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Title: Life and Letters of Charles Darwin — Volume 2
Author: Darwin, Charles, 1809-1882
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin — Volume 2" ***

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CHAPTER 2.I.--The Publication of the 'Origin of Species'--October 3,
1859, to December 31, 1859.

CHAPTER 2.II.--The 'Origin of Species' (continued)--1860.

CHAPTER 2.III.--The Spread of Evolution--1861-1862.

CHAPTER 2.IV.--The Spread of Evolution. 'Variation of Animals and
Plants' --1863-1866.

CHAPTER 2.V.--The Publication of the 'Variation of Animals and Plants
under Domestication'--January 1867-June 1868.

CHAPTER 2.VI.--Work on 'Man'--1864-1870.

CHAPTER 2.VII.--The Publication of the 'Descent of Man.' Work on

CHAPTER 2.VIII.--Miscellanea, including Second Editions of 'Coral
Reefs,' the 'Descent of Man,' and the 'Variation of Animals and
Plants'--1874 and 1875.

CHAPTER 2.IX.--Miscellanea (continued). A Revival of Geological
Work--The Book on Earthworms--Life of Erasmus Darwin--Miscellaneous


CHAPTER 2.X.--Fertilisation of Flowers--1839-1880.

CHAPTER 2.XI.--The 'Effects of Cross- and Self-Fertilisation in the
Vegetable Kingdom'--1866-1877.

CHAPTER 2.XII.--'Different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same
Species' --1860-1878.

CHAPTER 2.XIII.--Climbing and Insectivorous Plants--1863-1875.

CHAPTER 2.XIV.--The 'Power of Movement in Plants'--1878-1881.

CHAPTER 2.XV.--Miscellaneous Botanical Letters--1873-1882....

CHAPTER 2.XVI.--Conclusion.


I.--The Funeral in Westminster Abbey.

II.--List of Works by C. Darwin.


IV.--Honours, Degrees, Societies, etc.


--led to comprehend true affinities. My theory would give zest to recent
& Fossil Comparative Anatomy: it would lead to study of instincts,
heredity, & mind heredity, whole 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 structure in species, might lead to laws of change, which
would then be main object of study, to guide our speculations.




OCTOBER 3, 1859, TO DECEMBER 31, 1859.


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

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

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

C. LYELL TO CHARLES DARWIN. (Part of this letter is given in the 'Life
of Sir Charles Lyell,' volume ii. page 325.) October 3d, 1859.

My dear Darwin,

I have just finished your volume and right glad I am that I did my best
with Hooker to 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 "pieces justificatives" when published will make much
difference, and I have long seen most clearly that if any concession
is made, all that you claim in your concluding pages will follow. It is
this which has made me so long hesitate, always feeling that the case of
Man and his races, and of other animals, and that of plants is one and
the same, and that if a "vera causa" be admitted for one, instead of a
purely unknown and imaginary one, such as the word "Creation," all the
consequences must follow.

I fear I have not time to-day, as I am just leaving this place, to
indulge in a variety of comments, and to say how much I was delighted
with Oceanic Islands--Rudimentary Organs--Embryology--the genealogical
key to the Natural System, Geographical Distribution, and if I went on I
should be copying the heads of all your chapters. But I will say a word
of the Recapitulation, in case some slight alteration, or at least,
omission of a word or two be still possible in that.

In the first place, at page 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?) (In the
published copies of the first edition, page 480, the words are "eminent
living naturalists.")

The first page of this most important summary gives the adversary an
advantage, by putting forth so abruptly and crudely such a startling
objection as the formation of "the eye," not by means analogous to man's
reason, or rather by some power immeasurably superior to human reason,
but by superinduced variation like those of which a cattle-breeder
avails himself. Pages would be required thus to state an objection and
remove it. It would be better, as you wish to persuade, to say nothing.
Leave out several sentences, and in a future edition bring it out more
fully. Between the throwing down of such a stumbling-block in the way of
the reader, and the passage to the working ants, in page 460, there
are pages required; and these ants are a bathos to him before he has
recovered from the shock of being called upon to believe the eye to have
been brought to perfection, from a state of blindness or purblindness,
by such variations as we witness. I think a little omission would
greatly lessen the objectionableness of these sentences if you have not
time to recast and amplify.

