, and there
seem to have been many discussions with Agassiz and others at the
meetings. Agassiz pities me much at being so deluded."--From a letter to
Hooker, May 30th, 1860.

[208] The statement as to authorship was made on the authority of Robert

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

[210] _Man's Place in Nature_, by T. H. Huxley, 1863, p. 114.

[211] See the _Nat. Hist. Review_, 1861.

[212] It was well known that Bishop Wilberforce was going to speak.

[213] _Quarterly Review_, July 1860.

[214] Sir John Lubbock also insisted on the embryological evidence for
evolution.--F. D.

[215] Mr. Fawcett wrote (_Macmillan's Magazine_, 1860):--"The retort was
so justly deserved and so inimitable in its manner, that no one who was
present can ever forget the impression that it made."

[216] This agrees with Professor Victor Carus's recollection.

[217] See Professor Newton's interesting _Early Days of Darwinism in
Macmillan's Magazine_, Feb. 1888, where the battle at Oxford is briefly

[218] _Quarterly Review_, July 1860. The article in question was by
Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and was afterwards published in his
_Essays Contributed to the Quarterly Review_, 1874. In the _Life and
Letters_, ii. p. 182, Mr. Huxley has given some account of this article.
I quote a few lines:--"Since Lord Brougham assailed Dr. Young, the world
has seen no such specimen of the insolence of a shallow pretender to a
Master in Science as this remarkable production, in which one of the
most exact of observers, most cautious of reasoners, and most candid of
expositors, of this or any other age, is held up to scorn as a 'flighty'
person, who endeavours 'to prop up his utterly rotten fabric of guess
and speculation,' and whose 'mode of dealing with nature' is reprobated
as 'utterly dishonourable to Natural Science.'" The passage from the
_Anti-Jacobin_, referred to in the letter, gives the history of the
evolution of space from the "primæval point or _punctum saliens_ of the
universe," which is conceived to have moved "forward in a right line,
_ad infinitum_, till it grew tired; after which the right line, which it
had generated, would begin to put itself in motion in a lateral
direction, describing an area of infinite extent. This area, as soon as
it became conscious of its own existence, would begin to ascend or
descend according as its specific gravity would determine it, forming an
immense solid space filled with vacuum, and capable of containing the
present universe."

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

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

[219] April 10th, 1860. Dr. Gray criticised in detail "several of the
positions taken at the preceding meeting by Mr. [J. A.] Lowell, Prof.
Bowen and Prof. Agassiz." It was reprinted in the _Athenæum_, Aug. 4th,

[220] On Sept. 26th, 1860, he wrote in the same sense to Gray:--"You
never touch the subject without making it clearer. I look at it as even
more extraordinary that you never say a word or use an epithet which
does not express fully my meaning. Now Lyell, Hooker, and others, who
perfectly understand my book, yet sometimes use expressions to which I




The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father engaged on the 3rd edition
(2000 copies) of the _Origin_, which was largely corrected and added to,
and was published in April, 1861.

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

During the Torquay holiday, and for the remainder of the year, he worked
at the fertilisation of orchids. This part of the year 1861 is not dealt
with in the present chapter, because (as explained in the preface) the
record of his life, seems to become clearer when the whole of his
botanical work is placed together and treated separately. The present
chapter will, therefore, include only the progress of his work in the
direction of a general amplification of the _Origin of Species_--_e.g._,
the publication of _Animals and Plants_ and the _Descent of Man_. It
will also give some idea of the growth of belief in evolutionary

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

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

An interesting feature in the new edition was the "Historical Sketch of
the Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species,"[221] which now
appeared for the first time, and was continued in the later editions of
the work. It bears a strong impress of the author's personal character
in the obvious wish to do full justice to all his predecessors,--though
even in this respect it has not escaped some adverse criticism.

A passage in a letter to Hooker (March 27, 1861) gives the history of
one of his corrections.

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

"I am, _my_ dear Hooker, ever yours,

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

He wrote a couple of years later, 1863, to Asa Gray, in a manner which
illustrates his use of the personal pronoun in the earlier editions of
the _Origin_:--

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

He was, at first, alone, and felt himself to be so in maintaining a
rational workable theory of Evolution. It was therefore perfectly
natural that he should speak of "my" theory.

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

A letter, June 23, 1861, gave a pleasant echo from the Continent of the
growth of his views:--

_Hugh Falconer[222] to C. Darwin._ 31 Sackville St., W., June 23, 1861.

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

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

Yours very truly.

My father replied:--

Down [June 24, 1861].

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

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

Yours affectionately and gratefully.

My father, who had the strongest belief in the value of Asa Gray's help,
was anxious that his evolutionary writings should be more widely known
in England. In the autumn of 1860, and the early part of 1861, he had a
good deal of correspondence with him as to the publication, in the form
of a pamphlet, of Gray's three articles in the July, August, and October
numbers of the _Atlantic Monthly_, 1860.

The reader will find these articles republished in Dr. Gray's
_Darwiniana_, p. 87, under the title "Natural Selection not inconsistent
with Natural Theology." The pamphlet found many admirers, and my father
believed that it was of much value in lessening opposition, and making
converts to Evolution. His high opinion of it is shown not only in his
letters, but by the fact that he inserted a special notice of it in a
prominent place in the third edition of the _Origin_. Lyell, among
others, recognised its value as an antidote to the kind of criticism
from which the cause of Evolution suffered. Thus my father wrote to Dr.
Gray: "Just to exemplify the use of your pamphlet, the Bishop of London
was asking Lyell what he thought of the review in the _Quarterly_, and
Lyell answered, 'Read Asa Gray in the _Atlantic_.'"

On the same subject he wrote to Gray in the following year:--

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

The following may serve as an example of the form assumed between these
friends of the animosity at that time so strong between England and

"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.[224] 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."

A question constantly recurring in the letters to Gray is that of
design. For instance:--

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

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

The shape of his nose would perhaps not have been used as an
illustration, if he had remembered Fitz-Roy's objection to that feature
(see _Autobiography_, p. 26). He should, too, have remembered the
difficulty of predicting the value to an organism of an apparently
unimportant character.

In England Professor Huxley was at work in the evolutionary cause. He
gave, in 1862, two lectures at Edinburgh on _Man's Place in Nature_. My
father wrote:--

"I am heartily glad of your success in the North. By Jove, you have
attacked Bigotry in its stronghold. I thought you would have been
mobbed. I am so glad that you will publish your Lectures. You seem to
have kept a due medium between extreme boldness and caution. I am
heartily glad that all went off so well."

A review,[225] by F. W. Hutton, afterwards Professor of Biology and
Geology at Canterbury, N. Z., gave a hopeful note of the time not far
off when a broader view of the argument for Evolution would be accepted.
My father wrote to the author[226]:--

Down, April 20th, 1861.

DEAR SIR,--I hope that you will permit me to thank you for sending me a
copy of your paper in the _Geologist_, and at the same time to express
my opinion that you have done the subject a real service by the highly
original, striking, and condensed manner with which you have put the
case. I am actually weary of telling people that I do not pretend to
adduce direct evidence of one species changing into another, but that I
believe that this view in the main is correct, because so many phenomena
can be thus grouped together and explained.

But it is generally of no use, I cannot make persons see this. I
generally throw in their teeth the universally admitted theory of the
undulations of light--neither the undulations, nor the very existence of
ether being proved--yet admitted because the view explains so much. You
are one of the very few who have seen this, and have now put it most
forcibly and clearly. I am much pleased to see how carefully you have
read my book, and what is far more important, reflected on so many
points with an independent spirit. As I am deeply interested in the
subject (and I hope not exclusively under a personal point of view) I
could not resist venturing to thank you for the right good service which
you have done. Pray believe me, dear sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged.

It was a still more hopeful sign that work of the first rank in value,
conceived on evolutionary principles, began to be published.

My father expressed this idea in a letter to the late Mr. Bates.[227]

"Under a general point of view, I am quite convinced (Hooker and Huxley
took the same view some months ago) that a philosophic view of nature
can solely be driven into naturalists by treating special subjects as
you have done."

This refers to Mr. Bates' celebrated paper on mimicry, with which the
following letter deals:--

Down Nov. 20 [1862].

DEAR BATES,--I have just finished, after several reads, your paper.[228]
In my opinion it is one of the most remarkable and admirable papers I
ever read in my life. The mimetic cases are truly marvellous, and you
connect excellently a host of analogous facts. The illustrations are
beautiful, and seem very well chosen; but it would have saved the reader
not a little trouble, if the name of each had been engraved below each
separate figure. No doubt this would have put the engraver into fits, as
it would have destroyed the beauty of the plate. I am not at all
surprised at such a paper having consumed much time. I am rejoiced that
I passed over the whole subject in the _Origin_, for I should have made
a precious mess of it. You have most clearly stated and solved a
wonderful problem. No doubt with most people this will be the cream of
the paper; but I am not sure that all your facts and reasonings on
variation, and on the segregation of complete and semi-complete species,
is not really more, or at least as valuable a part. I never conceived
the process nearly so clearly before; one feels present at the creation
of new forms. I wish, however, you had enlarged a little more on the
pairing of similar varieties; a rather more numerous body of facts seems
here wanted. Then, again, what a host of curious miscellaneous
observations there are--as on related sexual and individual variability:
these will some day, if I live, be a treasure to me.

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

I have one serious criticism to make, and that is about the title of the
paper; I cannot but think that you ought to have called prominent
attention in it to the mimetic resemblances. Your paper is too good to
be largely appreciated by the mob of naturalists without souls; but,
rely on it, that it will have _lasting_ value, and I cordially
congratulate you on your first great work. You will find, I should
think, that Wallace will 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.


Although the battle[229] of Evolution was not yet won, the growth of
belief was undoubtedly rapid. So that, for instance, Charles Kingsley
could write to F. D. Maurice[230]:

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

The change did not proceed without a certain amount of personal
bitterness. My father wrote in February, 1863:--

"What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this quarrelling
within what ought to be the peaceful realms of science."

I do not desire to keep alive the memories of dead quarrels, but some of
the burning questions of that day are too important from the
biographical point of view to be altogether omitted. Of this sort is the
history of Lyell's conversion to Evolution. It led to no flaw in the
friendship of the two men principally concerned, but it shook and
irritated a number of smaller people. Lyell was like the Mississippi in
flood, and as he changed his course, the dwellers on the banks were
angered and frightened by the general upsetting of landmarks.

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Down, Feb. 24 [1863].

MY DEAR HOOKER,--I am astonished at your note. I have not seen the
_Athenæum_,[231] but I have sent for it, and may get it to-morrow; and
will then say what I think.

I have read Lyell's book. [_The Antiquity of Man._] The whole certainly
struck me as a compilation, but of the highest class, for when possible
the facts have been verified on the spot, making it almost an original
work. The Glacial chapters seem to me best, and in parts magnificent. I
could hardly judge about Man, as all the gloss and novelty was
completely worn off. But certainly the aggregation of the evidence
produced a very striking effect on my mind. The chapter comparing
language and changes of species, seems most ingenious and interesting.
He has shown great skill in picking out salient points in the argument
for change of species; but I am deeply disappointed (I do not mean
personally) to find that his timidity prevents him giving any
judgment.... From all my communications with him, I must ever think that
he has really entirely lost faith in the immutability of species; and
yet one of his strongest sentences is nearly as follows; "If it should
_ever_[232] be rendered highly probable that species change by variation
and natural selection," &c. &c. I had hoped he would have guided the
public as far as his own belief went.... One thing does please me on
this subject, that he seems to appreciate your work. No doubt the public
or a part may be induced to think that, as he gives to us a larger space
than to Lamarck, he must think that there is something in our views.
When reading the brain chapter, it struck me forcibly that if he had
said openly that he believed in change of species, and as a consequence
that man was derived from some Quadrumanous animal, it would have been
very proper to have discussed by compilation the differences in the most
important organ, viz. the brain. As it is, the chapter seems to me to
come in rather by the head and shoulders. I do not think (but then I am
as prejudiced as Falconer and Huxley, or more so) that it is too severe;
it struck me as given with judicial force. It might perhaps be said with
truth that he had no business to judge on a subject on which he knows
nothing; but compilers must do this to a certain extent. (You know I
value and rank high compilers, being one myself!)

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 discussed the subject of
species, and said that I thought he would do more to convert the public
than all of us, and now (which makes the case worse for me) I must, in
common honesty, retract. I wish to Heaven he had said not a word on the

_C. D. to C. Lyell_. Down, March 6 [1863].

... I have been of course deeply interested by your book.[233] I have
hardly any remarks worth sending, but will scribble a little on what
most interested me. But I will first get out what I hate saying, viz.
that I have been greatly disappointed that you have not given judgment
and spoken fairly out what you think about the derivation of species. I
should have been contented if you had boldly said that species have not
been separately created, and had thrown as much doubt as you like on how
far variation and natural selection suffices. I hope to Heaven I am
wrong (and from what you say about Whewell it seems so), but I cannot
see how your chapters can do more good than an extraordinary able
review. I think the _Parthenon_ is right, that you will leave the public
in a fog. No doubt they may infer that as you give more space to myself,
Wallace, and Hooker, than to Lamarck, you think more of us. But I had
always thought that your judgment would have been an epoch in the
subject. All that is over with me, and I will only think on the
admirable skill with which you have selected the striking points, and
explained them. No praise can be too strong, in my opinion, for the
inimitable chapter on language in comparison with species....

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

Ever yours.

A letter from Lyell to Hooker (Mar. 9, 1863), published in Lyell's
_Life and Letters_, vol. ii. p. 361, shows what was his feeling at the

"He [Darwin] seems much disappointed that I do not go farther with him,
or do not speak out more. I can only say that I have spoken out to the
full extent of my present convictions, and even beyond my state of
_feeling_ as to man's unbroken descent from the brutes, and I find I am
half converting not a few who were in arms against Darwin, and are even
now against Huxley." Lyell speaks, too, of having had to abandon "old
and long cherished ideas, which constituted the charm to me of the
theoretical part of the science in my earlier days, when I believed with
Pascal in the theory, as Hallam terms it, of 'the archangel ruined.'"

_C. D. to C. Lyell_. Down, 12th [March, 1863].

MY DEAR LYELL,--I thank you for your very interesting and kind, I may
say, charming letter. I feared you might be huffed for a little time
with me. I know some men would have been so.... As you say that you have
gone as far as you believe on the species question, I have not a word to
say; but I must feel convinced that at times, judging from conversation,
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 "Mr. D.
labours to show," "is believed by the author to throw light," would lead
a common reader to think that you yourself do _not_ at all agree, but
merely think it fair to give my opinion. Lastly, you refer repeatedly to
my view as a modification of Lamarck's doctrine of development and
progression. If this is your deliberate opinion there is nothing to be
said, but it does not seem so to me. Plato, Buffon, my grandfather
before Lamarck, and others, propounded the _obvious_ view that if
species were not created separately they must have descended from other
species, and I can see nothing else in common between the _Origin_ and
Lamarck. I believe this way of putting the case is very injurious to its
acceptance, as it implies necessary 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

I am very sorry to hear about Falconer's "reclamation."[234] I hate the
very word, and have a sincere affection for him.

Did you ever read anything so wretched as the _Athenæum_ reviews of you,
and of Huxley[235] especially. Your _object_ to make man old, and
Huxley's _object_ to degrade him. The wretched writer has not a glimpse
of what the discovery of scientific truth means. How splendid some pages
are in Huxley, but I fear the book will not be popular....

In the _Athenæum_, Mar. 28, 1862, p. 417, appeared a notice of Dr.
Carpenter's book on 'Foraminifera,' which led to more skirmishing in the
same journal. The article was remarkable for upholding spontaneous

My father wrote, Mar. 29, 1863:--

"Many thanks for _Athenæum_, received this morning, and to be returned
to-morrow morning. Who would have ever thought of the old stupid
_Athenæum_ taking to Oken-like transcendental philosophy written in
Owenian style!

"It will be some time before we see 'slime, protoplasm, &c.' generating
a new animal. But I have long regretted that I truckled to public
opinion, and used the Pentateuchal term of creation,[236] 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."

The _Athenæum_ continued to be a scientific battle-ground. On April 4,
1863, Falconer wrote a severe article on Lyell. And my father wrote
(_Athenæum_, 1863, p. 554), under the cloak of attacking spontaneous
generation, to defend Evolution. In reply, an article appeared in the
same Journal (May 2nd, 1863, p. 586), accusing my father of claiming for
his views the exclusive merit of "connecting by an intelligible thread
of reasoning" a number of facts in morphology, &c. The writer remarks
that, "The different generalisations cited by Mr. Darwin as being
connected by an intelligible thread of 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 as follows in the _Athenæum_ of May 9th,

Down, May 5 [1863].

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


In the following, he refers to the above letter to the _Athenæum_:--

_C. D. to J. D. Hooker._ Saturday [May 11, 1863].

MY DEAR HOOKER,--You give good advice about not writing in newspapers; I
have been gnashing my teeth at my own 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_;[237] it is capital; if there is
more, and you have a copy, do lend it. It shows well that a scientific
man had better be trampled in dirt than squabble.

In the following year (1864) he received the greatest honour which a
scientific man can receive in this country, the Copley Medal of the
Royal Society. It is presented at the Anniversary Meeting on St.
Andrew's Day (Nov. 30), the medallist being usually present to receive
it, but this the state of my father's health prevented. He wrote to Mr.

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

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

Lyell's acceptance of Evolution was made public in the tenth edition of
the _Principles_, published in 1867 and 1868. It was a sign of
improvement, "a great triumph," as my father called it, that an
evolutionary article by Wallace, dealing with Lyell's book, should have
appeared in the _Quarterly Review_ (April, 1869). Mr. Wallace wrote:--

"The history of science hardly presents so striking an instance of
youthfulness of mind in advanced life as is shown by this abandonment of
opinions so long held and so powerfully advocated; and if we bear in
mind the extreme caution, combined with the ardent love of truth which
characterise every work which our author has produced, we shall be
convinced that so great a change was not decided on without long and
anxious deliberation, and that the views now adopted must indeed be
supported by arguments of overwhelming force. If for no other reason
than that Sir Charles Lyell in his tenth edition has adopted it, the
theory of Mr. Darwin deserves an attentive and respectful consideration
from every earnest seeker after truth."

The incident of the Copley Medal is interesting as giving an index of
the state of the scientific mind at the time.

My father wrote: "some of the old members of the Royal are quite shocked
at my having the Copley." In the _Reader_, December 3, 1864, General
Sabine's presidential address at the Anniversary Meeting is reported at
some length. Special weight was laid on my father's work in Geology,
Zoology, and Botany, but the _Origin of Species_ was praised chiefly as
containing a "mass of observations," &c. It is curious that as in the
case of his election to the French Institute, so in this case, he was
honoured not for the great work of his life, but for his less important
work in special lines.

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

My father spoke justly when he said that the subject was "safe in
foreign lands." In telling Lyell of the progress of opinion, he wrote
(March, 1863):--

"A first-rate German naturalist[238] (I now forget the name!), who has
lately published a grand folio, has spoken out to the utmost extent on
the _Origin_. De Candolle, in a very good paper on 'Oaks,' goes, in Asa
Gray's opinion, as far as he himself does; but De Candolle, in writing
to me, says _we_, 'we think this and that;' so that I infer he really
goes to the full extent with me, and tells me of a French good botanical
palæontologist[239] (name forgotten), who writes to De Candolle that he
is sure that my views will ultimately prevail. But I did not intend to
have written all this. It satisfies me with the final results, but this
result, I begin to see, will take two or three life-times. The
entomologists are enough to keep the subject back for half a century."

The official attitude of French science was not very hopeful. The
Secrétaire Perpétuel of the Académie published an _Examen du livre de M.
Darwin_, on which my father remarks:--

"A great gun, Flourens, has written a little dull book[240] against me,
which pleases me much, for it is plain that our good work is spreading
in France."

Mr. Huxley, who reviewed the book,[241] quotes the following passage
from Flourens:--

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

The deterrent effect of the Académie on the spread of Evolution in
France has been most striking. Even at the present day a member of the
Institute does not feel quite happy in owning to a belief in Darwinism.
We may indeed be thankful that we are "devoid of such a blessing."

Among the Germans, he was fast gaining supporters. In 1865 he began a
correspondence with the distinguished Naturalist, Fritz Müller, then, as
now, resident in Brazil. They never met, but the correspondence with
Müller, 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 Müller was the one for whom he had the strongest regard.
Fritz Müller is the brother of another distinguished man, the late
Hermann Müller, the author of _Die Befruchtung der Blumen_ (The
Fertilisation of Flowers), and of much other valuable work.

The occasion of writing to Fritz Müller was the latter's book, _Für
Darwin_, which was afterwards translated by Mr. Dallas at my father's
suggestion, under the title _Facts and Arguments for Darwin_.

Shortly afterwards, in 1866, began his connection with Professor Victor
Carus, of Leipzig, who undertook the translation of the 4th edition of
the _Origin_. 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
shortcomings) with which my father used to receive the lists of
oversights, &c., which Professor Carus discovered in the course of
translation. The connection was not a mere business one, but was
cemented by warm feelings of regard on both sides.

About this time, too, he came in contact with Professor Ernst Haeckel,
whose influence on German science has been so powerful.

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

Dr. E. Krause[242] has given a good account of Professor Haeckel's
services in the cause of Evolution. After speaking of the lukewarm
reception which the _Origin_ met with in Germany on its first
publication, he goes on to describe the first adherents of the new faith
as more or less popular writers, not especially likely to advance its
acceptance with the professorial or purely scientific world. And he
claims for Haeckel that it was his advocacy of Evolution in his
_Radiolaria_ (1862), and at the "Versammlung" of Naturalists at Stettin
in 1863, that placed the Darwinian question for the first time publicly
before the forum of German science, and his enthusiastic propagandism
that chiefly contributed to its success.

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

Again, in his _Evolution in Biology_,[243] Mr. Huxley wrote: "Whatever
hesitation may not unfrequently be felt by less daring minds, in
following Haeckel in many of his speculations, his attempt to
systematise the doctrine of Evolution and to exhibit its influence as
the central thought of modern biology, cannot fail to have a
far-reaching influence on the progress of science."