... But these are small matters, mere spots on the sun. Your comparison
of the letters retained in words, when no longer wanted for the sound,
to rudimentary organs is excellent, as both are truly genealogical.

The want of peculiar birds in Madeira is a greater difficulty than
seemed to me allowed for. I could cite passages where you show that
variations are superinduced from the new circumstances of new colonists,
which would require some Madeira birds, like those of the Galapagos, to
be peculiar. There has been ample time in the case of Madeira and Porto

You enclose your sheets in old MS., so the Post Office very properly
charge them as letters, 2 pence extra. I wish all their fines on MS.
were worth as much. I paid 4 shillings 6 pence for such wash the other
day from Paris, from a man who can prove 300 deluges in the valley of
the Seine.

With my hearty congratulations to you on your grand work, believe me,

Ever very affectionately yours, CHAS. LYELL.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, Yorkshire, October 11th [1859].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you cordially for giving me so much of your valuable time in
writing me the long letter of 3d, and still longer of 4th. I wrote a
line with the missing proof-sheet to Scarborough. I have adopted most
thankfully all your minor corrections in the last chapter, and the
greater ones as far as I could with little trouble. I damped the opening
passage about the eye (in my bigger work I show the gradations in
structure of the eye) by putting merely "complex organs." But you are a
pretty Lord Chancellor to tell the barrister on one side how best to
win the cause! The omission of "living" before eminent naturalists was a
dreadful blunder.


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


I cannot agree with you, that species if created to struggle with
American forms, would have to be created on the American type. Facts
point diametrically the other way. Look at the unbroken and untilled
ground in La Plata, COVERED with European products, which have no near
affinity to the indigenous products. They are not American types which
conquer the aborigines. So in every island throughout the world. Alph.
De Candolle's results (though he does not see its full importance), that
thoroughly well naturalised [plants] are in general very different from
the aborigines (belonging in large proportion of cases to non-indigenous
genera) is most important always to bear in mind. Once for all, I am
sure, you will understand that I thus write dogmatically for brevity


This doctrine is superfluous (and groundless) on the theory of Natural
Selection, which implies no NECESSARY tendency to progression. A monad,
if no deviation in its structure profitable to it under its EXCESSIVELY
SIMPLE conditions of life occurred, might remain unaltered from long
before the Silurian Age to the present day. I grant there will generally
be a tendency to advance in complexity of organisation, though in beings
fitted for very simple conditions it would be slight and slow. How could
a complex organisation profit a monad? if it did not profit it there
would be no advance. The Secondary Infusoria differ but little from the
living. The parent monad form might perfectly well survive unaltered
and fitted for its simple conditions, whilst the offspring of this
very monad might become fitted for more complex conditions. The one
primordial prototype of all living and extinct creatures may, it is
possible, be now alive! Moreover, as you say, higher forms might be
occasionally degraded, the snake Typhlops SEEMS (?!) to have the habits
of earth-worms. So that fresh creatures of simple forms seem to me
wholly superfluous.


I am not sure that I understand your remarks which follow the above.
We must under present knowledge assume the creation of one or of a few
forms in the same manner as philosophers assume the existence of a power
of attraction without any explanation. But I entirely reject, as in my
judgment quite unnecessary, any subsequent addition "of new powers and
attributes and forces;" or of any "principle of improvement," except in
so far as every character which is naturally selected or preserved is in
some way an advantage or improvement, otherwise it would not have been
selected. If I were convinced that I required such additions to the
theory of natural selection, I would reject it as rubbish, but I have
firm faith in it, as I cannot believe, that if false, it would explain
so many whole classes of facts, which, if I am in my senses, it seems
to explain. As far as I understand your remarks and illustrations, you
doubt the possibility of gradations of intellectual powers. Now, it
seems to me, looking to existing animals alone, that we have a very fine
gradation in the intellectual powers of the Vertebrata, with one rather
wide gap (not half so wide as in many cases of corporeal structure),
between say a Hottentot and a Ourang, even if civilised as much mentally
as the dog has been from the wolf. I suppose that you do not doubt that
the intellectual powers are as important for the welfare of each being
as corporeal structure; if so, I can see no difficulty in the most
intellectual individuals of a species being continually selected;
and the intellect of the new species thus improved, aided probably by
effects of inherited mental exercise. I look at this process as now
going on with the races of man; the less intellectual races being
exterminated. But there is not space to discuss this point. If I
understand you, the turning-point in our difference must be, that you
think it impossible that the intellectual powers of a species should
be much improved by the continued natural selection of the most
intellectual individuals. To show how minds graduate, just reflect how
impossible every one has yet found it, to define the difference in mind
of man and the lower animals; the latter seem to have the very same
attributes in a much lower stage of perfection than the lowest savage. I
would give absolutely nothing for the theory of Natural Selection, if
it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. I think
Embryology, Homology, Classification, etc., etc., show us that all
vertebrata have descended from one parent; how that parent appeared we
know not. If you admit in ever so little a degree, the explanation which
I have given of Embryology, Homology and Classification, you will
find it difficult to say: thus far the explanation holds good, but no
further; here we must call in "the addition of new creative forces."
I think you will be driven to reject all or admit all: I fear by your
letter it will be the former alternative; and in that case I shall feel
sure it is my fault, and not the theory's fault, and this will certainly
comfort me. With regard to the descent of the great Kingdoms (as
Vertebrata, Articulata, etc.) from one parent, I have said in the
conclusion, that mere analogy makes me think it probable; my arguments
and facts are sound in my judgment only for each separate kingdom.