In the following letter my father alludes to the somewhat fierce manner
in which Professor Haeckel fought the battle of 'Darwinismus,' and on
this subject Dr. Krause has some good remarks (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 "concentrated on himself by
his _Ursprung des Menschen-Geschlechts_, his _Generelle Morphologie_,
and _Schöpfungs-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

_C. D. 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
advancing too strongly objections against my own views, some of my
English friends think that I have erred on this side; but truth
compelled me to write what I did, and I am inclined to think it was good
policy. The belief in the descent theory is slowly spreading in
England,[244] even amongst those who can give no reason for their
belief. No body of men were at first so much opposed to my views as the
members of the London Entomological Society, but now I am assured that,
with the exception of two or three old men, all the members concur with
me to a certain extent. It has been a great disappointment to me that I
have never received your long letter written to me from the Canary
Islands. I am rejoiced to hear that your tour, which seems to have been
a most interesting one, has done your health much good.

... I am 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.

I place here an extract from a letter of later date (Nov. 1868), which
refers to one of Haeckel's later works.[245]

"Your chapters on the affinities and genealogy of the animal kingdom
strike me as admirable and full of original thought. Your boldness,
however, sometimes makes me tremble, but as Huxley remarked, some one
must be bold enough to make a beginning in drawing up tables of descent.
Although you fully admit the imperfection of the geological record, yet
Huxley agreed with me in thinking that you are sometimes rather rash in
venturing to say at what periods the several groups first appeared. I
have this advantage over you, that I remember how wonderfully different
any statement on this subject made 20 years ago, would have been to what
would now be the case, and I expect the next 20 years will make quite as
great a difference."

The following extract from a letter to Professor W. Preyer, a well-known
physiologist, shows that he estimated at its true value the help he was
to receive from the scientific workers of Germany:--

March 31, 1868.

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

I must now pass on to the publication, in 1868, of his book on _The
Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication_. It was begun two
days after the appearance of the second edition of the _Origin_, on Jan.
9, 1860, and it may, I think, be reckoned that about half of the eight
years that elapsed between its commencement and completion was spent on
it. The book did not escape adverse criticism: it was said, for
instance, that the public had been patiently waiting for Mr. Darwin's
_pièces justicatives_, and that after eight years of expectation, all
they got was a mass of detail about pigeons, rabbits and silk-worms. But
the true critics welcomed it as an expansion with unrivalled wealth of
illustration of a section of the _Origin_. Variation under the influence
of man was the only subject (except the question of man's origin) which
he was able to deal with in detail so as to utilise his full stores of
knowledge. When we remember how important for his argument is a
knowledge of the action of artificial selection, we may well rejoice
that this subject was chosen by him for amplification.

In 1864, he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker:

"I have begun looking over my old MS., and it is as fresh as if I had
never written it; parts are astonishingly dull, but yet worth printing,
I think; and other parts strike me as very good. I am a complete
millionaire in odd and curious little facts, and I have been really
astounded at my own industry whilst reading my chapters on Inheritance
and Selection. God knows when the book will ever be completed, for I
find that I am very weak, and on my best days cannot do more than one or
one and a half hours' work. It is a good deal harder than writing about
my dear climbing plants."

In Aug. 1867, when Lyell was reading the proofs of the book, my father

"I thank you cordially for your last two letters. The former one did me
_real_ good, for I had got so wearied with the subject that I could
hardly bear to correct the proofs, and you gave me fresh heart. I
remember thinking that when you came to the Pigeon chapter you would
pass it over as quite unreadable. I have been particularly pleased that
you have noticed Pangenesis. I do not know whether you ever had the
feeling of having thought so much over a subject that you had lost all
power of judging it. This is my case with Pangenesis (which is 26 or 27
years old), but I am inclined to think that if it be admitted as a
probable hypothesis it will be a somewhat important step in Biology."

His theory of Pangenesis, by which he attempted to explain "how the
characters of the parents are 'photographed' on the child, by means of
material atoms derived from each cell in both parents, and developed in
the child," has never met with much acceptance. Nevertheless, some of
his contemporaries felt with him about it. Thus in February 1868, he
wrote to Hooker:--

"I heard yesterday from Wallace, who says (excuse horrid vanity), 'I can
hardly tell you how much I admire the chapter on _Pangenesis_. It is a
_positive comfort_ to me to have any feasible explanation of a
difficulty that has always been haunting me, and I shall never be able
to give it up till a better one supplies its place, and that I think
hardly possible.' Now his foregoing [italicised] words express my
sentiments exactly and fully: though perhaps I feel the relief extra
strongly from having during many years vainly attempted to form some
hypothesis. When you or Huxley say that a single cell of a plant, or the
stump of an amputated limb, has the 'potentiality' of reproducing the
whole--or 'diffuses an influence,' these words give me no positive
idea;--but, when it is said that the cells of a plant, or stump, include
atoms derived from every other cell of the whole organism and capable of
development, I gain a distinct idea."

Immediately after the publication of the book, he wrote:

Down, February 10 [1868].

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

Your cock-a-hoop friend,
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 passages:--

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

And again in the third notice, Feb. 17:--

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

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

The following extract from a letter (Feb. 1870) to his friend Professor
Newton, the well-known ornithologist, shows how much he valued the
appreciation of his colleagues.

"I suppose it would be universally held extremely wrong for a defendant
to write to a Judge to express his satisfaction at a judgment in his
favour; and yet I am going thus to act. I have just read what you have
said in the 'Record'[246] about my pigeon chapters, and it has gratified
me beyond measure. I have sometimes felt a little disappointed that the
labour of so many years seemed to be almost thrown away, for you are the
first man capable of forming a judgment (excepting partly Quatrefages),
who seems to have thought anything of this part of my work. The amount
of labour, correspondence, and care, which the subject cost me, is more
than you could well suppose. I thought the article in the _Athenæum_ was
very unjust; but now I feel amply repaid, and I cordially thank you for
your sympathy and too warm praise."


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

It is remarkable that only four years before this date, namely in 1864,
he had given up hope of being able to work out this subject. He wrote to
Mr. Wallace:--

"I have collected a few notes on man, but I do not suppose that I shall
ever use them. Do you intend to follow out your views, and if so, would
you like at some future time to have my few references and notes? I am
sure I hardly know whether they are of any value, and they are at
present in a state of chaos. There is much more that I should like to
write, but I have not strength." But this was at a period of ill-health;
not long before, in 1863, he had written in the same depressed tone
about his future work generally:--

"I have been so steadily going downhill, I cannot help doubting whether
I can ever crawl a little uphill again. Unless I can, enough to work a
little, I hope my life may be very short, for to lie on a sofa all day
and do nothing but give trouble to the best and kindest of wives and
good dear children is dreadful."

The "Chapter on Man," which afterwards grew into the _Descent of Man_,
was interrupted by the necessity of correcting the proofs of _Animals
and Plants_, and by some botanical work, but was resumed with
unremitting industry on the first available day in the following year.
He could not rest, and he recognised with regret the gradual change in
his mind that rendered continuous work more and more necessary to him as
he grew older. This is expressed in a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker, June
17, 1868, which repeats to some extent what is given in the

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

_The Descent of Man_ (and this is indicated on its title-page) consists
of two separate books, namely on the pedigree of mankind, and on sexual
selection in the animal kingdom generally. In studying this latter part
of the subject he had to take into consideration the whole subject of
colour. I give the two following characteristic letters, in which the
reader is as it were present at the birth of a theory.

_C. D. 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
caterpillars sometimes so beautifully and artistically coloured? Seeing
that many are coloured to escape danger, I can hardly attribute their
bright colour in other cases to mere physical conditions. Bates says the
most gaudy caterpillar he ever saw in Amazonia (of a sphinx) was
conspicuous at the distance of yards, from its black and red colours,
whilst feeding on large green leaves. If any one objected to male
butterflies having been made beautiful by sexual selection, and asked
why should they not have been made beautiful as well as their
caterpillars, what would you answer? I could not answer, but should
maintain my ground. Will you think over this, and some time, either by
letter or when we meet, tell me what you think?...

He seems to have received an explanation by return of post, for a day or
two afterwards he could write to Wallace:--

"Bates was quite right; you are the man to apply to in a difficulty. I
never heard anything more ingenious than your suggestion, and I hope you
may be able to prove it true. That is a splendid fact about the white
moths; it warms one's very blood to see a theory thus almost proved to
be true."

Mr. Wallace's suggestion was that conspicuous caterpillars or perfect
insects (_e.g._ white butterflies), which are distasteful to birds,
benefit by being promptly recognised and therefore easily avoided.[247]

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

"By the way, there is another subject which I shall introduce in my
essay, namely, expression of countenance. Now, do you happen to know by
any odd chance a very good-natured and acute observer in the Malay
Archipelago, who you think would make a few easy observations for me on
the expression of the Malays when excited by various emotions?"

The reference to the subject of expression in the above letter is
explained by the fact, that my father's original intention was to give
his essay on this subject as a chapter in the _Descent of Man_, which in
its turn grew, as we have seen, out of a proposed chapter in _Animals
and Plants_.

He got much valuable help from Dr. Günther, of the Natural History
Museum, to whom he wrote in May 1870:--

"As I crawl on with the successive classes I am astonished to find how
similar the rules are about the nuptial or 'wedding 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."

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 published, I will send
you a copy, but I do not know that you will care about it. Parts, as on
the moral sense, will, I dare say, aggravate you, and if I hear from
you, I shall probably receive a few stabs from your polished stiletto of
a pen."

The book was published on February 24, 1871. 2500 copies were printed at
first, and 6000 more before the end of the year. My father notes that he
received for this edition £1470.

Nothing can give a better idea (in a small compass) of the growth of
Evolutionism, and its position at this time, than a quotation from Mr.

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

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

In Mr. James Hague's pleasantly written article, "A Reminiscence of Mr.
Darwin" (_Harper's Magazine_, October 1884), he describes a visit to my
father "early in 1871," shortly after the publication of the _Descent of
Man_. Mr. Hague represents my father as "much impressed by the general
assent with which his views had been received," and as remarking that
"everybody is talking about it without being shocked."

Later in the year the reception of the book is described in different
language in the _Edinburgh Review_: "On every side it is raising a storm
of mingled wrath, wonder and admiration."

Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to write to my father about
the _Descent of Man_. I quote from Darwin's reply:--

"I must send you a few words to thank you for your interesting, and I
may truly say, charming letter. I am delighted that you approve of my
book, as far as you have read it. I felt very great difficulty and doubt
how often I ought to allude to what you have published; strictly
speaking every idea, although occurring independently to me, if
published by you previously ought to have appeared as if taken from your
works, but this would have made my book very dull reading; and I hoped
that a full acknowledgment at the beginning would suffice.[249] I cannot
tell you how glad I am to find that I have expressed my high admiration
of your labours with sufficient clearness; I am sure that I have not
expressed it too strongly."

In March he wrote to Professor Ray Lankester:--

"I think you will be glad to hear, as a proof of the increasing
liberality of England, that my book has sold wonderfully ... and as yet
no abuse (though some, no doubt, will come, strong enough), and only
contempt even in the poor old _Athenæum_."

About the same time he wrote to Mr. Murray:--

"Many thanks for the _Nonconformist_ [March 8, 1871]. I like to see all
that is written, and it is of some real use. If you hear of reviewers in
out-of-the-way papers, especially the religious, as _Record_,
_Guardian_, _Tablet_, kindly inform me. It is wonderful that there has
been no abuse as yet. On the whole, the reviews have been highly

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Murray (April 13, 1871)
refers to a review in the _Times_[250]:--

"I have no idea who wrote the _Times'_ review. He has no knowledge of
science, and seems to me a wind-bag full of metaphysics and classics, so
that I do not much regard his adverse judgment, though I suppose it will
injure the sale."

A striking review appeared in the _Saturday Review_ (March 4 and 11,
1871) in which the position of Evolution is well stated.

"He claims to have brought man himself, his origin and constitution,
within that unity which he had previously sought to trace through all
lower animal forms. The growth of opinion in the interval, due in chief
measure to his own intermediate works, has placed the discussion of this
problem in a position very much in advance of that held by it fifteen
years ago. The problem of Evolution is hardly any longer to be treated
as one of first principles: nor has Mr. Darwin to do battle for a first
hearing of his central hypothesis, upborne as it is by a phalanx of
names full of distinction and promise in either hemisphere."

We must now return to the history of the general principle of Evolution.
At the beginning of 1869[251] he was at work on the fifth edition of
the _Origin_. The most important alterations were suggested by a
remarkable paper in the _North British Review_ (June, 1867) written by
the late Fleeming Jenkin.

It is not a little remarkable that the criticisms, which my father, as I
believe, felt to be the most valuable ever made on his views should have
come, not from a professed naturalist but from a Professor of

The point on which Fleeming Jenkin convinced my father is the extreme
difficulty of believing that _single individuals_ which differ from
their fellows in the possession of some useful character can be the
starting point of a new variety. Thus the origin of a new variety is
more likely to be found in a species which presents the incipient
character in a large number of its individuals. This point of view was
of course perfectly familiar to him, it was this that induced him to
study "unconscious selection," where a breed is formed by the
long-continued preservation by Man of all those individuals which are
best adapted to his needs: not as in the art of the professed breeder,
where a single individual is picked out to breed from.

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

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

In the fifth edition of the _Origin_, my father altered a passage in the
Historical Sketch (fourth edition, p. xviii.). He thus practically gave
up the difficult task of understanding whether or not Sir R. Owen claims
to have discovered the principle of Natural Selection. Adding, "As far
as the more 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.

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

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

"I must enjoy myself and tell you about Mdlle. C. Royer, who translated
the _Origin_ into French, and for whose second edition I took infinite
trouble. She has now just brought out a third edition without informing
me, so that all the corrections, &c., in the fourth and fifth English
editions are lost. Besides her enormously long preface to the first
edition, she has added a second preface abusing me like a pickpocket for
Pangenesis, which of course has no relation to the _Origin_. So I wrote
to Paris; and Reinwald agrees to bring out at once a new 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."

It will be well perhaps to place here all that remains to be said about
the _Origin of Species_. The sixth or final edition was published in
January 1872 in a smaller and cheaper form than its predecessors. The
chief addition was a discussion suggested by Mr. Mivart's _Genesis of
Species_, which appeared in 1871, before the publication of the _Descent
of Man_. The following quotation from a letter to Wallace (July 9, 1871)
may serve to show the spirit and method in which Mr. Mivart dealt with
the subject. "I grieve to see the omission of the words by Mivart,
detected by Wright.[252] 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."

My father continues, with his usual charity and moderation:--

"I conclude with sorrow that though he means to be honourable, he is so
bigoted that he cannot act fairly."

In July 1871, my father wrote to Mr. Wallace:--

"I feel very doubtful how far I shall succeed in answering Mivart, it is
so difficult to answer objections to doubtful points, and make the
discussion readable. I shall make only a selection. The worst of it is,
that I cannot possibly hunt through all my references for isolated
points, it would take me three weeks of intolerably hard work. I wish I
had your power of arguing clearly. At present I feel sick of everything,
and if I could occupy my time and forget my daily discomforts, or rather
miseries, I would never publish another word. But I shall cheer up, I
dare say, soon, having only just got over a bad attack. Farewell; God
knows why I bother you about myself. I can say nothing more about
missing-links than what I have said. I should rely much on pre-silurian
times; but then comes Sir W. Thomson like an odious spectre.[253]

" ... There is a most cutting review of me in the [July] _Quarterly_; I
have only read a few pages. The skill and style make me think of Mivart.
I shall soon be viewed as the most despicable of men. This _Quarterly
Review_ tempts me to republish Ch. Wright,[254] even if not read by any
one, just to show some one will say a word against Mivart, and that his
(_i.e._ Mivart's) remarks ought not to be swallowed without some
reflection.... God knows whether my strength and spirit will last out to
write a chapter versus Mivart and others; I do so hate controversy and
feel I shall do it so badly."

The _Quarterly_ review was the subject of an article by Mr. Huxley in
the November number of the _Contemporary Review_. Here, also, are
discussed Mr. Wallace's _Contribution to the Theory of Natural
Selection_, and the second edition of Mr. Mivart's _Genesis of
Species_. What follows is taken from Mr. Huxley's article. The
_Quarterly_ reviewer, though to some extent an evolutionist, believes
that Man "differs more from an elephant or a gorilla, than do these from
the dust of the earth on which they tread." The reviewer also declares
that Darwin 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 harmonize with all that modern science can possibly require."
Here Mr. Huxley felt the want of that "study of Christian philosophy"
(at any rate, in its Jesuitic garb), which Mr. Mivart speaks of, and it
was a want he at once set to work to fill up. He was then staying at St.
Andrews, whence he wrote to my father:--

"By great good luck there is an excellent library here, with a good copy
of Suarez,[255] in a dozen big folios. Among these I dived, to the great
astonishment of the librarian, and looking into them 'as careful robins
eye the delver's toil' (_vide Idylls_), I carried off the two venerable
clasped volumes which were most promising." Even those who know Mr.
Huxley's unrivalled power of tearing the heart out of a book must marvel
at the skill with which he has made Suarez speak on his side. "So I have
come out," he wrote, "in the new character of a defender of Catholic
orthodoxy, and upset Mivart out of the mouth of his own prophet."

The remainder of Mr. Huxley's critique is largely occupied with a
dissection of the _Quarterly_ reviewer's psychology, and his ethical
views. He deals, too, with Mr. Wallace's objections to the doctrine of
Evolution by natural causes when applied to the mental faculties of Man.
Finally, he devotes a couple of pages to justifying his description of
the _Quarterly_ reviewer's treatment of Mr. Darwin as alike "unjust and

In the sixth edition my father also referred to the "direct action of
the conditions of life" as a subordinate cause of modification in living
things: On this subject he wrote to Dr. Moritz Wagner (Oct. 13, 1876):
"In my opinion the greatest error which I have committed, has been not
allowing sufficient weight to the direct action of the environment,
_i.e._ food, climate, &c., independently of natural selection.
Modifications thus caused, which are neither of advantage nor
disadvantage to the modified organism, would be especially favoured, as
I can now see chiefly through your observations, by isolation, in a
small area, where only a few individuals lived under nearly uniform

It has been supposed that such statements indicate a serious change of
front on my father's part. As a matter of fact the first edition of the
_Origin_ contains the words, "I am convinced that natural selection has
been the main but not the exclusive means of modification." Moreover,
any alteration that his views may have undergone was due not to a change
of opinion, but to change in the materials on which a judgment was to be
formed. Thus he wrote to Wagner in the above quoted letter:--

"When I wrote the _Origin_, and for some years afterwards, I could find
little good evidence of the direct action of the environment; now there
is a large body of evidence."

With the possibility of such action of the environment he had of course
been familiar for many years. Thus he wrote to Mr. Davidson in 1861:--

"My greatest trouble is, not being able to weigh the direct effects of
the long-continued action of changed conditions of life without any
selection, with the action of selection on mere accidental (so to speak)
variability. I oscillate much on this head, but generally return to my
belief that the direct action of the conditions of life has not been
great. At least this direct action can have played an extremely small
part in producing all the numberless and beautiful adaptations in every
living creature."

And to Sir Joseph Hooker in the following year:--

"I hardly know why I am a little sorry, but my present work is leading
me to believe rather more in the direct action of physical conditions. I
presume I regret it, because it 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

Reference has already been made to the growth of his book on the
_Expression of the Emotions_ out of a projected chapter in the _Descent
of Man_.

It was published in the autumn of 1872. The edition consisted of 7000,
and of these 5267 copies were sold at Mr. Murray's sale in November. Two
thousand were printed at the end of the year, and this proved a
misfortune, as they did not afterwards sell so rapidly, and thus a mass
of notes collected by the author was never employed for a second edition
during his lifetime.[257]

As usual he had no belief in the possibility of the book being generally
successful. The following passage in a letter to Haeckel serves to show
that he had felt the writing of this book as a somewhat severe strain:--

"I have finished my little book on Expression, and when it is published
in November I will of course send you a copy, in case you would like to
read it for amusement. I have resumed some old botanical work, and
perhaps I shall never again attempt to discuss theoretical views.

"I am growing old and weak, and no man can tell when his intellectual
powers begin to fail. Long life and happiness to you for your own sake
and for that of science."

A good review by Mr. Wallace appeared in the _Quarterly Journal of
Science_, Jan. 1873. Mr. Wallace truly remarks that the book exhibits
certain "characteristics of the author's mind in an eminent degree,"
namely, "the insatiable longing to discover the causes of the varied and
complex phenomena presented by living things." He adds that in the case
of the author "the restless curiosity of the child to know the 'what
for?' the 'why?' and the 'how?' of everything" seems "never to have
abated its force."

The publication of the Expression book was the occasion of the following
letter to one of his oldest friends, the late Mrs. Haliburton, who was
the daughter of a Shropshire neighbour, Mr. Owen of Woodhouse, and
became the wife of the author of _Sam Slick_.

Nov. 1, 1872.

MY DEAR MRS. HALIBURTON,--I dare say you will be surprised to hear from
me. My object in writing now is to say that I have just published a
book on the _Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals_; and it has
occurred to me that you might possibly like to read some parts of it;
and I can hardly think that this would have been the case with any of
the books which I have already published. So I send by this post my
present book. Although I have had no communication with you or the other
members of your family for so long a time, no scenes in my whole life
pass so frequently or so vividly before my mind as those which relate to
happy old days spent at Woodhouse. I should very much like to hear a
little news about yourself and the other members of your family, if you
will take the trouble to write to me. Formerly I used to glean some news
about you from my sisters.

I have had many years of bad health and have not been able to visit
anywhere; and now I feel very old. As long as I pass a perfectly uniform
life, I am able to do some daily work in Natural History, which is still
my passion, as it was in old days, when you used to laugh at me for
collecting beetles with such zeal at Woodhouse. Excepting from my
continued ill-health, which has excluded me from society, my life has
been a very happy one; the greatest drawback being that several of my
children have inherited from me feeble health. I hope with all my heart
that you retain, at least to a large extent, the famous "Owen
constitution." With sincere feelings of gratitude and affection for all
bearing the name of Owen, I venture to sign myself,

Yours affectionately.


[221] The Historical Sketch had already appeared in the first German
edition (1860) and the American edition. Bronn states in the German
edition (footnote, p. 1) that it was his critique in the _N. Jahrbuch
für Mineralogie_ that suggested to my father the idea of such a sketch.

[222] Hugh Falconer, born 1809, died 1865. Chiefly known as a
palæontologist, although employed as a botanist during his whole career
in India, where he was a medical officer in the H.E.I.C. Service.

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

[224] This refers to the remarkable fact that many introduced European
weeds have spread over large parts of the United States.

[225] _Geologist_, 1861, p. 132.

[226] The letter is published in a lecture by Professor Hutton given
before the Philosoph. Institute, Canterbury, N.Z., Sept 12th, 1887.