I dare say I have not been guarded enough, but might not the term
inferiority include less perfect adaptation to physical conditions?

My remarks apply not to single species, but to groups or genera; the
species of most genera are adapted at least to rather hotter, and rather
less hot, to rather damper and dryer climates; and when the several
species of a group are beaten and exterminated by the several species of
another group, it will not, I think, generally be from EACH new species
being adapted to the climate, but from all the new species having some
common advantage in obtaining sustenance, or escaping enemies. As groups
are concerned, a fairer illustration than negro and white in Liberia
would be the almost certain future extinction of the genus ourang by
the genus man, not owing to man being better fitted for the climate, but
owing to the inherited intellectual inferiority of the Ourang-genus
to Man-genus, by his intellect, inventing fire-arms and cutting
down forests. I believe from reasons given in my discussion, that
acclimatisation is readily effected under nature. It has taken me
so many years to disabuse my mind of the TOO great importance of
climate--its important influence being so conspicuous, whilst that of a
struggle between creature and creature is so hidden--that I am inclined
to swear at the North Pole, and, as Sydney Smith said, even to speak
disrespectfully of the Equator. I beg you often to reflect (I have found
NOTHING so instructive) on the case of thousands of plants in the middle
point of their respective ranges, and which, as we positively know, can
perfectly well withstand a little more heat and cold, a little more damp
and dry, but which in the metropolis of their range do not exist in vast
numbers, although if many of the other inhabitants were destroyed [they]
would cover the ground. We thus clearly see that their numbers are kept
down, in almost every case, not by climate, but by the struggle with
other organisms. All this you will perhaps think very obvious; but,
until I repeated it to myself thousands of times, I took, as I believe,
a wholly wrong view of the whole economy of nature...


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


On the theory of Natural Selection there is a wide distinction between
Rudimentary Organs and what you call germs of organs, and what I call
in my bigger book "nascent" organs. An organ should not be called
rudimentary unless it be useless--as teeth which never cut through the
gums--the papillae, representing the pistil in male flowers, wing of
Apteryx, or better, the little wings under soldered elytra. These organs
are now plainly useless, and a fortiori, they would be useless in a
less developed state. Natural Selection acts exclusively by preserving
successive slight, USEFUL modifications. Hence Natural Selection cannot
possibly make a useless or rudimentary organ. Such organs are solely due
to inheritance (as explained in my discussion), and plainly bespeak an
ancestor having the organ in a useful condition. They may be, and
often have been, worked in for other purposes, and then they are only
rudimentary for the original function, which is sometimes plainly
apparent. A nascent organ, though little developed, as it has to be
developed must be useful in every stage of development. As we cannot
prophesy, we cannot tell what organs are now nascent; and nascent organs
will rarely have been handed down by certain members of a class from a
remote period to the present day, for beings with any important organ
but little developed, will generally have been supplanted by their
descendants with the organ well developed. The mammary glands in
Ornithorhynchus may, perhaps, be considered as nascent compared with
the udders of a cow--Ovigerous frena, in certain cirripedes, are nascent
branchiae--in [illegible] the swim bladder is almost rudimentary for
this purpose, and is nascent as a lung. The small wing of penguin, used
only as a fin, might be nascent as a wing; not that I think so; for
the whole structure of the bird is adapted for flight, and a penguin
so closely resembles other birds, that we may infer that its wings have
probably been modified, and reduced by natural selection, in accordance
with its sub-aquatic habits. Analogy thus often serves as a guide in
distinguishing whether an organ is rudimentary or nascent. I believe the
Os coccyx gives attachment to certain muscles, but I can not doubt that
it is a rudimentary tail. The bastard wing of birds is a rudimentary
digit; and I believe that if fossil birds are found very low down in the
series, they will be seen to have a double or bifurcated wing. Here is a
bold prophecy!