[227] Mr. Bates is perhaps most widely known through his delightful _The
Naturalist on the Amazons_. It was with regard to this book that my
father wrote (April 1863) to the author:--"I have finished vol. i. My
criticisms may be condensed into a single sentence, namely, that it is
the best work of Natural History Travels ever published in England. Your
style seems to me admirable. Nothing can be better than the discussion
on the struggle for existence, and nothing better than the description
of the Forest scenery. It is a grand book, and whether or not it sells
quickly, it will last. You have spoken out boldly on Species; and
boldness on the subject seems to get rarer and rarer. How beautifully
illustrated it is."

[228] Mr. Bates' paper, 'Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazons
Valley' (_Linn. Soc. Trans._ xxiii. 1862), in which the now familiar
subject of mimicry was founded. My father wrote a short review of it in
the _Natural History Review_, 1863, p. 219, parts of which occur almost
verbatim in the later editions of the _Origin of Species_. A striking
passage occurs in the review, showing the difficulties of the case from
a creationist's point of view:--

"By what means, it may be asked, have so many butterflies of the
Amazonian region acquired their deceptive dress? Most naturalists will
answer that they were thus clothed from the hour of their creation--an
answer which will generally be so far triumphant that it can be met only
by long-drawn arguments; but it is made at the expense of putting an
effectual bar to all further 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 varieties; but the greater
number must be ranked as distinct species. Hence the creationist will
have to admit that some of these forms have become imitators, by means
of the laws of variation, whilst others he must look at as separately
created under their present guise; he will further have to admit that
some have been created in imitation of forms not themselves created as
we now see them, but due to the laws of variation! Professor Agassiz,
indeed, would think nothing of this difficulty; for he believes that not
only each species and each variety, but that groups of individuals,
though identically the same, when inhabiting distinct countries, have
been all separately created in due proportional numbers to the wants of
each land. Not many naturalists will be content thus to believe that
varieties and individuals have been turned out all ready made, almost as
a manufacturer turns out toys according to the temporary demand of the

[229] Mr. Huxley was as usual active in guiding and stimulating the
growing tendency to tolerate or accept the views set forth in the
_Origin of Species_. He gave a series of lectures to working men at the
School of Mines in November, 1862. These were printed in 1863 from the
shorthand notes of Mr. May, as six little blue books, price 4_d._ each,
under the title, _Our Knowledge of the Causes of Organic Nature_.

[230] Kingsley's _Life_, vol. ii. p. 171.

[231] In the _Antiquity of Man_, first edition, p. 480, Lyell criticised
somewhat severely Owen's account of the difference between the Human and
Simian brains. The number of the _Athenæum_ here referred to (1863, p.
262) contains a reply by Professor Owen to Lyell's strictures. The
surprise expressed by my father was at the revival of a controversy
which every one believed to be closed. Professor Huxley (_Medical
Times_, Oct. 25th, 1862, quoted in _Man's Place in Nature_, p. 117)
spoke of the "two years during which this preposterous controversy has
dragged its weary length." And this no doubt expressed a very general

[232] The italics are not Lyell's.

[233] _The Antiquity of Man._

[234] "Falconer, whom I [Lyell] referred to oftener than to any other
author, says I have not done justice to the part he took in
resuscitating the cave question, and says he shall come out with a
separate paper to prove it. I offered to alter anything in the new
edition, but this he declined."--C. Lyell to C. Darwin, March 11, 1863;
Lyell's _Life_, vol ii. p. 364.

[235] _Man's Place in Nature_, 1863.

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

[237] _Public Opinion_, April 23, 1863, A lively account of a police
case, in which the quarrels of scientific men are satirised. Mr. John
Bull gives evidence that--

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

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

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

[238] No doubt Haeckel, whose monograph on the Radiolaria was published
in 1862.

[239] The Marquis de Saporta.

[240] _Examen du livre de M. Darwin sur l'origine des espèces_. Par P.
Flourens. 8vo. Paris, 1864.

[241] _Lay Sermons_, p. 328.

[242] _Charles Darwin und sein Verhältniss zu Deutschland_, 1885.

[243] An article in the _Encyclopædia Britannica_, 9th edit., reprinted
in _Science and Culture_, 1881, p. 298.

[244] 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

[245] _Die natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte_, 1868. It was translated
and published in 1876, under the title, _The History of Creation_.

[246] _Zoological Record._ The volume for 1868, published December,

[247] Mr. Jenner Weir's observations published in the _Transactions of
the Entomological Society_ (1869 and 1870) give strong support to the
theory in question.

[248] _Contemporary Review_, 1871.

[249] In the introduction to the _Descent of Man_ the author
wrote:--"This last naturalist [Haeckel] ... has recently ... published
his _Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte_, in which he fully discusses the
genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my essay had been
written, I should probably never have completed it. Almost all the
conclusions at which I have arrived, I find confirmed by this
naturalist, whose knowledge on many points is much fuller than mine."

[250] April 7 and 8, 1871.

[251] His holiday this year was at Caerdeon, on the north shore of the
beautiful Barmouth estuary, and pleasantly placed in being close to wild
hill country behind, as well as to the picturesque wooded "hummocks,"
between the steeper hills and the river. My father was ill and somewhat
depressed throughout this visit, and I think felt imprisoned and
saddened by his inability to reach the hills over which he had once
wandered for days together.

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

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

[252] The late Chauncey Wright, in an article published in the _North
American Review_, vol. cxiii. pp. 83, 84. Wright points out that the
words omitted are "essential to the point on which he [Mr. Mivart] cites
Mr. Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that the passage from
which words are omitted is not given within inverted commas by Mr.

[253] My father, as an Evolutionist, felt that he required more time
than Sir W. Thomson's estimate of the age of the world allows.

[254] Chauncey Wright's review was published as a pamphlet in the autumn
of 1871.

[255] The learned Jesuit on whom Mr. Mivart mainly relies.

[256] The same words may be applied to Mr. Mivart's treatment of my
father. The following extract from a letter to Mr. Wallace (June 17th,
1874) refers to Mr. Mivart's statement (_Lessons from Nature_, p. 144)
that Mr. Darwin at first studiously disguised his views as to the
"bestiality of man":--

"I have only just heard of and procured your two articles in the
_Academy_. I thank you most cordially for your generous defence of me
against Mr. Mivart. In the _Origin_ I did not discuss the derivation of
any one species; but that I might not be accused of concealing my
opinion, I went out of my way, and inserted a sentence which seemed to
me (and still so seems) to disclose plainly my belief. This was quoted
in my _Descent of Man_. Therefore it is very unjust ... of Mr. Mivart to
accuse me of base fraudulent concealment."

[257] They were utilised to some extent in the 2nd edition, edited by
me, and published in 1890.--F. D.



In 1874 a second edition of his _Coral Reefs_ was published, which need
not specially concern us. It was not until some time afterwards that the
criticisms of my father's theory appeared, which have attracted a good
deal of attention.

The following interesting account of the subject is taken from
Professor's Judd's "Critical Introduction" to Messrs. Ward, Lock and
Co's. edition of _Coral Reefs_ and _Volcanic Islands, &c._[258]

"The first serious note of dissent to the generally accepted theory was
heard in 1863, when a distinguished German naturalist, Dr. Karl Semper,
declared that his study of the Pelew Islands showed that uninterrupted
subsidence could not have been going on in that region. Dr. Semper's
objections were very carefully considered by Mr. Darwin, and a reply to
them appeared in the second and revised edition of his _Coral Reefs_,
which was published in 1874. With characteristic frankness and freedom
from prejudices, Darwin admitted that the facts brought forward by Dr.
Semper proved that in certain specified cases, subsidence could not have
played the chief part in originating the peculiar forms of the coral
islands. But while making this admission, he firmly maintained that
exceptional cases, like those described in the Pelew Islands, were not
sufficient to invalidate the theory of subsidence as applied to the
widely spread atolls, encircling reefs, and barrier-reefs of the Pacific
and Indian Oceans. It is worthy of note that to the end of his life
Darwin maintained a friendly correspondence with Semper concerning the
points on which they were at issue.

"After the appearance of Semper's work, Dr. J. J. Rein published an
account of the Bermudas, in which he opposed the interpretation of the
structure of the islands given by Nelson and other authors, and
maintained that the facts observed in them are opposed to the views of
Darwin. Although so far as I am aware, Darwin had no opportunity of
studying and considering these particular objections, it may be
mentioned that two American geologists have since carefully re-examined
the district--Professor W. N. Rice in 1884 and Professor A. Heilprin in
1889--and they have independently arrived at the conclusion that Dr.
Rein's objections cannot be maintained.

"The most serious objection to Darwin's coral-reef theory, however, was
that which developed itself after the return of H.M.S. _Challenger_ from
her famous voyage. Mr. John Murray, one of the staff of naturalists on
board that vessel, propounded a new theory of coral-reefs, and
maintained that the view that they were formed by subsidence was one
that was no longer tenable; these objections have been supported by
Professor Alexander Agassiz in the United States, and by Dr. A. Geikie,
and Dr. H. B. Guppy in this country.

"Although Mr. Darwin did not live to bring out a third edition of his
_Coral Reefs_, I know from several conversations with him that he had
given the most patient and thoughtful consideration to Mr. Murray's
paper on the subject. He admitted to me that had he known, when he wrote
his work, of the abundant deposition of the remains of calcareous
organisms on the sea floor, he might have regarded this cause as
sufficient in a few cases to raise the summit of submerged volcanoes or
other mountains to a level at which reef-forming corals can commence to
flourish. But he did not think that the admission that under certain
favourable conditions, atolls might be thus formed without subsidence,
necessitated an abandonment of his theory in the case of the innumerable
examples of the kind which stud the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

"A letter written by Darwin to Professor Alexander Agassiz in May 1881,
shows exactly the attitude which careful consideration of the subject
led him to maintain towards the theory propounded by Mr. Murray:--

"'You will have seen,' he writes, 'Mr. Murray's views on the formation
of atolls and barrier reefs. Before publishing my book, I thought long
over the same view, but only as far as ordinary marine organisms are
concerned, for at that time little was known of the multitude of minute
oceanic organisms. I 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, however, hardly believe in the former presence of as
many banks (there having been no subsidence) as there are atolls in the
great oceans, within a reasonable depth, on which minute oceanic
organisms could have accumulated to the thickness of many hundred feet.

"Darwin's concluding words in the same letter written within a year of
his death, are a striking proof of the candour and openness of mind
which he preserved so well to the end, in this as in other

"'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

"It is noteworthy that the objections to Darwin's theory have for the
most part proceeded from zoologists, while those who have fully
appreciated the geological aspect of the question have been the
staunchest supporters of the theory of subsidence. The desirability of
such boring operations in atolls has been insisted upon by several
geologists, and it may be hoped that before many years have passed away,
Darwin's hopes may be realised, either with or without the intervention
of the 'doubly rich millionaire.'

"Three years after the death of Darwin, the veteran Professor Dana
re-entered the lists and contributed a powerful defence of the theory of
subsidence in the form of a reply to an essay written by the ablest
exponent of the anti-Darwinian views on this subject, Dr. A. Geikie.
While pointing out that the Darwinian position had been to a great
extent misunderstood by its opponents, he showed that the rival theory
presented even greater difficulties than those which it professed to

"During the last five years, the whole question of the origin of
coral-reefs and islands has been re-opened, and a controversy has
arisen, into which, unfortunately, acrimonious elements have been very
unnecessarily introduced. Those who desire it, will find clear and
impartial statements of the varied and often mutually destructive views
put forward by different authors, in three works which have made their
appearance within the last year--_The Bermuda Islands_, by Professor
Angelo Heilprin: _Corals and Coral Islands_, new edition by Professor J.
D. Dana; and the third edition of Darwin's _Coral-Reefs_, with Notes and
Appendix by Professor T. G. Bonney.

"Most readers will, I think, rise from the perusal of these works with
the conviction that, while on certain points of detail it is clear that,
through the want of knowledge concerning the action of marine organisms
in the open ocean, Darwin was betrayed into some grave errors, yet the
main foundations of his argument have not been seriously impaired by the
new facts observed in the deep-sea researches, or by the severe
criticisms to which his theory has been subjected during the last ten
years. On the other hand, I think it will appear that much
misapprehension has been exhibited by some of Darwin's critics, as to
what his views and arguments really were; so that the reprint and wide
circulation of the book in its original form is greatly to be desired,
and cannot but be attended with advantage to all those who will have the
fairness to acquaint themselves with Darwin's views at first hand,
before attempting to reply to them."

The only important geological work of my father's later years is
embodied in his book on earthworms (1881), which may therefore be
conveniently considered in this place. This subject was one which had
interested him many years before this date, and in 1838 a paper on the
formation of mould was published in the _Proceedings of the Geological

Here he showed that "fragments of burnt marl, cinders, &c., which had
been thickly strewed over the surface of several meadows were found
after a few years lying at a depth of some inches beneath the turf, but
still forming a layer." For the explanation of this fact, which forms
the central idea of the geological part of the book, he was indebted to
his uncle Josiah Wedgwood, who suggested that worms, by bringing earth
to the surface in their castings, must undermine any objects lying on
the surface and cause an apparent sinking.

In the book of 1881 he extended his observations on this burying action,
and devised a number of different ways of checking his estimates as to
the amount of work done. He also added a mass of observations on the
natural history and intelligence of worms, a part of the work which
added greatly to its popularity.

In 1877 Sir Thomas Farrer had discovered close to his garden the remains
of a building of Roman-British times, and thus gave my father the
opportunity of seeing for himself the effects produced by earthworms on
the old concrete floors, walls, &c. On his return he wrote to Sir Thomas

"I cannot remember a more delightful week than the last. I know very
well that E. will not believe me, but the worms were by no means the
sole charm."

In the autumn of 1880, when the _Power of Movement in Plants_ was nearly
finished, he began once more on the subject. He wrote to Professor Carus
(September 21):--

"In the intervals of correcting the press, I am writing a very little
book, and have done nearly half of it. Its title will be (as at present
designed), _The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the Action of
Worms_.[259] As far as I can judge, it will be a curious little book."

The manuscript was sent to the printers in April 1881, and when the
proof-sheets were coming in he wrote to Professor Carus: "The subject
has been to me a hobby-horse, and I have perhaps treated it in foolish

It was published on October 10, and 2000 copies were sold at once. He
wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, "I am glad that you approve of the _Worms_.
When in old days I used to tell you whatever I was doing, if you were at
all interested, I always felt as most men do when their work is finally

To Mr. Mellard Reade he wrote (November 8): "It has been a complete
surprise to me how many persons have cared for the subject." And to Mr.
Dyer (in November): "My book has been received with almost laughable
enthusiasm, and 3500 copies have been sold!!!" Again to his friend Mr.
Anthony Rich, he wrote on February 4, 1882, "I have been plagued with an
endless stream of letters on the subject; most of them very foolish and
enthusiastic; but some containing good facts which I have used in
correcting yesterday the _Sixth Thousand_." The popularity of the book
may be roughly estimated by the fact that, in the three years following
its publication, 8500 copies were sold--a sale relatively greater than
that of the _Origin of Species_.

It is not difficult to account for its success with the non-scientific
public. Conclusions so wide and so novel, and so easily understood,
drawn from the study of creatures so familiar, and treated with unabated
vigour and freshness, may well have attracted many readers. A reviewer
remarks: "In the eyes of most men ... the earthworm is a mere blind,
dumbsenseless, and unpleasantly slimy annelid. Mr. Darwin under-takes
to rehabilitate his character, and the earthworm steps forth at once as
an intelligent and beneficent personage, a worker of vast geological
changes, a planer down of mountain sides ... a friend of man ... and an
ally of the Society for the preservation of ancient monuments." The _St.
James's Gazette_, of October 17th, 1881, pointed out that the teaching
of the cumulative importance of the infinitely little is the point of
contact between this book and the author's previous work.

One more book remains to be noticed, the _Life of Erasmus Darwin_.

In February 1879 an essay by Dr. Ernst Krause, on the scientific work of
Erasmus Darwin, appeared in the evolutionary journal, _Kosmos_. The
number of _Kosmos_ in question was a "Gratulationsheft,"[260] or special
congratulatory issue in honour of my father's birthday, so that Dr.
Krause's essay, glorifying the older evolutionist, was quite in its
place. He wrote to Dr. Krause, thanking him cordially for the honour
paid to Erasmus, and asking his permission to publish an English
translation of the Essay.

His chief reason for writing a notice of his grandfather's life was "to
contradict flatly some calumnies by Miss Seward." This appears from a
letter of March 27, 1879, to his cousin Reginald Darwin, in which he
asks for any documents and letters which might throw light on the
character of Erasmus. This led to Mr. Reginald Darwin placing in my
father's hands a quantity of valuable material, including a curious
folio common-place book, of which he wrote: "I have been deeply
interested by the great book, ... reading and looking at it is like
having communion with the dead ... [it] has taught me a good deal about
the occupations and tastes of our grandfather."

Dr. Krause's contribution formed the second part of the _Life of Erasmus
Darwin_, my father supplying a "preliminary notice." This expression on
the title-page is somewhat misleading; my father's contribution is more
than half the book, and should have been described as a biography. Work
of this kind was new to him, and he wrote doubtfully to Mr. Thiselton
Dyer, June 18th: "God only knows what I shall make of his life, it is
such a new kind of work to me." The strong interest he felt about his
forbears helped to give zest to the work, which became a decided
enjoyment to him. With the general public the book was not markedly
successful, but many of his friends recognised its merits. Sir J. D.
Hooker was one of these, and to him my father wrote, "Your praise of the
Life of Dr. D. has pleased me exceedingly, for I despised my work, and
thought myself a perfect fool to have undertaken such a job."

To Mr. Galton, too, he wrote, November 14:--

"I am extremely glad that you approve of the little _Life_ of our
grandfather, for I have been repenting that I ever undertook it, as the
work was quite beyond my tether."


Something has already been said of my father's strong feeling with
regard to suffering[261] both in man and beast. It was indeed one of the
strongest feelings in his nature, and was exemplified in matters small
and great, in his sympathy with the educational miseries of dancing
dogs, or his horror at the sufferings of slaves.

The remembrance of screams, or other sounds heard in Brazil, when he was
powerless to interfere with what he believed to be the torture of a
slave, haunted him for years, especially at night. In smaller matters,
where he could interfere, he did so vigorously. He returned one day from
his walk pale and faint from having seen a horse ill-used, and from the
agitation of violently remonstrating with the man. On another occasion
he saw a horse-breaker teaching his son to ride; the little boy was
frightened and the man was rough; my father stopped, and jumping out of
the carriage reproved the man in no measured terms.

One other little incident may be mentioned, showing that his humanity to
animals was well known in his own neighbourhood. A visitor, driving from
Orpington to Down, told the cabman to go faster. "Why," said the man,
"if I had whipped the horse _this_ much, driving Mr. Darwin, he would
have got out of the carriage and abused me well."

With respect to the special point under consideration,--the sufferings
of animals subjected to experiment,--nothing could show a stronger
feeling than the following words 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."

The Anti-Vivisection agitation, to which the following letters refer,
seems to have become specially active in 1874, as may be seen, _e.g._ by
the index to _Nature_ for that year, in which the word "Vivisection"
suddenly comes into prominence. But before that date the subject had
received the earnest attention of biologists. Thus at the Liverpool
Meeting of the British Association in 1870, a Committee was appointed,
whose report defined the circumstances and conditions under which, in
the opinion of the signatories, experiments on living animals were
justifiable. In the spring of 1875, Lord Hartismere introduced a Bill
into the Upper House to regulate the course of physiological research.
Shortly afterwards a Bill more just towards science in its provisions
was introduced to the House of Commons by Messrs. Lyon Playfair,
Walpole, and Ashley. It was, however, withdrawn on the appointment of a
Royal Commission to inquire into the whole question. The Commissioners
were Lords Cardwell and Winmarleigh, Mr. W. E. Forster, Sir J. B.
Karslake, Mr. Huxley, Professor Erichssen, and Mr. R. H. Hutton: they
commenced their inquiry in July, 1875, and the Report was published
early in the following year.

In the early summer of 1876, Lord Carnarvon's Bill, entitled, "An Act to
amend the Law relating to Cruelty to Animals," was introduced. 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 writes in _Nature_ (1876, p. 248), "the evidence on the
strength of which legislation was recommended went beyond the facts, the
Report went beyond the evidence, the Recommendations beyond the Report;
and the Bill can hardly be said to have gone beyond the Recommendations;
but rather to have contradicted them."

The legislation which my father worked for, was practically what was
introduced as Dr. Lyon Playfair's Bill.

The following letter appeared in the Times, April 18th, 1881:--

_C. D. to Frithiof Holmgren._[262] Down, April 14, 1881.

DEAR SIR,--In answer to your courteous letter of April 7, I have no
objection to express my opinion with respect to the right of
experimenting on living animals. I use this latter expression as more
correct and comprehensive than that of vivisection. You are at liberty
to make any use of this letter which you may think fit, but if published
I should wish the whole to appear. I have all my life been a strong
advocate for humanity to animals, and have done what I could in my
writings to enforce this duty. Several years ago, when the agitation
against physiologists commenced in England, it was asserted that
inhumanity was here practised, and useless suffering caused to animals;
and I was led to think that it might be advisable to have an Act of
Parliament on the subject. I then took an active part in trying to get a
Bill passed, such as would have removed all just cause of complaint, and
at the same time have left physiologists free to pursue their
researches--a Bill very different from the Act which has since been
passed. It is right to add that the investigation of the matter by a
Royal Commission proved that the accusations made against our English
physiologists were false. From all that I have heard, however, I fear
that in some parts of Europe little regard is paid to the sufferings of
animals, and if this be the case, I should be glad to hear of
legislation against inhumanity in any such country. On the other hand, I
know that physiology cannot possibly progress except by means of
experiments on living animals, and I feel the deepest conviction that he
who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against mankind.
Any one who remembers, as I can, the state of this science half a
century ago must admit that it has made immense progress, and it is now
progressing at an ever-increasing rate. What improvements in medical
practice may be directly attributed to physiological research is a
question which can be properly discussed only by those physiologists and
medical practitioners who have studied the history of their subjects;
but, as far as I can learn, the benefits are already great. However this
may be, no one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what science has done
for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the incalculable benefits which
will hereafter be derived from physiology, not only by man, but by the
lower animals. Look for instance at Pasteur's results in modifying the
germs of the most malignant diseases, from which, as it happens, animals
will in the first place receive more relief than man. Let it be
remembered how many lives and what a fearful amount of suffering have
been saved by the knowledge gained of parasitic worms through the
experiments of Virchow and others on living animals. In the future every
one will be astonished at the ingratitude shown, at least in England, to
these benefactors of mankind. As for myself, permit me to assure you
that I honour, and shall always honour, every one who advances the noble
science of physiology.

Dear Sir, yours faithfully.

In the _Times_ of the following day appeared a letter headed "Mr. Darwin
and Vivisection," signed by Miss Frances Power Cobbe. To this my father
replied in the _Times_ of April 22, 1881. On the same day he wrote to
Mr. 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. D. 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 "the investigation of the matter by a Royal Commission proved that
the accusations made against our English physiologists were false," I
will merely ask leave to refer to some other sentences from the report
of the Commission.

(1.) The sentence--"It is not to be doubted that inhumanity may be found
in persons of very high position as physiologists," which Miss Cobbe
quotes from page 17 of the report, and which, in her opinion, "can
necessarily concern English physiologists alone and not foreigners," is
immediately followed by the words "We have seen that it was so in
Magendie." Magendie was a French physiologist who became notorious some
half century ago for his cruel experiments on living animals.

(2.) The Commissioners, after speaking of the "general sentiment of
humanity" prevailing in this country, say (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):--

"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 anæsthetics where they think
they can do so with safety to the experiment."

I am, Sir, your obedient servant.

April 21.

During the later years of my father's life there was a growing tendency
in the public to do him honour.[263] The honours which he valued most
highly were those which united the sympathy of friends with a mark of
recognition of his scientific colleagues. Of this type was the article
"Charles Darwin," published in _Nature_, June 4, 1874, and written by
Asa Gray. This admirable estimate of my father's work in science is
given in the form of a comparison and contrast between Robert Brown and
Charles Darwin.

To Gray he wrote:--

"I wrote yesterday and cannot remember exactly what I said, and now
cannot be easy without again telling you how profoundly I have been
gratified. Every one, I suppose, occasionally thinks that he has worked
in vain, and when one of these fits overtakes me, I will think of your
article, and if that does not dispel the evil spirit, I shall know that
I am at the time a little bit insane, as we all are occasionally.

"What you say about Teleology[264] pleases me especially, and I do not
think any one else has ever noticed the point. I have always said you
were the man to hit the nail on the head."

In 1877 he received the honorary degree of LL.D. from the University of
Cambridge. The degree was conferred on November 17, and with the
customary Latin speech from the Public Orator, concluding with the
words: "Tu vero, qui leges naturæ tam docte illustraveris, legum doctor
nobis esto."

The honorary degree led to a movement being set on foot in the
University to obtain some permanent memorial of my father. In June 1879
he sat to Mr. W. Richmond for the portrait in the possession of the
University, now placed in the Library of the Philosophical Society at

A similar wish on the part of the Linnean Society--with which my father
was so closely associated--led to his sitting in August, 1881, to Mr.
John Collier, for the portrait now in the possession of the Society. The
portrait represents him standing facing the observer in the loose cloak
so familiar to those who knew him, with his slouch hat in his hand. Many
of those who knew his face most intimately, think that Mr. Collier's
picture is the best of the portraits, and in this judgment the sitter
himself was inclined to agree. According to my feeling it is not so
simple or strong a representation of him as that given by Mr. Ouless.
The last-named portrait was painted at Down in 1875; it is in the
possession of the family,[265] and is known to many through Rajon's fine
etching. Of Mr. Ouless's picture my father wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker:

"I look a very venerable, acute, melancholy old dog; whether I really
look so I do not know."

Besides the Cambridge degree, he received about the same time honours of
an academic kind from some foreign societies.

On August 5, 1878, he was elected a Corresponding Member of the French
Institute in the Botanical Section,[266] and wrote to Dr. Asa Gray:--

"I see that we are both elected Corresponding Members of the Institute.
It is rather a good joke that I should be elected in the Botanical
Section, as the extent of my knowledge is little more than that a daisy
is a Compositous plant and a pea a Leguminous one."

He valued very highly two photographic albums containing portraits of a
large number of scientific men in Germany and Holland, which he received
as birthday gifts in 1877.

In the year 1878 my father received a singular mark of recognition in
the form of a letter from a stranger, announcing that the writer
intended to leave to him the reversion of the greater part of his
fortune. Mr. Anthony Rich, who desired thus to mark his sense of my
father's services to science, was the author of a _Dictionary of Roman
and Greek Antiquities_, said to be the best book of the kind. It has
been translated into French, German, and Italian, and has, in English,
gone through several editions. Mr. Rich lived a great part of his life
in Italy, painting, and collecting books and engravings. He finally
settled, many years ago, at Worthing (then a small village), where he
was a friend of Byron's Trelawny. My father visited Mr. Rich at
Worthing, more than once, and gained a cordial liking and respect for

Mr. Rich died in April, 1891, having arranged that his bequest[267]
should not lapse in consequence of the predecease of my father.

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. He refers
to this in a letter to Dr. Dohrn (February 15th, 1880):--

"Perhaps you saw in the papers that the Turin Society honoured me to an
extraordinary degree by awarding me the _Bressa_ Prize. Now it occurred
to me that if your station wanted some piece of apparatus, of about the
value of £100, 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

Two years before my father's death, and twenty-one years after the
publication of his greatest work, a lecture was given (April 9, 1880) at
the Royal Institution by Mr. Huxley[268] which was aptly named "The
Coming of Age of the Origin of Species." The following characteristic
letter, inferring to this subject, may fitly close the present chapter.

Abinger Hall, Dorking, Sunday, April 11, 1880.

MY DEAR HUXLEY,--I wished much to attend your Lecture, but I have had a
bad cough, and we have come here to see whether a change would do me
good, as it has done. What a magnificent success your lecture seems to
have been, as I judge from the reports in the _Standard_ and _Daily
News_, and more especially from the accounts given me by three of my
children. I suppose that you have not written out your lecture, so I
fear there is no chance of its being printed _in extenso_. You appear to
have piled, as on so many other occasions, honours high and thick on my
old head. But I well know how great a part you have played in
establishing and spreading the belief in the descent-theory, ever since
that grand review in the _Times_ and the battle royal at Oxford up to
the present day.

Ever, my dear Huxley,
Yours sincerely and gratefully,

P.S.--It was absurdly stupid in me, but I had read the announcement of
your Lecture, and thought that you meant the maturity of the subject,
until my wife one day remarked, "it is almost twenty-one years since the
_Origin_ appeared," and then for the first time the meaning of your
words flashed on me.


[258] _The Minerva Library of famous Books_, 1890, edited by G. T.

[259] The full title is _The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the
Action of Worms, with Observations on their Habits_, 1881.

[260] 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.

[261] He once made an attempt to free a patient in a mad-house, who (as
he wrongly supposed) was sane. He was in correspondence with the
gardener at the asylum, and on one occasion he found a letter from the
patient enclosed with one from the gardener. The letter was rational in
tone and declared that the writer was sane and wrongfully confined.

My father wrote to the Lunacy Commissioners (without explaining the
source of his information) and in due time heard that the man had been
visited by the Commissioners, and that he was certainly insane. Some
time afterward the patient was discharged, and wrote to thank my father
for his interference, adding that he had undoubtedly been insane when he
wrote his former letter.

[262] Professor of Physiology at Upsala.

[263] In 1867 he had received a distinguished honour from Germany,--the
order "Pour le Mérite."

[264] "Let us recognise Darwin's great service to Natural Science in
bringing back to it Teleology; so that instead of Morphology _versus_
Teleology, we shall have Morphology wedded to Teleology." Similar
remarks had been previously made by Mr. Huxley. See _Critiques and
Addresses_, p. 305.

[265] A _replica_ by the artist hangs alongside of the portraits of
Milton and Paley in the hall of Christ's College, Cambridge.

[266] He received twenty-six votes out of a possible thirty-nine, five
blank papers were sent in, and eight votes were recorded for the other
candidates. In 1872 an attempt had been made to elect him in the Section
of Zoology, when, however, he only received fifteen out of forty-eight
votes, and Lovén was chosen for the vacant place. It appears (_Nature_,
August 1st, 1872) that an eminent member of the Academy wrote to _Les
Mondes_ to the following effect:--

"What has closed the doors of the Academy to Mr. Darwin is that the
science of those of his books which have made his chief title to
fame--the _Origin of Species_, and still more the _Descent of Man_, is
not science, but a mass of assertions and absolutely gratuitous
hypotheses, often evidently fallacious. This kind of publication and
these theories are a bad example, which a body that respects itself
cannot encourage."

[267] Mr. Rich leaves a single near relative, to whom is bequeathed the
life-interest in his property.

[268] Published in _Science and Culture_, p. 310.


     "I have been making some little trifling observations which have
     interested and perplexed me much."

     From a letter of June 1860.



The botanical work which my father accomplished by the guidance of the
light cast on the study of natural history by his own work on evolution
remains to be noticed. In a letter to Mr. Murray, September 24th, 1861,
speaking of his book the _Fertilisation of Orchids_, he says: "It will
perhaps serve to illustrate how Natural History may be worked under the
belief of the modification of species." This remark gives a suggestion
as to the value and interest of his botanical work, and it might be
expressed in far more emphatic language without danger of exaggeration.

In the same letter to Mr. Murray, he says: "I think this little volume
will do good to the _Origin_, as it will show that I have worked hard at
details." It is true that his botanical work added a mass of
corroborative detail to the case for Evolution, but the chief support
given to his doctrines by these researches was of another kind. They
supplied an argument against those critics who have so freely dogmatised
as to the uselessness of particular structures, and as to the consequent
impossibility of their having been developed by means of natural
selection. His observations on Orchids enabled him to say: "I can show
the meaning of some of the apparently meaningless ridges and horns; who
will now venture to say that this or that structure is useless?" A
kindred point is expressed in a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker (May 14th,

"When many parts of structure, as in the woodpecker, show distinct
adaptation to external bodies, it is preposterous to attribute them to
the effects of climate, &c., but when a single point alone, as a hooked
seed, it is conceivable it may thus have arisen. I have found the study
of Orchids eminently useful in showing me how nearly all parts of the
flower are co-adapted for fertilisation by insects, and therefore the
results of natural selection,--even the most trifling details of

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 Teleologist,
but with far wider and more coherent purpose. He has the invigorating
knowledge that he is gaining not isolated conceptions of the economy of
the present, but a coherent view of both past and present. And even
where he fails to discover the use of any part, he may, by a knowledge
of its structure, unravel the history of the past vicissitudes in the
life of the species. In this way a vigour and unity is given to the
study of the forms of organised beings, which before it lacked. Mr.
Huxley has well remarked:[269] "Perhaps the most remarkable service to
the philosophy of Biology rendered by Mr. Darwin is the reconciliation
of Teleology and Morphology, and the explanation of the facts of both,
which his views offer. The teleology which supposes that the eye, such
as we see it in man, or one of the higher vertebrata, was made with the
precise structure it exhibits, for the purpose of enabling the animal
which possesses it to see, has undoubtedly received its death-blow.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember that there is a wider
teleology which is not touched by the doctrine of Evolution, but is
actually based upon the fundamental proposition of Evolution."

The point which here especially concerns us is to recognise that this
"great service to natural science," as Dr. Gray describes it, was
effected almost as much by Darwin's special botanical work as by the
_Origin of Species_.

For a statement of the scope and influence of my father's botanical
work, I may refer to Mr. Thiselton Dyer's article in 'Charles Darwin,'
one of the _Nature Series_. Mr. Dyer's wide knowledge, his friendship
with my father, and his power of sympathising with the work of others,
combine to give this essay a permanent value. The following passage (p.
43) gives a true picture:--

"Notwithstanding the extent and variety of his botanical work, Mr.
Darwin always disclaimed any right to be regarded as a professed
botanist. He turned his attention to plants, doubtless because they were
convenient objects for studying organic phenomena in their least
complicated forms; and this point of view, which, if one may use the
expression without disrespect, had something of the amateur about it,
was in itself of the greatest importance. For, from not being, till he
took up any point, familiar with the literature bearing on it, his mind
was absolutely free from any prepossession. He was never afraid of his
facts, or of framing any hypothesis, however startling, which seemed to
explain them.... In any one else such an attitude would have produced
much work that was crude and rash. But Mr. Darwin--if one may venture on
language which will strike no one who had conversed with him as
over-strained--seemed by gentle persuasion to have penetrated that
reserve of nature which baffles smaller men. In other words, his long
experience had given him a kind of instinctive insight into the method
of attack of any biological problem, however unfamiliar to him, while he
rigidly controlled the fertility of his mind in hypothetical
explanations by the no less fertility of ingeniously devised

To form any just idea of the greatness of the revolution worked by my
father's researches in the study of the fertilisation of flowers, it is
necessary to know from what a condition this branch of knowledge has
emerged. It should be remembered that it was only during the early years
of the present century that the idea of sex, as applied to plants,
became firmly established. Sachs, in his _History of Botany_[270]
(1875), has given some striking illustrations of the remarkable slowness
with which its acceptance gained ground. He remarks that when we
consider the experimental proofs given by Camerarius (1694), and by
Kölreuter (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 journal. A distinct conception of sex,
as applied to plants, had, in fact, not long emerged from the mists of
profitless discussion and feeble experiment, at the time when my father
began botany by attending Henslow's lectures at Cambridge.

When the belief in the sexuality of plants had become established as an
incontrovertible piece of knowledge, a weight of misconception remained,
weighing down any rational view of the subject. Camerarius[271] believed
(naturally enough in his day) that hermaphrodite[272] flowers are
necessarily self-fertilised. He had the wit to be astonished at this, a
degree of intelligence which, as Sachs points out, the majority of his
successors did not attain to.

The following extracts from a note-book show that this point occurred
to my father as early as 1837:

"Do not plants which have male and female organs together [_i.e._ in the
same flower] yet receive influence from other plants? Does not Lyell
give some argument about varieties being difficult to keep [true] on
account of pollen from other plants? Because this may be applied to show
all plants do receive intermixture."

Sprengel,[273] indeed, understood that the hermaphrodite structure of
flowers by no means necessarily leads to self-fertilisation. But
although he discovered that in many cases pollen is of necessity carried
to the stigma of another _flower_, he did not understand that in the
advantage gained by the intercrossing of distinct _plants_ lies the key
to the whole question. Hermann Müller[274] has well remarked that this
"omission was for several generations fatal to Sprengel's work.... For
both at the time and subsequently, botanists felt above all the weakness
of his theory, and they set aside, along with his defective ideas, the
rich store of his patient and acute observations and his comprehensive
and accurate interpretations." It remained for my father to convince the
world that the meaning hidden in the structure of flowers was to be
found by seeking light in the same direction in which Sprengel, seventy
years before, had laboured. Robert Brown was the connecting link between
them, for it was at his recommendation that my father in 1841 read
Sprengel's now celebrated _Secret of Nature Displayed_.[275]

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
fruitful seed than in putting such a book into such hands.

A passage in the _Autobiography_ (p. 44) shows how it was that my father
was attracted to the subject of fertilisation: "During the summer of
1839, and I believe during the previous summer, I was led to attend to
the cross-fertilisation of flowers by the aid of insects, from having
come to the conclusion in my speculations on the origin of species, that
crossing played an important part in keeping specific forms constant."

The original connection between the study of flowers and the problem of
evolution is curious, and could hardly have been predicted. Moreover, it
was not a permanent bond. My father proved by a long series of laborious
experiments, that when a plant is fertilised and sets seeds under the
influence of pollen from a distinct individual, the offspring so
produced are superior in vigour to the offspring of self-fertilisation,
_i.e._ of the union of the male and female elements of a single plant.
When this fact was established, it was possible to understand the
_raison d'être_ of the machinery which insures cross-fertilisation in so
many flowers; and to understand how natural selection can act on, and
mould, the floral structure.

Asa Gray has well remarked with regard to this central idea (_Nature_,
June 4, 1874):--"The aphorism, 'Nature abhors a vacuum,' is a
characteristic specimen of the science of the middle ages. The aphorism,
'Nature abhors close fertilisation,' and the demonstration of the
principle, belong to our age and to Mr. Darwin. To have originated this,
and also the principle of Natural Selection ... and to have applied
these principles to the system of nature, in such a manner as to make,
within a dozen years, a deeper impression upon natural history than has
been made since Linnæus, is ample title for one man's fame."

The flowers of the Papilionaceæ[276] attracted his attention early, and
were the subject of his first paper on fertilisation.[277] The following
extract from an undated letter to Asa Gray seems to have been written
before the publication of this paper, probably in 1856 or 1857:--

" ... What you say on Papilionaceous flowers is very true; and I have no
facts to show that varieties are crossed; but yet (and the same remark
is applicable in a beautiful way to Fumaria and Dielytra, as I noticed
many years ago), I must believe that the flowers are constructed partly
in direct relation to the visits of insects; and how insects can avoid
bringing pollen from other individuals I cannot understand. It is really
pretty to watch the action of a humble-bee on the scarlet kidney bean,
and in this genus (and in _Lathyrus grandiflorus_)[278] 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. In the broom the pistil is rubbed on
the centre of the back of the bee. I suspect there is something to be
made out about the Leguminosæ, which will bring the case within _our_
theory; though I have failed to do so. Our theory will explain why in
the vegetable ... kingdom the act of fertilisation even in
hermaphrodites usually takes place _sub jove_, though thus exposed to
_great_ injury from damp and rain."

A letter to Dr. Asa Gray (September 5th, 1857) gives the substance of
the paper in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_:--

"Lately I was led to examine buds of kidney bean with the pollen shed;
but I was led to believe that the pollen could _hardly_ get on the
stigma by wind or otherwise, except by bees visiting [the flower] and
moving the wing petals: hence I included a small bunch of flowers in two
bottles in every way treated the same: the flowers in one I daily just
momentarily moved, as if by a bee; these set three fine pods, the other
_not one_. Of course this little experiment must be tried again, and
this year in England it is too late, as the flowers seem now seldom to
set. If bees are necessary to this flower's self-fertilisation, bees
must almost cross them, as their dusted right-side of head and right
legs constantly touch the stigma.

"I have, also, lately been reobserving daily _Lobelia fulgens_--this in
my garden is never visited by insects, and never sets seeds, without
pollen be put on the stigma (whereas the small blue Lobelia is visited
by bees and does set seed); I mention this because there are such
beautiful contrivances to prevent the stigma ever getting its own
pollen; which seems only explicable on the doctrine of the advantage of

The paper was supplemented by a second in 1858.[279] The chief object of
these publications seems to have been to obtain information as to the
possibility of growing varieties of Leguminous plants near each other,
and yet keeping them true. It is curious that the Papilionaceæ should
not only have been the first flowers which attracted his attention by
their obvious adaptation to the visits of insects, but should also have
constituted one of his sorest puzzles. The common pea and the sweet pea
gave him much difficulty, because, although they are as obviously fitted
for insect-visits as the rest of the order, yet their varieties keep
true. The fact is that neither of these plants being indigenous, they
are not perfectly adapted for fertilisation by British insects. He could
not, at this stage of his observations, know that the co-ordination
between a flower and the particular insect which fertilises it may be
as delicate as that between a lock and its key, so that this explanation
was not likely to occur to him.

Besides observing the Leguminosæ, he had already begun, as shown in the
foregoing extracts, to attend to the structure of other flowers in
relation to insects. At the beginning of 1860 he worked at
Leschenaultia,[280] which at first puzzled him, but was ultimately made
out. A passage in a letter chiefly relating to Leschenaultia seems to
show that it was only in the spring of 1860 that he began widely to
apply his knowledge to the relation of insects to other flowers. This is
somewhat surprising, when we remember that he had read Sprengel many
years before. He wrote (May 14):--

"I should look at this curious contrivance as specially related to
visits of insects; as I begin to think is almost universally the case."

Even in July 1862 he wrote to Asa Gray:--

"There is no end to the adaptations. Ought not these cases to make one
very cautious when one doubts about the use of all parts? I fully
believe that the structure of all irregular flowers is governed in
relation to insects. Insects are the Lords of the floral (to quote the
witty _Athenæum_) world."

This idea has been worked out by H. Müller, who has written on insects
in the character of flower-breeders or flower-fanciers, showing how the
habits and structure of the visitors are reflected in the forms and
colours of the flowers visited.

He was probably attracted to the study of Orchids by the fact that
several kinds are common near Down. The letters of 1860 show that these
plants occupied a good deal of his attention; and in 1861 he gave part
of the summer and all the autumn to the subject. He evidently considered
himself idle for wasting time on Orchids which ought to have been given
to _Variation under Domestication_. Thus he wrote:--

"There is to me incomparably more interest in observing than in writing;
but I feel quite guilty in trespassing on these subjects, and not
sticking to varieties of the confounded cocks, hens and ducks. I hear
that Lyell is savage at me."

It was in the summer of 1860 that he made out one of the most striking
and familiar facts in the Orchid-book, namely, the manner in which the
pollen masses are adapted for removal by insects. He wrote to Sir J. D.
Hooker, July 12:--

"I have been examining _Orchis pyramidalis_, and it almost equals,
perhaps even beats, your Listera case; the sticky glands are
congenitally united into a saddle-shaped organ, which has great power of
movement, and seizes hold of a bristle (or proboscis) in an admirable
manner, and then another movement takes place in the pollen masses, by
which they are beautifully adapted to leave pollen on the two lateral
stigmatic surfaces. I never saw anything so beautiful."

In June of the same year he wrote:--

"You speak of adaptation being rarely visible, though present in plants.
I have just recently been looking at the common Orchis, and I declare I
think its adaptations in every part of the flower quite as beautiful and
plain, or even more beautiful than in the woodpecker."[281]

He wrote also to Dr. Gray, June 8, 1860:--

"Talking of adaptation, I have lately been looking at our common
orchids, and I dare say the facts are as old and well-known as the
hills, but I have been so struck with admiration at the contrivances,
that I have sent a notice to the _Gardeners' Chronicle_."

Besides attending to the fertilisation of the flowers he was already, in
1860, busy with the homologies of the parts, a subject of which he made
good use in the Orchid book. He wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (July):--

"It is a real good joke my discussing homologies of Orchids with you,
after examining only three or four genera; and this very fact makes me
feel positive I am right! I do not quite understand some of your terms;
but sometime I must get you to explain the homologies; for I am
intensely interested in the subject, just as at a game of chess."

This work was valuable from a systematic point of view. In 1880 he wrote
to Mr. Bentham:--

"It was very kind in you to write to me about the Orchideæ, for it has
pleased me to an extreme degree that I could have been of the _least_
use to you about the nature of the parts."