To admit prophetic germs, is tantamount to rejecting the theory of
Natural Selection.

I am very glad you think it worth while to run through my book again, as
much, or more, for the subject's sake as for my own sake. But I look at
your keeping the subject for some little time before your mind--raising
your own difficulties and solving them--as far more important than
reading my book. If you think enough, I expect you will be perverted,
and if you ever are, I shall know that the theory of Natural Selection,
is, in the main, safe; that it includes, as now put forth, many errors,
is almost certain, though I cannot see them. Do not, of course, think of
answering this; but if you have other OCCASION to write again, just
say whether I have, in ever so slight a degree, shaken any of your
objections. Farewell. With my cordial thanks for your long letters and
valuable remarks,

Believe me, yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--You often allude to Lamarck's work; I do not know what you think
about it, but it appeared to me extremely poor; I got not a fact or idea
from it.

CHARLES DARWIN TO L. AGASSIZ. (Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, born at
Mortier, on the lake of Morat in Switzerland, on May 28, 1807. He
emigrated to America in 1846, where he spent the rest of his life, and
died December 14, 1873. His 'Life,' written by his widow, was published
in 1885. The following extract from a letter to Agassiz (1850) is worth
giving, as showing how my father regarded him, and it may be added that
his cordial feelings towards the great American naturalist remained
strong to the end of his life:--

"I have seldom been more deeply gratified than by receiving your most
kind present of 'Lake Superior.' I had heard of it, and had much wished
to read it, but I confess that it was the very great honour of having in
my possession a work with your autograph as a presentation copy that has
given me such lively and sincere pleasure. I cordially thank you for
it. I have begun to read it with uncommon interest, which I see will
increase as I go on.") 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, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. DE CANDOLLE. Down, November 11th [1859].

Dear Sir,

I have thought that you would permit me to send you (by Messrs. Williams
and Norgate, booksellers) a copy of my work (as yet only an abstract)
on the 'Origin of Species.' I wish to do this, as the only, though quite
inadequate manner, by which I can testify to you the extreme interest
which I have felt, and the great advantage which I have derived, from
studying your grand and noble work on Geographical Distribution. Should
you be induced to read my volume, I venture to remark that it will be
intelligible only by reading the whole straight through, as it is very
much condensed. It would be a high gratification to me if any portion
interested you. But I am perfectly well aware that you will entirely
disagree with the conclusion at which I have arrived.

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

Yours, very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO HUGH FALCONER. Down, November 11th [1859].

My dear Falconer,

I have told Murray to send you a copy of my book on the 'Origin of
Species,' which as yet is only an abstract.

If you read it, you must read it straight through, otherwise from its
extremely condensed state it will be unintelligible.

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

I remain, my dear Falconer, Yours most truly, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, November 11th [1859].

My dear Gray,

I have directed a copy of my book (as yet only an abstract) on the
'Origin of Species' to be sent you. I know how you are pressed for time;
but if you can read it, I shall be infinitely gratified...If ever you do
read it, and can screw out time to send me (as I value your opinion so
highly), however short a note, telling me what you think its weakest and
best parts, I should be extremely grateful. As you are not a geologist,
you will excuse my conceit in telling you that Lyell highly approves of
the two Geological chapters, and thinks that on the Imperfection of the
Geological Record not exaggerated. He is nearly a convert to my views...