The pleasure which his early observations on Orchids gave him is shown
in such passages as the following from a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker
(July 27, 1861):--

"You cannot conceive how the Orchids have delighted me. They came safe,
but box rather smashed; cylindrical old cocoa-or snuff-canister much
safer. I enclose postage. As an account of the movement, I shall allude
to what I suppose is Oncidium, to make _certain_,--is the enclosed
flower with crumpled petals this genus? Also I most specially want to
know what the enclosed little globular brown Orchid is. I have only
seen pollen of a Cattleya on a bee, but surely have you not
unintentionally sent me what I wanted most (after Catasetum or
Mormodes), viz., one of the Epidendreæ?! I _particularly_ want (and will
presently tell you why) another spike of this little Orchid, with older
flowers, some even almost withered."

His delight in observation is again shown in a letter to Dr. Gray
(1863). Referring to Crüger's letters from Trinidad, he wrote:--"Happy
man, he has actually seen crowds of bees flying round Catasetum, with
the pollinia sticking to their backs!"

The following extracts of letters to Sir J. D. Hooker illustrate further
the interest which his work excited in him:--

"Veitch sent me a grand lot this morning. What wonderful structures!

"I have now seen enough, and you must not send me more, for though I
enjoy looking at them _much_, and it has been very useful to me, seeing
so many different forms, it is idleness. For my object each species
requires studying for days. I wish you had time to take up the group. I
would give a good deal to know what the rostellum is, of which I have
traced so many curious modifications. I suppose it cannot be one of the
stigmas,[282] there seems a great tendency for two lateral stigmas to
appear. My paper, though touching on only subordinate points will run, I
fear, to 100 MS. folio pages! The beauty of the adaptation of parts
seems to me unparalleled. I should think or guess waxy pollen was most
differentiated. In Cypripedium which seems least modified, and a much
exterminated group, the grains are single. In _all others_, as far as I
have seen, they are in packets of four; and these packets cohere into
many wedge-formed masses in Orchis; into eight, four, and finally two.
It seems curious that a flower should exist, which could _at most_
fertilise only two other flowers, seeing how abundant pollen generally
is; this fact I look at as explaining the perfection of the contrivance
by which the pollen, so important from its fewness, is carried from
flower to flower"[283](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 became 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 one hundred and forty 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."

And again on September 28th:--

"What a good soul you are not to sneer at me, but to pat me on the back.
I have the greatest doubt whether I am not going to do, in publishing my
paper, a most ridiculous thing. It would annoy me much, but only for
Murray's sake, if the publication were a dead failure."

There was still much work to be done, and in October he was still
receiving Orchids from Kew, and wrote to Hooker:--

"It is impossible to thank you enough. I was almost mad at the wealth of
Orchids." And again--

"Mr. Veitch most generously has sent me two splendid buds of Mormodes,
which will be capital for dissection, but I fear will never be
irritable; so for the sake of charity and love of heaven do, I beseech
you, observe what movement takes place in Cychnoches, and what part must
be touched. Mr. V. has also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum,
the most wonderful Orchid I have seen."

On October 13 he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker:--

"It seems that I cannot exhaust your good nature. I have had the hardest
day's work at Catasetum and buds of 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 all my life
than in this of Orchids. I owe very much to you."

Again to the same friend, November 1, 1861:--

"If you really can spare another Catasetum, when nearly ready, I shall
be most grateful; had I not better send for it? The case is truly
marvellous; the (so-called) sensation, or stimulus from a light touch is
certainly transmitted through the antennæ for more than one inch
_instantaneously_.... A cursed insect or something let my last flower
off last night."

Professor de Candolle has remarked[284] of my father, "Ce n'est pas lui
qui aurait demandé de construire des palais pour y loger des
laboratoires." This was singularly true of his orchid work, or rather it
would be nearer the truth to say that he had no laboratory, for it was
only after the publication of the _Fertilisation of Orchids_, that he
built himself a greenhouse. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker (December 24th,

"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 follow, who wins
lots of prizes, and is very observant. He believes that we should
succeed with a little patience; it will be a grand amusement for me to
experiment with plants."

Again he wrote (February 15th, 1863):--

"I write now because the new hot-house is ready, and I long to stock it,
just like a schoolboy. Could you tell me pretty soon what plants you can
give me; and then I shall know what to order? And do advise me how I had
better get such plants as you can _spare_. Would it do to send my
tax-cart early in the morning, on a day that was not frosty, lining the
cart with mats, and arriving here before night? I have no idea whether
this degree of exposure (and of course the cart would be cold) could
injure stove-plants; they would be about five hours (with bait) on the
journey home."

A week later he wrote:--

"You cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me (far more than
your dead Wedgwood-ware can give you); H. 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 transcendant 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." His difficulty with regard to the names
of plants is illustrated, with regard to a Lupine on which he was at
work, in an extract from a letter (July 21, 1866) to Sir J. D. Hooker:
"I sent to the nursery garden, whence I bought the seed, and could only
hear that it was 'the common blue Lupine,' the man saying 'he was no
scholard, and did not know Latin, and that parties who make experiments
ought to find out the names.'"

The book was published May 15th, 1862. Of its reception he writes to Mr.
Murray, June 13th and 18th:--

"The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies. Some one sent me
(perhaps you) the _Parthenon_, with a good review. The _Athenæum_[285]
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_.[286] 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
_Athenæum_ will hinder the sale greatly."

The Rev. M. J. Berkeley was the author of the notice in the _London
Review_, as my father learned from Sir J. D. Hooker, who added, "I
thought it very well done indeed. I have read a good deal of the
Orchid-book, and echo all he says."

To this my father replied (June 30th, 1862):--

"My dear old friend,--You speak of my warming the cockles of your heart,
but you will never know how often you have warmed mine. It is not your
approbation of my scientific work (though I care for that more than for
any one's): it is something deeper. To this day I remember keenly a
letter you wrote to me from Oxford, when I was at the Water-cure, and
how it cheered me when I was utterly weary of life. Well, my Orchid-book
is a success (but I do not know whether it sells)."

In another letter to the same friend, he wrote:--

"You have pleased me much by what you say in regard to Bentham and
Oliver approving of my book; for I had got a sort of nervousness, and
doubted whether I had not made an egregious fool of myself, and
concocted pleasant little stinging 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

He wrote too, to Asa Gray:--

"Your generous sympathy makes you over-estimate what you have read of my
Orchid-book. But your letter of May 18th and 26th has given me an almost
foolish amount of satisfaction. The subject interested me, I knew,
beyond its real value; but I had lately got to think that I had made
myself a complete fool by publishing in a semi-popular form. Now I shall
confidently defy the world.... No doubt my volume contains much error:
how curiously 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

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 Dr. Gray, "I am
fairly astonished at the success of my book with botanists." Among
naturalists who were not botanists, Lyell was pre-eminent in his
appreciation of the book. I have no means of knowing when he read it,
but in later life, as I learn from Professor Judd, he was enthusiastic
in praise of the _Fertilisation of Orchids_, which he considered "next
to the _Origin_, as the most valuable of all Darwin's works." Among the
general public the author did not at first hear of many disciples, thus
he wrote to his cousin Fox in September 1862: "Hardly any one not a
botanist, except yourself, as far as I know, has cared for it."

If we examine the literature relating to the fertilisation of flowers,
we do not find that this new branch of study showed any great activity
immediately after the publication of the Orchid-book. There are a few
papers by Asa Gray, in 1862 and 1863, by Hildebrand in 1864, and by
Moggridge in 1865, but the great mass of work by Axell, Delpino,
Hildebrand, and the Müllers, did not begin to appear until about 1867.
The period during which the new views were being assimilated, and before
they became thoroughly fruitful, was, however, surprisingly short. The
later activity in this department may be roughly gauged by the fact that
the valuable 'Bibliography,' given by Professor D'Arcy Thompson in his
translation of Müller's _Befruchtung_ (1883),[287] contains references
to 814 papers.

In 1877 a second edition of the _Fertilisation of Orchids_ was
published, the first edition having been for some time out of print. The
new edition was remodelled and almost rewritten, and a large amount of
new matter added, much of which the author owed to his friend Fritz

With regard to this edition he wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book. After much doubt I
have resolved to act in this way with all my books for the future; that
is to correct them once and never touch them again, so as to use the
small quantity of work left in me for new matter."

One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in a letter to
Mr. Bentham, February 16, 1880. It shows the amount of pleasure which
this subject gave to my father, and (what is characteristic of him) that
his reminiscence of the work was one of delight in the observations
which preceded its 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."

_The Effect of Cross-and Self-fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.
Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same species._

Two other books bearing on the problem of sex in plants require a brief
notice. _The Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation_, published in
1876, is one of his most important works, and at the same time one of
the most unreadable to any but the professed naturalist. Its value lies
in the proof it offers of the increased vigour given to the offspring by
the act of cross-fertilisation. It is the complement of the Orchid book
because it makes us understand the advantage gained by the mechanisms
for insuring cross-fertilisation described in that work.

The book is also valuable in another respect, because it throws light on
the difficult problems of the origin of sexuality. The increased vigour
resulting from cross-fertilisation is allied in the closest manner to
the advantage gained by change of conditions. So strongly is this the
case, that in some instances cross-fertilisation gives no advantage to
the offspring, unless the parents have lived under slightly different
conditions. So that the really important thing is not that two
individuals of different _blood_ shall unite, but two individuals which
have been subjected to different conditions. We are thus led to believe
that sexuality is a means for infusing vigour into the offspring by the
coalescence of differentiated elements, an advantage which could not
accompany asexual reproductions.

It is remarkable that this book, the result of eleven years of
experimental work, owed its origin to a chance observation. My father
had raised two beds of _Linaria vulgaris_--one set being the offspring
of cross and the other of self-fertilisation. The plants were grown for
the sake of some observations on inheritance, and not with any view to
cross-breeding, and he was astonished to observe that the offspring of
self-fertilisation were clearly less vigorous than the others. It seemed
incredible to him that this result could be due to a single act of
self-fertilisation, and it was only in the following year, when
precisely the same result occurred in the case of a similar experiment
on inheritance in carnations, that his attention was "thoroughly
aroused," and that he determined to make a series of experiments
specially directed to the question.

The volume on _Forms of Flowers_ was published in 1877, and was
dedicated by the author to Professor Asa Gray, "as a small tribute of
respect and affection." It consists of certain earlier papers re-edited,
with the addition of a quantity of new matter. The subjects treated in
the book are:--

     (i.) Heterostyled Plants.

     (ii.) Polygamous, Dioecious, and Gynodioecious Plants.

     (iii.) Cleistogamic Flowers.

The nature of heterostyled plants may be illustrated in the primrose,
one of the best known examples of the class. If a number of primroses be
gathered, it will be found that some plants yield nothing but "pin-eyed"
flowers, in which the style (or organ for the transmission of the pollen
to the ovule) is long, while the others yield only "thrum-eyed" flowers
with short styles. Thus primroses are divided into two sets or castes
differing structurally from each other. My father showed that they also
differ sexually, and that in fact the bond between the two castes more
nearly resembles that between separate sexes than any other known
relationship. Thus for example a long-styled primrose, though it can be
fertilised by its own pollen, is not _fully_ fertile unless it is
impregnated by the pollen of a short-styled flower. Heterostyled plants
are comparable to hermaphrodite animals, such as snails, which require
the concourse of two individuals, although each possesses both the
sexual elements. The difference is that in the case of the primrose it
is _perfect fertility_, and not simply _fertility_, that depends on the
mutual action of the two sets of individuals.

The work on heterostyled plants has a special bearing, to which the
author attached much importance, on the problem of the origin of

He found that a wonderfully close parallelism exists between
hybridisation (_i.e._ crosses between distinct species), and certain
forms of fertilisation among heterostyled plants. So that it is hardly
an exaggeration to say that the "illegitimately" reared seedlings are
hybrids, although both their parents belong to identically the same
species. In a letter to Professor Huxley, given in the second volume of
the _Life and Letters_ (p. 384), my father writes as if his researches
on heterostyled plants tended to make him believe that sterility is a
selected or acquired quality. But in his later publications, _e.g._ in
the sixth edition of the _Origin_, he adheres to the belief that
sterility is an incidental[289] rather than a selected quality. The
result of his work on heterostyled plants is of importance as showing
that sterility is no test of specific distinctness, and that it depends
on differentiation of the sexual elements which is independent of any
racial difference. I imagine that it was his instinctive love of making
out a difficulty which to a great extent kept him at work so patiently
on the heterostyled plants. But it was the fact that general conclusions
of the above character could be drawn from his results which made him
think his results worthy of publication.


[269] The "Genealogy of Animals" (_The Academy_, 1869), reprinted in
_Critiques and Addresses_.

[270] An English edition is published by the Clarendon Press, 1890.

[271] Sachs, _Geschichte d. Botanik_, p. 419.

[272] That is to say, flowers possessing both stamens, or male organs,
and pistils or female organs.

[273] Christian Conrad Sprengel, born 1750, died 1816.

[274] _Fertilisation of Flowers_ (Eng. Trans.) 1883, p. 3.

[275] _Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Baue und in der Befruchtung
der Blumen._ Berlin, 1793.

[276] The order to which the pea and bean belong.

[277] _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."

[278] The sweet pea and everlasting pea belong to the genus Lathyrus.

[279] _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 1858, p. 828.

[280] He published a short paper on the manner of fertilisation of this
flower, in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_ 1871, p. 1166.

[281] The woodpecker was one of his stock examples of adaptation.

[282] It is a modification of the upper stigma.

[283] This rather obscure statement may be paraphrased thus:--

The machinery is so perfect that the plant can afford to minimise the
amount of pollen produced. Where the machinery for pollen distribution
is of a cruder sort, for instance where it is carried by the wind,
enormous quantities are produced, _e.g._ in the fir tree.

[284] "Darwin considéré, &c.," _Archives des Sciences Physiques et
Naturelles_ 3ème période. Tome vii. 481, 1882.

[285] May 24th, 1862.

[286] June 14th, 1862.

[287] My father's "Prefatory Notice" to this work is dated February 6th,
1882, and is therefore almost the last of his writings.

[288] See Autobiography, p. 48.

[289] The pollen or fertilising element is in each species adapted to
produce a certain change in the egg-cell (or female element), just as a
key is adapted to a lock. If a key opens a lock for which it was never
intended it is an incidental result. In the same way if the pollen of
species of A. proves to be capable of fertilising the egg-cell of
species B. we may call it incidental.


     _Climbing Plants; Power of Movement in Plants; Insectivorous
     Plants; Kew Index of Plant Names._

My father mentions in his _Autobiography_ (p. 45) that he was led to
take up the subject of climbing plants by reading Dr. Gray's paper,
"Note on the Coiling of the Tendrils of Plants."[290] 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 1827.

_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 modifications as
anything in Orchids. About the _spontaneous_ movement (independent of
touch) of the tendrils and upper internodes, I am rather taken aback by
your saying, "is it not well known?" I can find nothing in any book
which I have.... The spontaneous movement of the tendrils is independent
of the movement of the upper 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 Apocyneæ 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,
but 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.[291] Pray tell me whether anything has
been published on this subject? I hate publishing what is old; but I
shall hardly regret my work if it is old, as it has much amused me....

He soon found that his observations were not entirely novel, and wrote
to Hooker: "I have now read two German books, and all I believe that has
been written on climbers, and it has stirred me up to find that I have a
good deal of new matter. It is strange, but I really think no one has
explained simple twining plants. These books have stirred me up, and
made me wish for plants specified in them."

He continued his observations on climbing plants during the prolonged
illness from which he suffered in the autumn of 1863, and in the
following spring. He wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker, apparently in March

"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."

A letter to Dr. Gray, April 9, 1865, has a word or two on the subject.--

"I have began correcting proofs of my paper on Climbing Plants. I
suppose I shall be able to send you a copy in four or five weeks. I
think it contains a good deal new, and some curious points, but it is so
fearfully long, that no one will ever read it. If, however, you do not
_skim_ through it, you will be an unnatural parent, for it is your

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 received yesterday your article[292] 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 excellently and given the whole essence of my paper.... I have
had a letter from a good zoologist in S. Brazil, F. Müller, who has been
stirred up to observe climbers, and gives me some curious cases of
_branch_-climbers, in which branches are converted into tendrils, and
then continue to grow and throw out leaves and new branches, and then
lose their tendril character."

The paper on Climbing Plants was republished in 1875, as a separate
book. The author had been unable to give his customary amount of care to
the style of the original essay, owing to the fact that it was written
during a period of continued ill-health, and it was now found to require
a great deal of 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 year.

_The Power of Movement in Plants._ 1880.

The few sentences in the autobiographical chapter give with sufficient
clearness the connection between the _Power of Movement_ and the book on
Climbing Plants. The central idea of the book is that the movements of
plants in relation to light, gravitation, &c., are modifications of a
spontaneous tendency to revolve or circumnutate, which is widely
inherent in the growing parts of plants. This conception has not been
generally adopted, and has not taken a place among the canons of
orthodox physiology. The book has been treated by Professor Sachs with a
few words of professorial contempt; and by Professor Wiesner it has been
honoured by careful and generously expressed criticism.

Mr. Thiselton Dyer[293] has well said: "Whether this masterly
conception of the unity of what has hitherto seemed a chaos of unrelated
phenomena will be sustained, time alone will show. But no one can doubt
the importance of what Mr. Darwin has done, in showing that for the
future the phenomena of plant movement can and indeed must be studied
from a single point of view."

The work was begun in the summer of 1877, after the publication of
_Different Forms of Flowers_, and by the autumn his enthusiasm for the
subject was thoroughly established, and he wrote to Mr. Dyer: "I am all
on fire at the work." At this time he was studying the movements of
cotyledons, in which the sleep of plants is to be observed in its
simplest form; in the following spring he was trying to discover what
useful purpose those sleep-movements could serve, and wrote to Sir
Joseph Hooker (March 25th, 1878):--

"I think we have _proved_ that the sleep of plants is to lessen the
injury to the leaves from radiation. This has interested me much, and
has cost us great labour, as it has been a problem since the time of
Linnæus. But we have killed or badly injured a multitude of plants.
N.B.--_Oxalis carnosa_ was most valuable, but last night was killed."

The book was published on November 6, 1880, and 1500 copies were
disposed of at Mr. Murray's sale. With regard to it he wrote to Sir J.
D. Hooker (November 23):--

"Your note has pleased me much--for I did not expect that you would have
had time to read _any_ of it. Read the last chapter, and you will know
the whole result, but without the evidence. The case, however, of
radicles bending after 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. But I will bother you no more about my book. The
sensitiveness of seedlings to light is marvellous."

To another friend, Mr. Thiselton Dyer, he wrote (November 28, 1880):

"Very many thanks for your most kind note, but you think too highly of
our work, not but what this is very pleasant.... Many of the Germans are
very contemptuous about making out the use of organs; but they may sneer
the souls out of their bodies, and I for one shall think it the most
interesting part of Natural History. Indeed you are greatly mistaken if
you doubt for one moment on the very great value of your constant and
most kind assistance to us."

The book was widely reviewed, and excited much interest among the
general public. The following letter refers to a leading article in the
_Times_, November 20, 1880:--

_C. D. to Mrs. Haliburton._[294] 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;[295] but
I remember the pride which I felt when I saw in a book about beetles the
impressive words "captured by C. Darwin." Captured sounded so grand
compared with caught. This seemed to me glory enough for any man! I do
not know in the least what made the _Times_ glorify me, for it has
sometimes pitched into me ferociously.

I should very much like to see you again, but you would find a visit
here very dull, for we feel very old and have no amusement, and lead a
solitary life. But we intend in a few weeks to spend a few days in
London, and then if you have anything else to do in London, you would
perhaps come and lunch with us.

Believe me, my dear Sarah,
Yours gratefully and affectionately.

The following letter was called forth by the publication of a volume
devoted to the criticism of the _Power of Movement in Plants_ by an
accomplished botanist, Dr. Julius Wiesner, Professor of Botany in the
University of Vienna:

_C. D. to Julius Wiesner._ Down, October 25th, 1881.

MY DEAR SIR,--I have now finished your book,[296] 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 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 seedlings 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 rectangularly when the light is horizontal. Nevertheless the
bending 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, with
increasing distance in the same ratio as the direct light; but he doubts
whether this _necessary_ correction will account for the very little
difference in the heliotropic curvature of the plants in the successive

With respect to the sensitiveness of the tips of roots to contact, I
cannot admit your view until it is proved that I am in error about bits
of card attached by liquid gum causing movement; whereas no movement
was caused if the card remained separated from the tip by a layer of the
liquid gum. The fact also of thicker and thinner bits of card attached
on opposite sides of the same root by shellac, causing movement in one
direction, has to be explained. You often speak of the tip having been
injured; but externally there was no sign of injury: and when the tip
was plainly injured, the extreme part became curved _towards_ the
injured side. I can no more believe that the tip was injured by the bits
of card, at least when attached by gum-water, than that the glands of
Drosera are injured by a particle of thread or hair placed on it, or
that the human tongue is so when it feels any such object.

About the most important subject in my book, namely circumnutation, I
can only say that I feel utterly bewildered at the difference in our
conclusions; but I could not fully understand some parts which my son
Francis will be able to translate to me when he returns home. The
greater part of your book is beautifully clear.

Finally, I wish that I had enough strength and spirit to commence a
fresh set of experiments, and publish the results, with a full
recantation of my errors when convinced of them; but I am too old for
such an undertaking, nor do I suppose that I shall be able to do much,
or any more, original work. I imagine that I see one possible source of
error in your beautiful experiment of a plant rotating and exposed to a
lateral light.

With high respect, and with sincere thanks for the kind manner in which
you have treated me and my mistakes, I remain,

My dear Sir, yours sincerely.

_Insectivorous Plants._

In the summer of 1860 he was staying at the house of his sister-in-law,
Miss Wedgwood, in Ashdown Forest whence he wrote (July 29, 1860), to Sir
Joseph Hooker:--

"Latterly I have done nothing here; but at first I amused myself with a
few observations on the insect-catching power of Drosera:[297] and I
must consult you some time whether my 'twaddle' is worth communicating
to the Linnean Society."

In August he wrote to the same friend:--

"I will gratefully send my notes on Drosera when copied by my copier:
the subject amused me when I had nothing to do."

He has described in the _Autobiography_ (p. 47), the general nature of
these early experiments. He noticed insects sticking to the leaves, and
finding that flies, &c., placed on the adhesive glands, were held fast
and embraced, he suspected that the captured prey was digested and
absorbed by the leaves. He therefore tried the effect on the leaves of
various nitrogenous fluids--with results which, as far as they went,
verified his surmise. In September, 1860, he wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I have been infinitely amused by working at Drosera: the movements are
really curious; and the manner in which the leaves detect certain
nitrogenous compounds is marvellous. You will laugh; but it is, at
present, my full belief (after endless experiments) that they detect
(and move in consequence of) the 1/2880 part of a single grain of
nitrate of ammonia; but the muriate and sulphate of ammonia bother their
chemical skill, and they cannot make anything of the nitrogen in these

Later in the autumn he was again obliged to leave home for Eastbourne,
where he continued his work on Drosera.

On his return home he wrote to Lyell (November 1860):--

"I will and must finish my Drosera MS., which will take me a week, for,
at the present moment, I care more about Drosera than the origin of all
the species in the world. But I will not publish on Drosera till next
year, for I am frightened and astounded at my results. I declare it is a
certain fact, that one organ is so sensitive to touch, that a weight
seventy-eight-times less than that, viz., 1/1000 of a grain, which will
move the best chemical balance, suffices to cause a conspicuous
movement. Is it not curious that a plant should be far more sensitive to
the touch than any nerve in the human body? Yet I am perfectly sure that
this is true. When I am on my hobby-horse, I never can resist telling my
friends how well my hobby goes, so you must forgive the rider."

The work was continued, as a holiday task, at Bournemouth, where he
stayed during the autumn of 1862.

A long break now ensued in his work on insectivorous plants, and it was
not till 1872 that the subject seriously occupied him again. A passage
in a letter to Dr. Asa Gray, written in 1863 or 1864, shows, however,
that the question was not altogether absent from his mind in the

"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 experiments on it."

He notes in his diary that the last proof of the _Expression of the
Emotions_ was finished on August 22, 1872, and that he began to work on
Drosera on the following day.

_C. D. to Asa Gray_ [Sevenoaks], October 22 [1872].

... I have worked pretty hard for four or five weeks on Drosera, and
then broke down; so that we took a house near Sevenoaks for three weeks
(where I now am) to get complete rest. I have very little power of
working now, and must put off the rest of the work on Drosera till next
spring, as my plants are dying. It is an endless subject, and I must cut
it short, and for this reason shall not do much on Dionæa. 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....

_C. D. to Asa Gray_, Down, June 3 [1874].

... I am now hard at work getting my book on Drosera & Co. ready for the
printers, but it will take some time, for I am always finding out new
points to observe. I think you will be interested by my observations on
the digestive process in Drosera; the secretion contains an acid of the
acetic series, and some ferment closely analogous to, but not identical
with, pepsine; for I have been making a long series of comparative
trials. No human being will believe what I shall publish about the
smallness of the doses of phosphate of ammonia which act....

The manuscript of _Insectivorous Plants_ was finished in March 1875. He
seems to have been more than usually oppressed by the writing of this
book, thus he wrote to Sir J. D. Hooker in February:--

"You ask about my book, and all that I can say is that I am ready to
commit suicide; I thought it was decently written, but find so much
wants rewriting, that it will not be ready to go to printers for two
months, and will then make a confoundedly big book. Murray will say that
it is no use publishing in the middle of summer, so I do not know what
will be the upshot; but I begin to think that every one who publishes a
book is a fool."

The book was published on July 2nd, 1875, and 2700 copies were sold out
of the edition of 3000.

_The Kew Index of Plant-Names._

Some account of my father's connection with the _Index of Plant-Names_,
now (1892) being printed by the Clarendon Press, will be found in Mr. B.
Daydon Jackson's paper in the _Journal of Botany_, 1887, p. 151. Mr.
Jackson quotes the following statement by Sir J. D. Hooker:--

"Shortly before his death, Mr. Charles Darwin informed Sir Joseph Hooker
that it was his intention to devote a considerable sum of money annually
for some years in aid or furtherance of some work or works of practical
utility to biological science, and to make provisions in his will in the
event of these not being completed during his lifetime.

"Amongst other objects connected with botanical science, Mr. Darwin
regarded with especial interest the importance of a complete index to
the names and authors of the genera and species of plants known to
botanists, together with their native countries. Steudel's _Nomenclator_
is the only existing work of this nature, and although now nearly half a
century old, Mr. Darwin had found it of great aid in his own researches.
It has been indispensable to every botanical institution, whether as a
list of all known flowering plants, as an indication of their authors,
or as a digest of botanical geography."

Since 1840, when the _Nomenclator_ was published, the number of
described plants may be said to have doubled, so that Steudel is now
seriously below the requirements of botanical work. To remedy this want,
the _Nomenclator_ has been from time to time posted up in an interleaved
copy in the Herbarium at Kew, by the help of "funds supplied by private

My father, like other botanists, had, as Sir Joseph Hooker points out,
experienced the value of Steudel's work. He obtained plants from all
sorts of sources, which were often incorrectly named, and he felt the
necessity of adhering to the accepted nomenclature so that he might
convey to other workers precise indications as to the plants which he
had studied. It was also frequently a matter of importance to him to
know the native country of his experimental plants. Thus it was natural
that he should recognise the desirability of completing and publishing
the interleaved volume at Kew. The wish to help in this object was
heightened by the admiration he felt for the results for which the world
has to thank the Royal Gardens at Kew, and by his gratitude for the
invaluable aid which for so many years he received from its Director and
his staff. He expressly stated that it was his wish "to aid in some way
the scientific work carried on at the Royal Gardens"[299]--which induced
him to offer to supply funds for the completion of the Kew

The following passage, for which I am indebted to Professor Judd, is of
interest, as illustrating, the motives that actuated my father in this
matter. Professor Judd writes:--

"On the occasion of my last visit to him, he told me that his income
having recently greatly increased, while his wants remained the same, he
was most anxious to devote what he could spare to the advancement of
Geology or Biology. He dwelt in the most touching manner on the fact
that he owed so much happiness and fame to the natural history sciences,
which had been the solace of what might have been a painful
existence;--and he begged me, if I knew of any research which could be
aided by a grant of a few hundreds of pounds, to let him know, as it
would be a delight to him to feel that he was helping in promoting the
progress of science. He informed me at the same time that he was making
the same suggestion to Sir Joseph Hooker and Professor Huxley with
respect to Botany and Zoology respectively. I was much impressed by the
earnestness, and, indeed, deep emotion, with which he spoke of his
indebtedness to Science, and his desire to promote its interests."

The plan of the proposed work having been carefully considered, Sir
Joseph Hooker was able to confide its elaboration in detail to Mr. B.
Daydon Jackson, Secretary of the Linnean Society, whose extensive
knowledge of botanical literature qualifies him for the task. My
father's original idea of producing a modern edition of Steudel's
_Nomenclator_ has been practically abandoned, the aim now kept in view
is rather to construct a list of genera and species (with references)
founded on Bentham and Hooker's _Genera Plantarum_. Under Sir Joseph
Hooker's supervision, the work, carried out with admirable zeal by Mr.
Jackson, goes steadily forward. The colossal nature of the undertaking
may be estimated by the fact that the manuscript of the _Index_ is at
the present time (1892) believed to weigh more than a ton.

The Kew 'Index,' will be a fitting memorial of my father: and his share
in its completion illustrates a part of his character--his ready
sympathy with work outside his own lines of investigation--and his
respect for minute and patient labour in all branches of science.


[290] _Proc. Amer. Acad. of Arts and Sciences_, 1858.

[291] This view is rejected by some botanists.

[292] In the September number of _Silliman's Journal_, concluded in the
January number, 1866.

[293] _Charles Darwin_, _Nature_ Series, p. 41.

[294] Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my father's early friend, the
late Mr. Owen, of Woodhouse.

[295] Mrs. Haliburton had reminded him of his saying as a boy that if
Eddowes' newspaper ever alluded to him as "our deserving
fellow-townsman," his ambition would be amply gratified.

[296] _Das Bewegungsvermögen der Pflanzen._ Vienna, 1881.

[297] The common sun-dew.

[298] _Kew Gardens Report_, 1881, p. 62.

[299] See _Nature_, January 5, 1882.



Some idea of the general course of my father's health may have been
gathered from the letters given in the preceding pages. The subject of
health appears more prominently than is often necessary in a Biography,
because it was, unfortunately, so real an element in determining the
outward form of his life.

My father was at one time in the hands of Dr. Bence Jones, from whose
treatment he certainly derived benefit. In later years he became a
patient of Sir Andrew Clark, under whose care he improved greatly in
general health. It was not only for his generously rendered service that
my father felt a debt of gratitude towards Sir Andrew Clark. He owed to
his cheering personal influence an often-repeated encouragement, which
latterly added something real to his happiness, and he found sincere
pleasure in Sir Andrew's friendship and kindness towards himself and his
children. During the last ten years of his life the state of his health
was a cause of satisfaction and hope to his family. His condition showed
signs of amendment in several particulars. He suffered less distress and
discomfort, and was able to work more steadily.

Scattered through his letters are one or two references to pain or
uneasiness felt in the region of the heart. How far these indicate that
the heart was affected early in life, I cannot pretend to say; in any
case it is certain that he had no serious or permanent trouble of this
nature until shortly before his death. In spite of the general
improvement in his health, which has been above alluded to, there was a
certain loss of physical vigour occasionally apparent during the last
few years of his life. This is illustrated by a sentence in a letter to
his old friend Sir James Sulivan, written on January 10, 1879: "My
scientific work tires me more than it used to do, but I have nothing
else to do, and whether one is worn out a year or two sooner or later
signifies but little."

A similar feeling is shown in a letter to Sir J. D. Hooker of June 15,
1881. My father was staying at Patterdale, and wrote: "I am rather
despondent about myself.... I have not the heart or strength to begin
any investigation lasting years, which is the only thing I enjoy, and I
have no little jobs which I can do."

In July, 1881, he wrote to Mr. Wallace: "We have just returned home
after spending five weeks on Ullswater; the scenery is quite charming,
but I cannot walk, and everything tires me, even seeing scenery.... What
I shall do with my few remaining years of life I can hardly tell. I have
everything to make me happy and contented, but life has become very
wearisome to me." He was, however, able to do a good deal of work, and
that of a trying sort,[300] during the autumn of 1881, but towards the
end of the year, he was clearly in need of rest: and during the winter
was in a lower condition than was usual with him.

On December 13, he went for a week to his daughter's house in Bryanston
Street. During his stay in London he went to call on Mr. Romanes, and
was seized when on the door-step with an attack apparently of the same
kind as those which afterwards became so frequent. The rest of the
incident, which I give in Mr. Romanes' words, is interesting too from a
different point of view, as giving one more illustration of my father's
scrupulous consideration for others:--

"I happened to be out, but my butler, observing that Mr. Darwin was ill,
asked him to come in. He said he would prefer going home, and although
the butler urged him to wait at least until a cab could be fetched, he
said he would rather not give so much trouble. For the same reason he
refused to allow the butler to accompany him. Accordingly he watched him
walking with difficulty towards the direction in which cabs were to be
met with, and saw that, when he had got about three hundred yards from
the house, he staggered and caught hold of the park-railings as if to
prevent himself from falling. The butler therefore hastened to his
assistance, but after a few seconds saw him turn round with the evident
purpose of retracing his steps to my house. However, after he had
returned part of the way he seems to have felt better, for he again
changed his mind, and proceeded to find a cab."

During the last week of February and in the beginning of March, attacks
of pain in the region of the heart, with irregularity of the pulse,
became frequent, coming on indeed nearly every afternoon. A seizure of
this sort occurred about March 7, when he was walking alone at a short
distance from the house; he got home with difficulty, and this was the
last time that he was able to reach his favourite 'Sand-walk.' Shortly
after this, his illness became obviously more serious and alarming, and
he was seen by Sir Andrew Clark, whose treatment was continued by Dr.
Norman Moore, of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and Dr. Allfrey, at that
time in practice at St. Mary Cray. He suffered from distressing
sensations of exhaustion and faintness, and seemed to recognise with
deep depression the fact that his working days were over. He gradually
recovered from this condition, and became more cheerful and hopeful, as
is shown in the following letter to Mr. Huxley, who was anxious that my
father should have closer medical supervision than the existing
arrangements allowed:--

"Down, March 27, 1882.

"MY DEAR HUXLEY,--Your most kind letter has been a real cordial to me. I
have felt better to-day than for three weeks, and have felt as yet no
pain. Your plan seems an excellent one, and I will probably act upon it,
unless I get very much better. Dr. Clark's kindness is unbounded to me,
but he is too busy to come here. Once again, accept my cordial thanks,
my dear old friend. I wish to God there were more automata[301] in the
world like you.

"Ever yours,

The allusion to Sir Andrew Clark requires a word of explanation. Sir
Andrew himself was ever ready to devote himself to my father, who
however, could not endure the thought of sending for him, knowing how
severely his great practice taxed his strength.

No especial change occurred during the beginning of April, but on
Saturday 15th he was seized with giddiness while sitting at dinner in
the evening, and fainted in an attempt to reach his sofa. On the 17th he
was again better, and in my temporary absence recorded for me the
progress of an experiment in which I was engaged. During the night of
April 18th, about a quarter to twelve, he had a severe attack and passed
into a faint, from which he was brought back to consciousness with great
difficulty. He seemed to recognise the approach of death, and said, "I
am not the least afraid to die." All the next morning he suffered from
terrible nausea and faintness, and hardly rallied before the end came.

He died at about four o'clock on Wednesday, April 19th, 1882, in the
74th year of his age.

I close the record of my father's life with a few words of retrospect
added to the manuscript of his _Autobiography_ in 1879:--

"As for myself, I believe that I have acted rightly in steadily
following and devoting my life to Science. I feel no remorse from having
committed any great sin, but have often and often regretted that I have
not done more direct good to my fellow creatures."


[300] On the action of carbonate of ammonia on roots and leaves.

[301] The allusion is to Mr. Huxley's address, "On the hypothesis that
animals are automata, and its history," given at the Belfast Meeting of
the British Association, 1874, and republished in _Science and Culture_.



On the Friday succeeding my father's death, the following letter, signed
by twenty Members of Parliament, was addressed to Dr. Bradley, Dean of

HOUSE OF COMMONS, April 21, 1882.

VERY REV. SIR,--We hope you will not think we are taking a liberty if we
venture to suggest that it would be acceptable to a very large number of
our fellow-countrymen of all classes and opinions that our illustrious
countryman, Mr. Darwin, should be buried in Westminster Abbey.

We remain, your obedient servants,


The Dean was abroad at the time, and telegraphed his cordial

The family had desired that my father should be buried at Down: with
regard to their wishes, Sir John Lubbock wrote:--

HOUSE OF COMMONS, April 25, 1882.

MY DEAR DARWIN,--I quite sympathise with your feeling, and personally I
should greatly have preferred that your father should have rested in
Down amongst us all. It is, I am sure, quite understood that the
initiative was not taken by you. Still, from a national point of view,
it is clearly right that he should be buried in the Abbey. I esteem it a
great privilege to be allowed to accompany my dear master to the grave.

Believe me, yours most sincerely,

The family gave up their first-formed plans, and the funeral took place
in Westminster Abbey on April 26th. The pall-bearers were:--

MR. JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL (American Minister),
MR. WILLIAM SPOTTISWOODE (President of the Royal Society),

The funeral was attended by the representatives of France, Germany,
Italy, Spain, Russia, and by those of the Universities and learned
Societies, as well as by large numbers of personal friends and
distinguished men.

The grave is in the north aisle of the Nave, close to the angle of the
choir-screen, and a few feet from the grave of Sir Isaac Newton. The
stone bears the inscription--

Born 12 February, 1809.
Died 19 April, 1882.



Date.|Description.      |Artist.          |In the Possession of
1838 |Water-colour      |G. Richmond      |The Family.
1851 |Lithograph        |Ipswich British  |
     |                  |  Assn. Series.  |
1853 |Chalk Drawing     |Samuel Lawrence  |The Family.
1853?|Chalk Drawing[302]|Samuel Lawrence  |Professor Hughes,
     |                  |                 |  Cambridge.
1869 |Bust, marble      |T. Woolner, R.A. |The Family.
1875 |Oil Painting[303] |W. Ouless, R.A.  |The Family.
     |Etched by         |P. Rajon.        |
1879 |Oil Painting      |W. B. Richmond   |The University of
     |                  |                 |  Cambridge.
1881 |Oil Painting[304] |Hon. John Collier|The Linnean Society.
     |Etched by         |Leopold Flameng  |


     |Statue[305]     |Joseph Boehm,    |Museum, South
     |                |  R.A.           |  Kensington.
     |Bust            |Chr. Lehr, Junr. |
     |Plaque          |T. Woolner, R.A.,|Christ's College, in
     |                |  and Josiah     |  Charles Darwin's
     |                |  Wedgwood and   |  Room.
     |                |  Sons.          |
     |Deep Medallion. |J. Boehm, R.A.   |In Westminster
     |                |                 |  Abbey.


*1854? By Messrs. Maull and Fox, engraved on wood for _Harper's
Magazine_ (Oct. 1884). Frontispiece, _Life and Letters_, vol. i.

1868 By the late Mrs. Cameron, reproduced in heliogravure by the
Cambridge Engraving Company for the present work.

*1870? By O. J. Rejlander, engraved on Steel by C. H. Jeens for _Nature_
(June 4, 1874).

*1874? By Major Darwin, engraved on wood for the _Century Magazine_
(Jan. 1883). Frontispiece, _Life and Letters_, vol. ii.

1881 By Messrs. Elliot and Fry, engraved on wood by G. Kruells, for vol.
iii. of the _Life and Letters_.

*The dates of these photographs must, from various causes, remain
uncertain. Owing to a loss of books by fire, Messrs. Maull and Fox can
give only an approximate date. Mr. Rejlander died some years ago, and
his business was broken up. My brother, Major Darwin, has no record of
the date at which his photograph was taken.


[302] Probably a sketch made at one of the sittings for the

[303] A _replica_ by the artist is in the possession of Christ's
College, Cambridge.

[304] A _replica_ by the artist is in the possession of W. E. Darwin,
Esq., Southampton.

[305] A cast from this work is now placed in the New Museums at


Abbott, F. E., letters to, on religious opinions, 55.

Aberdeen, British Association Meeting at, 1859.. 202.

Abstract ('Origin of Species'), 192, 193, 195, 196.

Agassiz, Louis, Professor, letter to, sending him the
    'Origin of Species,' 208;
  note on, and extract from letter to, 208;
  opinion of the book, 225;
  opposition to Darwin's views, 235;
  Asa Gray on the opinions of, 243.

Agassiz, Alexander, Professor, letter to:--on coral reefs, 282.

Agnosticism, 55.

Ainsworth, William, 12.

Albums of photographs received from Germany and Holland, 293.

Algebra, distaste for the study of, 17.

Allfrey, Dr., treatment by, 327.

American edition of the 'Origin,' 226.

---- Civil War, the, 249.

Ammonia, salts of, behaviour of the leaves of _Drosera_, towards, 320.

Andes, excursion across the, 136;
  Lyell on the slow rise of the, 153.

Animals, crossing of, 148.

'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' review of the
    'Origin' in the, 227.

Anti-Jacobin, 242, _note_, 243.

Ants, slave-making, 191.

Apocyneæ, twisting of shoots of, 313.

Apparatus, 92-94; purchase of, for the Zoological Station at Naples, 293.

Appletons' American reprints of the 'Origin,' 235.

Ascension, 30.

'Athenæum,' letter to the, 258;
  article in the, 257;
  reply to the article, 258.

---- review of the 'Origin' in the, 211, 212;
  reviews in the, of Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man,' and Huxley's 'Man's
    place in Nature,' 253, 257;
  review of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants,' in the, 268;
  review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' in the, 308.

Athenæum Club, 147.

'Atlantic Monthly,' Asa Gray's articles in the, 248.

Atolls, formation of, 282.

Audubon, 14.

Autobiography, 5-54.

'Automata,' 327.

Aveling, Dr., on C. Darwin's religious views, 65, _note_.

Babbage and Carlyle, 36.

Bachelor of Arts, degree taken, 18.

Bär, Karl Ernest von, 213.

Bahia, forest scenery at, 131;
  letter to R. W. Darwin from, 128.

Barmouth, visit to, 106.

Bates, H. W., paper on mimetic butterflies, 251;
  Darwin's opinion of, 251 _note_;
  'Naturalist on the Amazons,' opinion of, 251;
  letter to:--on his 'Insect-Fauna of the Amazons Valley,' 251.

_Beagle_, correspondence relating to the appointment to the, 115-123.

----, equipment of the, 125;
  accommodation on board the, 125;
  officers and crew of the, 126, 127, 130;
  manner of life on board the, 125.

_Beagle_, voyage of the, 25-30.

----, Zoology of the voyage of the, publication of the, 31.

Beans, stated to have grown on the wrong side of the pod, 52.

Bees, visits of, necessary for the impregnation of the Scarlet Bean, 301.

Bees' cells, Sedgwick on, 217.

---- combs, 195.

Beetles, collecting at, Cambridge, &c., 20, 23, 106, 109, 194.

Bell, Professor Thomas, 141.

'Bell-stone,' Shrewsbury, an erratic boulder, 14.

Beneficence, Evidence of, 236.

Bentham, G., approval of the work on the fertilisation of orchids, 308.

----, letter to, on orchids, 304, 310.

Berkeley, Rev. M. J., review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' by, 308.

'Bermuda Islands,' by Prof. A. Heilprin, 284.

'Bibliothèque Universelle de Genève,' review of the 'Origin' in the, 231.

Birds' nests, 195.

Blomefield, Rev. L., see JENYNS, REV. L.

"Bob," the retriever, 70.

Body-snatchers, arrest of, in Cambridge, 22.

Books, treatment of, 96.

Boott, Dr. Francis, 230.

Botanical work, scope and influence of C. Darwin's, 297, 298.

Botofogo Bay, letter to W. D. Fox from, 132, _note_.

Boulders, erratic, of South America, paper on the, 32, 149.

Bournemouth, residence at, 320.

Bowen, Prof. F., Asa Gray on the opinions of, 243.

Branch-climbers, 315.

Bressa Prize, award of the, by the Royal Academy of Turin, 293.

British Association, Sir C. Lyell's Presidential address to the,
    at Aberdeen, 1859.. 202;
  at Oxford, 236;
  action of, in connection with the question of vivisection, 288.

Broderip, W. J., 141.

Bronn, H. G., translator of the 'Origin' into German, 229.

Brown, Robert, acquaintance with, 34;
  recommendation of Sprengel's book, 300.