Let me add I fully admit that there are very many difficulties not
satisfactorily explained by my theory of descent with modification,
but I cannot possibly believe that a false theory would explain so many
classes of facts as I think it certainly does explain. On these
grounds I drop my anchor, and believe that the difficulties will slowly

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.S. HENSLOW. Down, November 11th, 1859.

My dear Henslow,

I have told Murray to send a copy of my book on Species to you, my
dear old master in Natural History; I fear, however, that you will not
approve of your pupil in this case. The book in its present state does
not show the amount of labour which I have bestowed on the 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 EVEN SO SLIGHT A DEGREE staggered (which I hardly expect)
on the immutability of species, then I am convinced with further
reflection you will become more and more staggered, for this has been
the process through which my mind has gone. My dear Henslow,

Yours affectionately and gratefully, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO JOHN LUBBOCK. (The present Sir John Lubbock.) Ilkley,
Yorkshire, Saturday [November 12th, 1859].

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

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

Yours very truly, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO JOHN LUBBOCK. Ilkley, Yorkshire, Tuesday [November
15th, 1859].

My dear Lubbock,

I beg pardon for troubling you again. I do not know how I blundered
in expressing myself in making you believe that we accepted your kind
invitation to Brighton. I meant merely to thank you sincerely for
wishing to see such a worn-out old dog as myself. I hardly know when we
leave this place,--not under a fortnight, and then we shall wish to rest
under our own roof-tree.

I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley's 'Natural
Theology.' I could almost formerly have said it by heart.

I am glad you have got my book, but I fear that you value it far too
highly. I should be grateful for any criticisms. I care not for Reviews;
but for the opinion of men like you and Hooker and Huxley and Lyell,

Farewell, with our joint thanks to Mrs. Lubbock and yourself. Adios.


CHARLES DARWIN TO L. JENYNS. (Now Rev. L. Blomefield.) Ilkley,
Yorkshire, November 13th, 1859.

My dear Jenyns,

I must thank you for your very kind note forwarded to me from Down. I
have been much out of health this summer, and have been hydropathising
here for the last six weeks with very little good as yet. I shall stay
here for another fortnight at least. Please remember that my book
is only an abstract, and very much condensed, and, to be at all
intelligible, must be carefully read. I shall be very grateful for any
criticisms. But I know perfectly well that you will not at all agree
with the lengths which I go. It took long years to convert me. I may, of
course, be egregiously wrong; but I cannot persuade myself that a theory
which explains (as I think it certainly does) several large classes of
facts, can be wholly wrong; notwithstanding the several difficulties
which have to be surmounted somehow, and which stagger me even to this

I wish that my health had allowed me to publish in extenso; if ever I
get strong enough I will do so, as the greater part is written out, and
of which MS. the present volume is an abstract.

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

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Ilkley, November 13th, 1859.

My dear Sir,

I have told Murray to send you by post (if possible) a copy of my book,
and I hope that you will receive it at nearly the same time with this
note. (N.B. I have got a bad finger, which makes me write extra badly.)
If you are so inclined, I should very much like to hear your general
impression of the book, as you have thought so 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, etc. I have heard from Mr.
Slater that your paper on the Malay Archipelago has been read at the
Linnean Society, and that he was EXTREMELY much interested by it.

I have not seen one naturalist for six or nine months, owing to the
state of my health, and therefore I really have no 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 (Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago.) 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, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S. I think that I told you before that Hooker is a complete convert.
If I can convert Huxley I shall be content.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.D. FOX. Ilkley, Yorkshire, Wednesday [November 16th,

... I like the place very much, and the children have enjoyed it much,
and it has done my wife good. It did H. good at first, but she has gone
back again. I have had a series of calamities; first a sprained ankle,
and then a badly swollen whole leg and face, much rash, and a frightful
succession of boils--four or five at once. I have felt quite ill, and
have little faith in this "unique crisis," as the doctor calls it,
doing me much good...You will probably have received, or will very soon
receive, my weariful book on species, I naturally believe it mainly
includes the truth, but you will not at all agree with me. Dr. Hooker,
whom I consider one of the best judges in Europe, is a complete convert,
and he thinks Lyell is likewise; certainly, judging from Lyell's letters
to me on the subject, he is deeply staggered. Farewell. If the spirit
moves you, let me have a line...