Buckle, Mr., meeting with, 35.

Bulwer's 'Professor Long,' 38.

Bunbury, Sir C., his opinion of the theory, 227.

Butler, Dr., schoolmaster at Shrewsbury, 8.

----, Rev. T., 106.

Caerdeon, holiday at, 273.

Cambridge, gun-practice at, 10;
  life at, 17-23, 30, 104-113, 142.

Cambridge, degree of LL.D. conferred by University of, 292;
  subscription portrait at, 292.

---- Philosophical Society, Sedgwick's attack before the, 234.

Camerarius on sexuality in plants, 299.

Canary Islands, projected excursion to, 114.

Cape Verd Islands, 129.

Carlyle, Thomas, acquaintance with, 36.

Carnarvon, Lord, proposed Act to amend the Law relating to cruelty
    to animals, 288.

Carnations, effects of cross- and self-fertilisation on, 311.

Carpenter, Dr. W. B., letters to:--on the 'Origin of Species,' 210;
  review in the 'Medico-Chirurgical Review,' 231;
  notice of the 'Foraminifera,' in the _Athenæum_, 257.

Carus, Prof. Victor, impressions of the Oxford discussion, 240.

----, his translations of the 'Origin' and other works, 262;
  letter to:--on earthworms, 285.

Case, Rev. G., schoolmaster at Shrewsbury, 6.

_Catasetum_, pollinia of, adhering to bees' backs, 305;
  sensitiveness of flowers of, 307.

Caterpillars, colouring of, 269, 270.

Cats and mice, 236.

Cattle, falsely described new breed of, 53.

Celebes, African character of productions of, 227.

Chambers, R., 179, 240.

Chemistry, study of, 11.

Chili, recent elevation of the coast of, 30.

Chimneys, employment of boys in sweeping, 161.

Christ's College, Cambridge, 104;
  bet as to height of combination-room of, 142.

Church, destination to the, 17, 108.

Cirripedia, work on the, 38, 155-158;
  confusion of nomenclature of, 159;
  completion of work on the, 163.

Clark, Sir Andrew, treatment by, 325, 327.

Classics, study of, at Dr. Butler's school, 9.

Climbing plants, 45, 313-315.

'Climbing Plants,' publication of the, 315.

Coal, supposed marine origin of, 158.

Coal-plants, letters to Sir Joseph Hooker on, 158, 159.

Cobbe, Miss, letter headed "Mr. Darwin and vivisection" in
    the _Times_, 290.

Coldstream, Dr., 12.

Collections made during the voyage of the 'Beagle,' destination
    of the, 141.

Collier, Hon. John, portrait of C. Darwin, by, 292.

Cooper, Miss, 'Journal of a Naturalist,' 249.

Copley medal, award of, to C. Darwin, 259.

Coral Reefs, work on, 32, 148;
  publication of, 149.

----, second edition of, 281;
  Semper's remarks on the, 281;
  Murray's criticisms, 282;
  third edition, 284.

---- and Islands, Prof. Geikie and Sir C. Lyell on the theory of, 152.

---- and Volcanoes, book on, 148.

'Corals and Coral Islands,' by Prof. J. D. Dana, 284.

Corrections on proofs, 201, 202, 205.

Correspondence, 74.

---- during life at Cambridge, 1828-31.. 104-113;
  relating to appointment on the 'Beagle,' 115-123;
  during the voyage of the _Beagle_, 125-139;
  during residence in London, 1836-42.. 140-49;
  on the subject of religion, 55-65;
  during residence at Down, 1842-1854.. 150-164;
  during the progress of the work on the 'Origin of Species,' 165-205;
  after the publication of the work, 206-265;
  on the 'Variation of Animals and Plants,' 265-268;
  on the work on 'Man,' 268-280;
  miscellaneous, 281-294;
  on botanical researches, 297-322.

Cotyledons, movements of, 316.

Crawford, John, review of the 'Origin,' 219.

Creation, objections to use of the term, 257.

Cross- and self-fertilisation in plants, 47.

Cross-fertilisation of hermaphrodite flowers, first ideas of the, 300.

Crossing of animals, 148.

_Cychnoches_, 306.

_Cypripedium_, pollen of, 305.

Dallas, W. S., translation of Fritz Müller's 'Für Darwin,' 262.

Dana, Professor J. D., defence of the theory of subsidence, 283;
  'Corals and Coral Islands,' 284.

Darwin, Charles R., 1;
  Autobiography of, 5-54;
  birth, 5;
  loss of mother, 5;
  day-school at Shrewsbury, 6;
  natural history tastes, 6;
  hoaxing, 7;
  humanity, 7;
  egg-collecting, 7;
  angling, 7;
  dragoon's funeral, 8;
  boarding school at Shrewsbury, 8;
  fondness for dogs, 7;
  classics, 9;
  liking for geometry, 9;
  reading, 10;
  fondness for shooting, 10;
  science, 10;
  at Edinburgh, 11-15;
  early medical practice at Shrewsbury, 12;
  tours in North Wales, 15;
  shooting at Woodhouse and Maer, 15, 16;
  at Cambridge, 17-23, 30;
  visit to North Wales, with Sedgwick, 24, 25;
  on the voyage of the 'Beagle,' 25-30;
  residence in London, 31-37;
  marriage, 32;
  residence at Down, 37;
  publications, 38-49;
  manner of writing, 49;
  mental qualities, 50-54.

Darwin, Reminiscences of, 66-103;
  personal appearance, 67, 68;
  mode of walking, 67;
  dissecting, 67;
  laughing, 68;
  gestures, 68;
  dress, 69;
  early rising, 69;
  work, 69;
  fondness for dogs, 69;
  walks, 70;
  love of flowers, 72;
  riding, 73;
  diet, 73, 76;
  correspondence, 74;
  business habits, 75;
  smoking, 75;
  snuff-taking, 75;
  reading aloud, 77;
  backgammon, 76;
  music, 77;
  bed-time, 77;
  art-criticism, 78;
  German reading, 79;
  general interest in science, 79;
  idleness a sign of ill-health, 80;
  aversion to public appearances, 80;
  visits, 81;
  holidays, 81;
  love of scenery, 81;
  visits to hydropathic establishments, 82;
  family relations, 82-87;
  hospitality, 87;
  conversational powers, 88-90;
  friends, 90;
  local influence, 90;
  mode of work, 91;
  literary style, 99;
  ill-health, 102.

----, Dr. Erasmus, life of, by Ernst Krause, 48, 286.

----, Erasmus Alvey, 3;
  letter from, 215.

----, Miss Susan, letters to:--relating the 'Beagle,'
    appointment, 118, 120;
  from Valparaiso, 135.

----, Mrs., letter to, with regard to the publication of the essay
    of 1844.. 171;
  letter to, from Moor Park, 184.

----, Reginald, letters to, on Dr. Erasmus Darwin's common-place book
    and papers, 286.

Darwin, Dr. Robert Waring, 1;
  his family, 3;
  letter to, in answer to objections to accept the appointment on the
    'Beagle,' 117;
  letter to, from Bahia, 128.

'Darwinismus,' 42.

Daubeny, Professor, 241;
  'On the final causes of the sexuality of plants,' 237.

Davidson, Mr., letter to, 278.

Dawes, Mr., 23.

De Candolle, Professor A., sending him the 'Origin of Species,' 209.

'Descent of Man,' work on the, 269;
  publication of the, 46, 271.

----, Reviews of the, in the 'Edinburgh Review,' 272;
  in the _Nonconformist_, 273;
  in the _Times_, 273;
  in the _Saturday Review_, 273;
  in the 'Quarterly Review,' 276.

Design in Nature, 63, 249;
  argument from, as to existence of God, 58.

----, evidence of, 236.

_Dielytra_, 301.

'Different Forms of Flowers,' publication of the, 48, 311.

Digestion in _Drosera_, 320, 321.

Dimorphism and trimorphism in plants, papers on, 45.

Divergence, principle of, 40.

Dohrn, Dr. Anton, letter to, offering to present apparatus to the
    Zoological station at Naples, 293.

Domestication, variation under, 174.

Down, residence at, 37, 150;
  daily life at, 66;
  local influence at, 90;
  sequestered situation of, 151.

Dragoon, funeral of a, 8.

Draper, Dr., paper before the British Association on the "Intellectual
    development of Europe," 237.

_Drosera_, observations on, 47, 319;
  action of glands of, 320;
  action of ammoniacal salts on the leaves of, 320.

Dunns, Rev. J., the supposed author of a review in the 'North British
    Review,' 235.

Dutch translation of the 'Origin,' 247.

Dyer, W. Thiselton, on Mr. Darwin's botanical work, 298;
  on the 'Power of Movement in Plants,' 315;
  note to, on the life of Erasmus Darwin, 286.

----, letter to:--on movement in plants, 316.

Earthquakes, paper on, 32.

Earthworms, paper on the formation of mould by the agency of, 32, 49;
  first observations on work done by, 144;
  work on, 284;
  publication of, 285.

Edinburgh, Plinian Society, 13;
  Royal Medical Society, 14;
  Wernerian Society, 14;
  lectures on Geology and Zoology in, 14.

----, studies at, 11-15.

'Edinburgh Review,' review of the 'Origin' in the, 232, 233, 235;
  review of the 'Descent of Man' in the, 272.

'Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom,'
    publication of the, 47, 48, 310.

Elie de Beaumont's theory, 146.

England, spread of the Descent-theory in, 264.

_English Churchman_, review of the 'Origin' in the, 241.

Engravings, fondness for, 107.

Entomological Society, concurrence of the members of the, 264.

_Epidendrum_, 306.

Equator, ceremony at crossing the, 130.

Erratic blocks, at Glen Roy, 147.

---- boulders of South America, paper on the, 32, 149.

European opinions of Darwin's work, Dr. Falconer on, 247.

Evolution, progress of the theory of, 165, 253, 271, 273.

Experiment, love of, 94.

Expression in man, 224, 270.

---- in the Malays, 270.

---- of the Emotions, work on the, 268.

'Expression of the Emotions in Men
and Animals,' publication of the, 47, 279.

Eye, structure of the, 208, 215, 227.

Falconer, Dr. Hugh, 247.

----, claim of priority against Lyell, 257;
  letter from, offering a live _Proteus_ and reporting on continental
    opinion, 247;
  letter to, 247;
  sending him the 'Origin of Species,' 209.

Family relations, 82-87.

Farrer, Sir Thomas, letter to, on earthworms, 285.

Fawcett, Henry, on Huxley's reply to the Bishop of Oxford, 239, _note_.

Fernando Noronha, visit to, 131.

'Fertilisation of Orchids,' publication of the, 44, 48, 308.

'---- of Orchids,' publication of second edition of the, 310.

'---- of Orchids,' reviews of the; in the 'Parthenon,' 308;
  in the _Athenæum_, 308;
  in the 'London Review,' 308;
  in _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 309.

----, cross- and self-, in the vegetable kingdom, 310-312.

----, of flowers, bibliography of the, 310.

Fish swallowing seeds, 180.

Fitz-Roy, Capt., 25;
  character of, 26;
  by Rev. G. Peacock, 115;
  Darwin's impression of, 119, 120;
  discipline on board the 'Beagle,' 127;
  letter to, from Shrewsbury, 140.

Fitzwilliam Gallery, Cambridge, 19.

Flourens, 'Examen du livre de M. Darwin,' 261.

Flowers, adaptation of, to visits of insects, 303;
  different forms of, on plants of the same species, 48, 310;
  fertilisation of, 297-312;
  hermaphrodite, first ideas of cross-fertilisation of, 300;
  irregular, all adapted for visits of insects, 303.

_Flustra_, paper on the larvæ of, 13.

Forbes, David, on the geology of Chile, 156.

Fordyce, J., extract from letter to, 55.

'Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the action of Worms,'
    publication of the, 49, 285;
  unexpected success of the, 285.

Fossil bones, given to the College of Surgeons, 142.

Fox, Rev. William Darwin, 21;
  letters to, 110-113, 114, 181;
  from Botofogo Bay, 132;
  in 1836-1842: 143, 148, 149;
  on the house at Down, 150;
  on their respective families, 160;
  on family matters, 194;
  on the progress of the work, 181, 183, 196;
  on the award of the Copley Medal, 259.

France and Germany, contrast of progress of theory in, 261.

Fremantle, Mr., on the Oxford meeting of the British Association, 238.

French, translation of the 'Origin,' 246;
  third edition of the, published, 275.

---- translation of the 'Origin' from the fifth English edition,
    arrangements for the, 275.

_Fumaria_, 301.

Funeral in Westminster Abbey, 329.

Galapagos, 29.

Galton, Francis, note to, on the life of Erasmus Darwin, 287.

_Gardeners' Chronicle_, review of the 'Origin' in the, 224;
  Mr. Patrick Matthew's claim of priority in the, 232;
  review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' in the, 309.

Geikie, Prof. Archibald, notes on the work on Coral Reefs, 152, 182;
  notes on the work on Volcanic Islands, 153;
  on Darwin's theory of the parallel roads of Glen Roy, 145.

Geoffrey St. Hilaire, 207.

'Geological Observations on South America,' 38;
  publication of the, 156.

'Geological Observations on Volcanic Islands,' publication of the, 152;
  Prof. Geikie's notes on the, 153.

Geological Society, secretaryship of the, 31, 144.

Geological work in the Andes, 136.

'Geologist,' review of the 'Origin' in the, 250.

Geology, commencement of the study of, 24, 113;
  lectures on, in Edinburgh, 14;
  predilection for, 134, 135;
  study of, during the _Beagle's_ voyage, 27.

German translation of the 'Origin of Species,' 247.

Germany, Häckel's influence in the spread of Darwinism, 262.

----, photograph-album received from, 293.

----, reception of Darwinistic views in, 247.

---- and France, contrast of progress of theory in, 261.

Glacial period, influence of the, on distribution, 43.

Glacier action in North Wales, 32.

Glands, sticky, of the pollinia, 304.

Glen Roy, visit to, and paper on, 31;
  expedition to, 145.

_Glossotherium_, 142.

Glutton Club, 107.

Gorilla, brain of, compared with that of man, 237.

Gower Street, Upper, residence in, 32, 148.

Graham, W., letter to, 63.

Grant, Dr. R. E., 12;
  an evolutionist, 169.

Gravity, light, &c., acting as stimuli, 318.

Gray, Dr. Asa, comparison of rain drops and variations, 62;
  letter from, to J. D. Hooker, on the 'Origin of Species,' 224;
  articles in the 'Atlantic Monthly,' 248;
  'Darwiniana,' 248;
  on the aphorism, "Nature abhors close fertilisation," 301;
  "Note on the coiling of the Tendrils of Plants," 313.

----, letters to: on Design in Nature, 63;
  with abstract of the theory of the 'Origin of Species,' 188;
  sending him the 'Origin of Species,' 209;
  suggesting an American edition, 225;
  on Sedgwick's and Pictet's reviews, 231;
  on notices in the 'North British' and 'Edinburgh' Reviews, and
    on the theological view, 235;
  on the position of Profs. Agassiz and Bowen, 243;
  on his article in the 'Atlantic Monthly,' 248;
  on change of species by descent, 246;
  on design, 249;
  on the American war, 249;
  on the 'Descent of Man,' 271;
  on the biographical notice in 'Nature,' 291;
  on their election to the French Institute, 292;
  on fertilisation of Papilionaceous flowers and _Lobelia_ by
    insects, 301, 302;
  on the structure of irregular flowers, 303;
  on Orchids, 304, 305, 309, 310;
  on movement of tendrils, 313;
  on climbing plants, 314;
  on _Drosera_, 320, 321.

Great Marlborough Street, residence in, 31, 142.

Gretton, Mr., his 'Memory's Harkback,' 8.

Grote, A., meeting with, 36.

Gully, Dr., 160.

Günther, Dr. A., letter to:--on sexual differences, 270.

Häckel, Professor Ernst, embryological researches of, 43;
  influence of, in the spread of Darwinism in Germany, 262.

----, letters to:--on the progress of Evolution in England, 263;
  on his works, 264;
  on the 'Descent of Man,' 272;
  on the 'Expression of the Emotions,' 279.

Häckel's 'Generelle Morphologie,' 'Radiolaria,' 'Schöpfungs-Geschichte,'
    and 'Ursprung des Menschen-Geschlechts,' 262, 263.

---- 'Natürliche Schöpfungs-Geschichte,' 263;
  Huxley's opinion of, 263.

Hague, James, on the reception of the 'Descent of Man,' 272.

Haliburton, Mrs., letter to, on the 'Expression of the Emotions,' 279;
  letter to, 317.

Hardie, Mr., 12.

Harris, William Snow, 122.

Haughton, Professor S., opinion on the new views of Wallace and
    Darwin, 41;
  criticism on the theory of the origin of species, 200.

Health, 68;
  improved during the last ten years of life, 325.

Heart, pain felt in the region of the, 28, 325, 326.

Heilprin, Professor A., 'The Bermuda Islands,' 284.

Heliotropism of seedlings, 318.

Henslow, Professor, lectures by, at Cambridge, 18;
  introduction to, 21;
  intimacy with, 107, 113;
  his opinion of Lyell's 'Principles,' 33;
  of the Darwinian theory, 227.

----, letter from, on the offer of the appointment to the 'Beagle,' 116.

----, letter to, from Rev. G. Peacock, 115.

----, letters to:--relating to the appointment to the 'Beagle,' 121, 122;
  from Rio de Janeiro, 134;
  from Sydney, 138;
  from Shrewsbury, 139;
  as to destination of specimens collected during the voyage of the
    'Beagle,' 140.

----, letters to:--1836-1842, 144;
  sending him the 'Origin,' 209.

Herbert, John Maurice, 19;
  anecdotes from, 105, 106, 108;
  letters to, 109;
  on the 'South American Geology,' 154.

Hermaphrodite flowers, first idea of cross-fertilisation of, 300.

Herschel, Sir J., acquaintance with, 34;
  letter from Sir C. Lyell to, on the theory of coral-reefs, 153;
  his opinion of the 'Origin,' 220.

Heterostyled plants, 311;
  some forms of fertilisation of, analogous to hybridisation, 312.

'Historical Sketch of the Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin
    of Species,' 246.

Hoaxes, 53.

Holidays, 81.

Holland, photograph-album received from, 293.

Holland, Sir H., his opinions of the theory, 215.

Holmgren, Frithiof, letter to, on vivisection, 289.

Hooker, Sir J. D., on the training obtained by the work on
    Cirripedes, 156;
  letters from, on the 'Origin of Species,' 188, 211, 220;
  speech at Oxford, in answer to Bishop Wilberforce, 239;
  review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' by, 309.

----, letters to, 158;
  on coal-plants, 158, 159;
  announcing death of R. W. Darwin, and an intention to try
    water-cure, 160;
  on the award of the Royal Society's Medal, 162;
  on the theory of the origin of species, 173, 177;
  cirripedial work, 177;
  on the Philosophical Club, 178;
  on the germination of soaked seeds, 179, 180;
  on the preparation of a sketch of the theory of species, 181;
  on the papers read before the Linnean Society, 187, 190;
  on the 'Abstract,' 192, 193, 194, 200;
  on thistle-seeds, 193;
  on Wallace's letter, 194;
  on the arrangement with Mr. Murray, 198;
  on Professor Haughton's remarks, 200;
  on style and variability, 201;
  on the completion of proof-sheets, 202;
  on the review of the 'Origin' in the _Athenæum_, 211, 212;
  on his review in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 224;
  on the progress of opinion, 230;
  on Mr. Matthew's claim of priority and the 'Edinburgh Review,' 232;
  on the Cambridge opposition, 234;
  on the British Association discussion, 241;
  on the review in the 'Quarterly,' 242;
  on the corrections in the new edition, 246;
  on Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man,' 253;
  on letters in the papers, 259;
  on the completion and publication of the book on 'Variation under
    Domestication,' 266, 267;
  on pangenesis, 266;
  on work, 269;
  on a visit to Wales, 273;
  on a new French translation of the 'Origin,' 275;
  on the life of Erasmus Darwin, 287;
  on Mr. Ouless' portrait, 292;
  on the earthworm, 285;
  on the fertilisation of Orchids, 297, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307;
  on establishing a hot-house, 307;
  on his review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' 309;
  on climbing plants, 314:
  on the 'Insectivorous Plants,' 319, 321;
  on the movements of plants, 316;
  on health and work, 326.

Hooker, Sir J. D., 'Himalayan Journal,' 162.

Horner, Leonard, 14.

Horses, humanity to, 287.

Hot-house, building of, 307.

Humboldt, Baron A. von, meeting with, 34;
  his opinion of C. Darwin, 155.

Humboldt's 'Personal Narrative,' 23.

Huth, Mr., on 'Consanguineous Marriage,' 53.

Hutton, Prof. F. W., letter to, on his review of the 'Origin,' 250.

Huxley, Prof. T. H., on the value as training, of Darwin's work on the
    Cirripedes, 157;
  on the theory of evolution, 155-169;
  review of the 'Origin' in the 'Westminster Review,' 231;
  reply to Owen, on the Brain in Man and the Gorilla, 237;
  speech at Oxford, in answer to the Bishop, 238;
  lectures on 'Our Knowledge of the causes of Organic
    Nature,' 253, _note_;
  opinion of Häckel's work, 263;
  on the progress of the doctrine of evolution, 271;
  article in the 'Contemporary Review,' against Mivart, and the
    Quarterly reviewer of the 'Descent of Man,' 276;
  lecture on 'the Coming of Age of the Origin of Species,' 294;
  on teleology, 298.

----, letters from, on the 'Origin of Species,' 213;
  on the discussion at Oxford, 240.

----, letters to:--on his adoption of the theory, 214;
  on the review in the _Times_, 221;
  on the effect of reviews, 244;
  on his Edinburgh lectures, 250;
  on 'the coming of age of the Origin of Species,' 294;
  last letter to, 327.

Hybridisation, analogy of, with some forms of fertilisation of
    heterostyled plants, 312.

Hybridism, 183.

Hybrids, sterility of, 183.

Hydropathic establishments, visits to, 82.

Ichnuemonidæ, and their function, 236.

Ilkley, residence at, in 1859.. 206.

Ill-health, 32, 39, 102, 149, 158, 160, 268.

Immortality of the Soul, 61.

Innes, Rev. J. Brodie, 76, 91.

----, on Darwin's position with regard to theological views, 229;
  note on the review in the 'Quarterly' and Darwin's appreciation
    of it, 242, _note_.

'Insectivorous Plants,' work on the, 319-322;
  publication of, 47, 322.

Insects, 10;
  agency of, in cross-fertilisation, 300.

Institute of France, election as a corresponding member of the Botanical
    section of the, 292.

Isolation, effects of, 278.

Jackson, B. Daydon, preparation of the Kew-Index placed under the
    charge of, 323.

Jenkin, Fleeming, review of the 'Origin,' 274.

Jenyns, Rev. Leonard, acquaintance with, 22;
  his opinion of the theory, 228.

----, letters to:--on the 'Origin of Species,' 209;
  on checks to increase of species, 175;
  on his 'Observations in Natural History,' 175;
  on the immutability of species, 176.

Jones, Dr. Bence, treatment by, 325.

'Journal of Researches,' 38, 143;
  publication of the second edition of the, 154;
  differences in the two editions of the, with regard to the theory
    of species, 170.

Judd, Prof., on Coral Reefs, 281;
  on Mr. Darwin's intention to devote a certain sum to the advancement
    of scientific interests, 323.

Jukes, Prof. Joseph B., 230.

Kew-Index of plant names, 322;
  endowment of, by Mr. Darwin, 322.

Kidney-beans, fertilisation of, 301.

Kingsley, Rev. Charles, letter from, on the 'Origin of Species,' 228;
  on the progress of the theory of Evolution, 253.

Kossuth, character of, 184.

Krause, Ernst, 'Life of Erasmus Darwin,' 48;
  on Häckel's services to the cause of Evolution in Germany, 262;
  on the work of Dr. Erasmus Darwin, 286.

Lamarck's philosophy, 166.

---- views, references to, 174, 177, 207, 256.

Lankester, E. Ray, letter to, on the reception of the
    'Descent of Man,' 272.

Last words, 327.

_Lathyrus grandiflorus_, fertilisation of, by bees, 301.

Laws, designed, 236.

Leibnitz, objections raised by, to Newton's law of Gravitation, 229.

_Leschenaultia_, fertilisation of, 303.

Lewes, G. H., review of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants,' in the
    _Pall Mall Gazette_, 268.

Life, origin of, 257.

Light, gravity, &c., acting as stimuli, 318.

Lightning, 236.

_Linaria vulgaris_, observations on cross- and self-fertilisation in, 311.

Lindley, John, 162.

Linnean Society, joint paper with A. R. Wallace, read before the, 187;
  portrait at the, 292.

_Linum flavum_, dimorphism of, 45.

List of naturalists who had adopted the theory in March, 1860.. 230.

Literature, taste in, 50.

Little-Go, passed, 111.

_Lobelia fulgens_, not self-fertilisable, 302.

London, residence in, 31-37;
  from 1836 to 1842.. 140-149.

'London Review,' review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' in the, 308.

Lonsdale, W., 141.

Lubbock, Sir John, letter from, to W. E. Darwin, on the funeral in
    Westminster Abbey, 329;
  letter to:--on beetle-collecting, 194.

Lyell, Sir Charles, acquaintance with, 31;
  character of, 33;
  influence of, on Geology, 33;
  geological views, 135;
  on Darwin's theory of coral islands, 153;
  extract of letter to, on the treatise on volcanic islands, 154;
  attitude towards the doctrine of Evolution, 167, 260;
  announcement of the forthcoming 'Origin of Species,' to the British
    Association at Aberdeen in 1859.. 202;
  letter from, criticising the 'Origin,' 206;
  Bishop Wilberforce's remarks upon, 242, _note_;
  inclination to accept the notion of design, 249;
  on Darwin's views, 256;
  on the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' 309.

----, Sir Charles, letters to, 145, 148:--
  on the second edition of the 'Journal of Researches,' 154;
  on the receipt of Wallace's paper, 185, 186;
  on the papers read before the Linnean Society, 191;
  on the mode of publication of the 'Origin,' 196, 198;
  with proof-sheets, 203;
  on the announcement of the work of the British Association, 203;
  on his adoption of the theory of descent, 212;
  on objectors to the theory of descent, 218, 219;
  on the second edition of the 'Origin,' 218, 223;
  on the review of the 'Origin' in the 'Annals,' 227;
  on objections, 229;
  on the review in the 'Edinburgh Review,' and on Matthew's anticipation
    of the theory of Natural Selection, 232;
  on design in variation, 234;
  on the 'Antiquity of Man,' 255, 256;
  on the progress of opinion, 260;
  on 'Pangenesis,' 266;
  on Drosera, 320.

Lyell, Sir Charles, 'Antiquity of Man,' 254, 255.

----, 'Elements of Geology,' 145.

----, 'Principles of Geology.' 168;
  tenth edition of, 260.

_Lythrum_, trimorphism of, 45.

Macaulay, meeting with, 35.

Macgillivray, William, 15.

Mackintosh, Sir James, meeting with, 16.

'Macmillan's Magazine,' review of the 'Origin' in, by
    H. Fawcett, 239, _note_.

_Macrauchenia_, 142.

Mad-house, attempt to free a patient from a, 287, _note_.

Maer, visits to, 15, 16.

Malay Archipelago, Wallace's 'Zoological Geography' of the, 227.

Malays, expression in the, 270.

Malthus on _Population_, 40, 189.

Malvern, Hydropathic treatment at, 39, 160.

Mammalia, fossil from South America, 142.

Man, descent of, 46;
  objections to discussing origin of, 183;
  brain of, and that of the gorilla, 237;
  influence of sexual selection upon the races of, 270;
  work on, 268.

Marriage, 32, 148.

Mathematics, difficulties with, 108;
  distaste for the study of, 17.

Matthew, Patrick, claim of priority in the theory of Natural
    Selection, 232.

'Medico-Chirurgical Review,' review of the 'Origin' in the, by
    W. B. Carpenter, 231.

Mellersh, Admiral, reminiscences of C. Darwin, 126.

Mendoza, 136.

Mental peculiarities, 49-54.

Microscopes, 92;
  compound, 158.

Mimicry, H. W. Bates on, 251.

Minerals, collecting, 10.

Miracles, 58.

Mivart's 'Genesis of Species,' 275.

Moor Park, Hydropathic establishment at, 41.

----, water-cure at, 184.

Moore, Dr. Norman, treatment by, 327.

_Mormodes_, 306.

Moths, white, Mr. Weir's observations on, 270.

Motley, meeting with, 36.

Mould, formation of, by the agency of Earthworms, paper on the, 32, 49;
  publication of book on the, 285.

'Mount,' the Shrewsbury, Charles Darwin's birthplace, 2.

Müller, Fritz, embryological researches of, 43.

----, 'Für Darwin,' 262;
  'Facts and arguments for Darwin,' 262.

----, Fritz, observations on branch-tendrils, 315.

----, Hermann, 262;
  on self-fertilisation of plants, 48;
  on Sprengel's views as to cross-fertilisation, 300.

Murray, John, criticisms on the Darwinian theory of coral formation, 282.

Murray, John, letters to:--relating to the publication of the
    'Origin of Species,' 199, 201, 204;
  on the reception of the 'Origin' in the United States, 226 _note_;
  on the third edition of the 'Origin,' 245;
  on critiques of the 'Descent of Man,' 273;
  on the publication of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' 297, 308;
  on the publication of 'Climbing Plants,' 315.

Music, effects of, 50;
  fondness for, 77, 107;
  taste for, at Cambridge, 19.

_Mylodon_, 142.

Names of garden plants, difficulty of obtaining, 308.

Naples, Zoological Station, donation of £100 to the, for apparatus, 293.

Nash, Mrs., reminiscences of Mr. Darwin, 87.

Natural History, early taste for, 6.

---- selection, 165, 190.

---- belief in, founded on general considerations, 258;
  H. C. Watson on, 168;
  priority in the
  theory of, claimed by Mr. Patrick Matthew, 232;
  Sedgwick on, 216.

Naturalists, list of, who had adopted the theory in March, 1860.. 230.

_Naturalist's Voyage_, 170.

'Nature,' review in, 315.

"Nervous system of" _Drosera_, 321.

Newton, Prof. A., letter to, 268.

Newton's 'Law of Gravitation,' objections raised by Leibnitz to, 229.

Nicknames on board the _Beagle_, 126.

Nitrogenous compounds, detection of, by the leaves of _Drosera_, 320.

'Nomenclator,' 322;
  endowment by Mr. Darwin, 322;
  plan of the, 323.

Nomenclature, need of reform in, 159.

_Nonconformist_, review of the 'Descent of Man' in the, 273.

'North British Review,' review of the 'Origin' in the, 235, 274.

North Wales, tours through, 15;
  tour in, 32;
  visit to, with Sedgwick, 24;
  visit to, in 1869.. 273.

Nose, objection to shape of, 26.

Novels, liking for, 50, 77.

Nuptial dress of animals, 270.

Observation, methods of, 94, 95.

----, power of, 52.

Old Testament, Darwinian theory contained in the, 42.

Oliver, Prof., approval of the work on the 'Fertilisation of
    Orchids,' 308.

Orchids, fertilisation of, bearing of the, on the theory of Natural
    Selection, 297;
  fertilisation of, work on the, 245;
  homologies of, 304;
  study of, 303, 304;
  pleasure of investigating, 310.

_Orchis pyramidalis_, adaptation in, 303.

Orders, thoughts of taking, 108.

Organs, rudimentary, comparison of, with unsounded letters in words, 208.

Origin of Species, first notes on the, 31;
  investigations upon the, 39-41;
  progress of the theory of the, 165;
  differences in the two editions of the 'Journal' with regard to
    the, 170;
  extracts from note-books on the, 169;
  first sketch of work on the, 170;
  essay of 1844 on the, 171.

'Origin of Species,' publication of the first edition of the, 41, 206;
  success of the, 42;
  reviews of the, in the _Athenæum_, 211, 212;
  in 'Macmillan's Magazine,' 219;
  in the _Times_, 221;
  in the _Gardeners' Chronicle_, 224;
  in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' 227;
  in the _Spectator_, 231;
  in the 'Bibliothèque Universelle de Genève,' 231;
  in the Medico-Chirurgical Review,' 231;
  in the 'Westminster Review,' 231;
  in the 'Edinburgh Review,' 232, 233, 235;
  in the 'North British Review,' 235;
  in the _Saturday Review_, 236;
  in the 'Quarterly Review,' 242;
  in the 'Geologist,' 250.

----, publication of the second edition of the, 223.

----, third edition, commencement of work upon the, 245.

----, publication of the fifth edition of the, 274, 275.

----, sixth edition, publication of the, 275.

----, the 'Coming of Age' of the, 294.

Ouless, W., portrait of Mr. Darwin by, 292.

Owen, Sir R., on the differences between the brains of man and
    the Gorilla, 237;
  reply to Lyell, on the difference between the human and simian
    brains, 253;
  claim of priority, 275.

Oxford, British Association Meeting, discussion at, 236-239.

Paley's writings, study of, 18.

_Pall Mall Gazette_, review of the Variation of Animals and Plants,'
    in the, 267.

Pangenesis, 266.

Papilionaceæ, papers on cross-fertilisation of, 301.

Parallel roads of Glen Roy, paper on the, 145.

Parasitic worms, experiments on, 290.

Parslow, Joseph, 150, _note_.

'Parthenon,' review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' in the, 308.

Pasteur's results upon the germs of diseases, 290.

Patagonia, 29.

Peacock, Rev. George, letter from, to Professor Henslow, 115.

Philosophical Club, 178.

---- Magazine, 25.

Photograph-albums received from Germany and Holland, 293.

Pictet, Professor F. J., review of the 'Origin' in the 'Bibliothèque
    Universelle,' 231.

Pictures, taste for, acquired at Cambridge, 19.

Pigeons, nasal bones of, 249.

Plants, climbing, 45, 313-315;
  insectivorous, 47, 319-322;
  power of movement in, 48, 315-319;
  garden, difficulty of naming, 308;
  heterostyled, polygamous, dioecious and gynodioecious, 311.

Pleasurable sensations, influence of, in Natural Selection, 60.

Plinian Society, 13.

Poetry, taste for, 9;
  failure of taste for, 50.

Pollen, conveyance of, by the wings of butterflies and moths, 302.

----, differences in the two forms of Primrose, 312.

"Polly," the fox-terrier, 70.

_Pontobdella_, egg-cases of, 13.

Portraits, list of, 331.

"Pour le Mérite," the order, 291, _note_.

Pouter Pigeons, 234.

Powell, Prof. Baden, his opinion on the structure of the eye, 228.

'Power of Movement in Plants,' 48, 315-319;
  publication of the, 316.

Preyer, Prof. W., letter to, 265.

Primrose, heterostyled flowers of the, 311;
  differences of the pollen in the two forms of the, 312.

_Primula_, dimorphism of, paper on the, 45.

_Primulæ_, said to have produced seed without access of insects, 53.

_Proteus_, 247.

Publication of the 'Origin of Species,' arrangements connected with
    the, 196-200.

Publications, account of, 38-49.

_Public Opinion_, squib in, 259.

Quarterly Journal of Science, review of the 'Expression of the
    Emotions,' in the, 279.

'Quarterly Review,' review of the 'Origin' in the, 242;
  Darwin's appreciation of it, 242, _note_;
  review of the 'Descent of Man' in the, 276.

Rabbits, asserted close interbreeding of, 53.

Ramsay, Sir Andrew, 230.

----, Mr., 23.

Reade, T. Mellard, note to, on the earthworms, 285.

Rein, Dr. J. J., account of the Bermudas, 281.

Reinwald, M., French translation of the 'Origin' by, 275.

Religious views, 55-65;
  general statement of, 57-62.

Reverence, development of the bump of, 17.

Reversion, 201.

Reviewers, 43.

Rich, Anthony, letter to, on the book on 'Earthworms,' 285;
  bequest from, 293.

Richmond, W., portrait of C. Darwin by, 292.

Rio de Janeiro, letter to J. S. Henslow, from, 134.

Rogers, Prof. H. D., 230.

Romanes, G. J., account of a sudden attack of illness, 326.

----, letter to, on vivisection, 290.

Roots, sensitiveness of tips of, to contact, 318.

Royal Commission on Vivisection, 288.

Royal Medical Society, Edinburgh, 14.

---- Society, award of the Royal Medal to C. Darwin, 162;
  award of the Copley Medal to C. Darwin, 259.

Royer, Mdlle. Clémence, French translation of the 'Origin' by, 246;
  publication of third French edition of the 'Origin,' and criticism
    of pangenesis by, 275.

Rudimentary organs, 207;
  comparison of, with unsounded letters in words, 208.

Sabine, Sir E., 162;
  reference to Darwin's work in his Presidential Address to the Royal
    Society, 260.

Sachs on the establishment of the idea of sexuality in plants, 299.

St. Helena, 29.

St. Jago, Cape Verd Islands, 129;
  geology of, 29.

St. John's College, Cambridge, strict discipline at, 104.

St. Paul's Island, visit to, 130.

Salisbury Craigs, trap-dyke in, 15.

"Sand walk," last visit to the, 327.

San Salvador, letter to R. W. Darwin from, 128.

Saporta, Marquis de, his opinion in 1863.. 261.

_Saturday Review_, article in the, 235;
  review of the 'Descent of Man' in the, 273.

_Scelidotherium_, 142.

Scepticism, effects of, in science, 52.

Science, early attention to, 10;
  general interest in, 79.

Scott, Sir Walter, 14.

Sea-sickness, 127, 128.

Sedgwick, Professor Adam, introduction to, 113;
  visit to North Wales with, 24;
  opinion of C. Darwin, 137;
  letter from, on the 'Origin of Species,' 216;
  review of the 'Origin' in the _Spectator_, 231;
  attack before the 'Cambridge Philosophical Society,' 234.

Seedlings, heliotropism of, 318.

Seeds, experiments on the germination of, after immersion, 179, 180.

Selection, natural, 165, 190;
   influence of, 40.

----, sexual, in insects, 270;
  influence of, upon races of man, 270.

Semper, Professor Karl, on coral reefs, 281.

Sex in plants, establishment of the idea of, 299.

Sexual selection, 270;
  influence of, upon races of man, 270.

Sexuality, origin of, 310.

Shanklin, 193.

Shooting, fondness for, 10, 15.

Shrewsbury, schools at, 6, 8;
  return to, 140;
  early medical practice at, 12.

_Sigillaria_, 158.

Silliman's Journal, reviews in, 225, 235, 244, 314.

Slavery, 137.

Slaves, sympathy with, 287.

Sleep-movements of plants, 316.

Smith, Rev. Sydney, meeting with, 35.

Snipe, first, 10.

Snowdon, ascent of, 15.

Son, eldest, birth of, 149;
  observations on, 149.

South America, publication of the geological observations on, 156.

Species, accumulation of facts relating to, 39-41, 148;
  checks to the increase of, 175;
  mutability of, 176;
  progress of the theory of the, 165;
  differences with regard to the, in the two editions of the
    'Journal,' 170;
  extracts from Note-books on, 169;
  first sketch of the, 170;
  Essay of 1884 on the, 171.

_Spectator_, review of the 'Origin' in the, 231.

Spencer, Herbert, an evolutionist, 169.

Sprengel, C. K., on cross-fertilisation of hermaphrodite flowers, 300.

----, 'Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur,' 44.

Stanhope, Lord, 36.

Sterility, in heterostyled plants, 312.

Steudel's 'Nomenclator,' 322.

Stokes, Admiral Lort, 126.

Strickland, H. E., letter to, on nomenclature, 159.

'Struggle for Existence,' 40, 189.

Style, 99; defects of, 201.

Suarez, T. H. Huxley's study of, 277.

Subsidence, theory of, 281.

Suffering, evidence from, as to the existence of God, 57, 59, 60.

Sulivan, Sir B. J., letter to, 325.

----, reminiscences of C. Darwin, 126.

Sundew, 47, _see_ Drosera.

Sydney, letter to J. S. Henslow from, 138.

Teleology, revival of, 297.

---- and morphology, reconciliation of, by Darwinism, 291, _note_.

Tendrils of plants, irritability of the, 313.

Teneriffe, 23;
  desire to visit, 129;
  projected excursion to, 114.

Theological views, 236.

Theology and Natural History, 229.

Thistle-seeds, conveyance of, by wind, 193.

Thompson, Professor D'Arcy, literature of the fertilisation of
    flowers, 310.

Thwaites, G. H. K., 230.

Tierra del Fuego, 29.

_Times_, review of the 'Origin' in the, 221, 222;
  review of the 'Descent of Man' in the, 273;
  letter to, on vivisection, 290;
  article on Mr. Darwin in the, 316.

Title-page, proposed, of the 'Origin of Species,' 197.

Torquay, visit to (1861), 245.

_Toxodon_, 142.

Translations of the 'Origin' into French, Dutch and German, 247.

Transmutation of species, investigations on the, 39;
  first note-book on the, 142.

Trimorphism and dimorphism in plants, papers on, 45.

Tropical forest, first sight of, 134.

Turin, Royal Academy of, award of the Bressa prize by the, 293.

Twining plants, 314.

'Unfinished Book,' 180.

Unitarianism, Erasmus Darwin's definition of, 201.

Unorthodoxy, 197.

Valparaiso, letter to Miss S. Darwin from, 139.

_Vanilla_, 305.

Variability, 201.

'Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication,' publication
    of, 46, 265.

'----,' reviews of the, in the _Pall Mall Gazette_, 267;
  in the _Athenæum_, 268.

Vegetable Kingdom, cross- and self-fertilisation in the, 47.

'Vestiges of Creation,' 167.

Victoria Institute, analysis of the 'Origin,' read before
    the, 264, _note_.

Vivisection, 287-291;
  opinion of, 288;
  commencement of agitation against, and Royal Commission on, 288;
  legislation on, 288.

Vogt, Prof. Carl, on the origin of species, 271.

Volcanic islands, Geological observations on, publication of the, 152;
  Prof. Geikie's notes on the, 152.

Volcanoes and Coral-reefs, book on, 148.

Wagner, Moritz, letter to, on the influence of isolation, 278.

Wallace, A. R., first essay on variability of species, 41, 188;
  article in the 'Quarterly Review,' April, 1869.. 260;
  opinion of Pangenesis, 266;
  review of the 'Expression of the Emotions,' 279.

----, letters to,--on a paper by Wallace, 182;
  on the 'Origin of Species,' 195, 209;
  on 'Warrington's paper at the Victoria Institute,' 264, _note_;
  on man, 268;
  on sexual selection, 269, 270;
  on Mr. Wright's pamphlet in answer to Mivart, 275;
  on Mivart's remarks and an article in the 'Quarterly Review,' 276;
  on his criticism of Mivart's 'Lessons from Nature,' 277;
  last letter to, 326.

Wallace, A. R., letter from, to Prof. A. Newton, 189.

Warrington, Mr., Analysis of the 'Origin' read by, to the Victoria
    Institute, 264, _note_.

Water-cure, at Ilkley, 206;
  at Malvern, 160;
  Moor Park, 82, 184.

Watkins, Archdeacon, 106.

Watson, H. C., charge of egotism against C. Darwin, 246;
  on Natural Selection, 168.

Wedgwood, Emma, married to C. Darwin, 148.

----, Josiah, character of, 16.

----, Miss Julia, letter to, 62.

----, Susannah, married to R. W. Darwin, 1.

Weir, J., Jenner, observations on white moths, 270.

Westminster Abbey, funeral in, 329.

'Westminster Review,' review of the 'Origin,' in the, by
    T. H. Huxley, 231.

Whale, secondary, 218.

Whewell, Dr., acquaintance with, 22.

Whitley, Rev. C., 19.

Wiesner, Prof. Julius, criticisms of the 'Power of Movement in
    Plants,' 317;
  letter to, on Movement in Plants, 317.

Wilberforce, Bishop, his opinion of the 'Origin,' 227;
  speech at Oxford against the Darwinian theory, 237;
  review of the 'Origin' in the 'Quarterly Review,' 238.

Wollaston, T. V., review of the 'Origin' in the 'Annals,' 227.

'Wonders of the World,' 10.

Wood, Searles V., 230.

Woodhouse, shooting at, 15.

Work, 69;
  method of, 50, 91-99.

----, growing necessity of, 269.

Worms, formation of vegetable-mould by the action of, 32, 49, 285.

Wright, Chauncey, article against Mivart's 'Genesis of Species,' 275, 276.

Writing, manner of, 50, 97-99.

Zacharias, Dr., Otto, letter to, on the theory of evolution, 166.

Zoology, lectures on, in Edinburgh, 14.

'Zoology of the Voyage of the _Beagle_,' arrangements for publishing
    the, 143;
  Government grant obtained for the, 144;
  publication of the, 31, 32.


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