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, November 18th

My dear Carpenter,

I must thank you for your letter on my own account, and if I know
myself, still more warmly for the subject's sake. As you seem to have
understood my last chapter without reading the previous chapters, you
must have maturely and most profoundly self-thought out the subject; for
I have found the most extraordinary difficulty in making even able men
understand at what I was driving. There will be strong opposition to
my views. If I am in the main right (of course including partial errors
unseen by me), the admission in my views will depend far more on
men, like yourself, with well-established reputations, than on my own
writings. Therefore, on the supposition that when you have read my
volume you think the view in the main true, I thank and honour you for
being willing to run the chance of unpopularity by advocating the view.
I know not in the least whether any one will review me in any of the
Reviews. I do not see how an author could enquire or interfere; but if
you are willing to review me anywhere, I am sure from the admiration
which I have long felt and expressed for your 'Comparative Physiology,'
that your review will be excellently done, and will do good service in
the cause for which I think I am not selfishly deeply interested. I
am feeling very unwell to-day, and this note is badly, perhaps hardly
intelligibly, expressed; but you must excuse me, for I could not let a
post pass, without thanking you for your note. You will have a tough
job even to shake in the slightest degree Sir H. Holland. I do not think
(privately I say it) that the great man has knowledge enough to enter on
the subject. Pray believe me with sincerity, Yours truly obliged,


P.S.--As you are not a practical geologist, let me add that Lyell
thinks the chapter on the Imperfection of the Geological Record NOT

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, November 19th

My dear Carpenter,

I beg pardon for troubling you again. If, after reading my book, you are
able to come to a conclusion in any degree definite, will you think me
very 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 mon-maniacs.

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

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, Sunday [November

My dear Hooker,

I have just read a review on my book in the "Athenaeum" (November 19,
1859.), and it excites my curiosity much who is the author. If you
should hear who writes in the "Athenaeum" 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 (The Reviewer speaks of the author's
"evident self-satisfaction," and of his disposing of all difficulties
"more or less confidently."), which shames me a little. There is another
review of which I should like to know the author, viz., of H.C. Watson
in the "Gardener's Chronicle". Some of the remarks are like yours, and
he does deserve punishment; but surely the review is too severe. Don't
you think so?

I hope you got the three copies for Foreign Botanists in time for your
parcel, and your own copy. I have 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!

I shall stay here one fortnight more, and then go to Down, staying on
the road at Shrewsbury a week. I have been very unfortunate: out of
seven weeks I have been confined for five to the house. This has been
bad for me, as I have not been able to help thinking to a foolish extent
about my book. If some four or five GOOD men came round nearly to our
view, I shall not fear ultimate success. I long to learn what Huxley
thinks. Is your introduction (Introduction to the 'Flora of Australia.')
published? I suppose that you will sell it separately. Please answer
this, for I want an extra copy to send away to Wallace. I am very
bothersome, farewell.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, December 21st, 1859.

My dear Hooker,

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

I hate to hear you abuse your own work. I, on the contrary, so sincerely
value all that you have written. It is an old and firm conviction of
mine, that the Naturalists who accumulate facts and make many partial
generalisations are the REAL benefactors of science. Those who merely
accumulate facts I cannot very much respect.

I had hoped to have come up for the Club to-morrow, but very much doubt
whether I shall be able. Ilkley seems to have done me no essential good.
I attended the Bench on Monday, and was detained in adjudicating some
troublesome cases 1 1/2 hours longer than usual, and came home utterly
knocked up, and cannot rally. I am not worth an old button... Many thanks
for your pleasant note.

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I feel confident that for the future progress of the subject of
the origin and manner of formation of species, the assent and arguments
and facts of working naturalists, like yourself, are far more important
than my own book; so for God's sake do not abuse your Introduction.

H.C. WATSON TO CHARLES DARWIN. Thames Ditton, November 21st [1859].

My dear Sir,

Once commenced to read the 'Origin,' I could not rest till I had
galloped through the whole. I shall now begin to re-read it more
deliberately. Meantime I am tempted to write you the first
impressions, not doubting that they will, in the main, be the permanent

1st. Your leading idea will assuredly become recognised as an
established truth in science, i.e. "Natural Selection." It has the
characteristics of all great natural truths, clarifying what was
obscure, simplifying what was intricate, adding greatly to previous
knowledge. You are the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this
century, if not of all centuries.

2nd. You will perhaps need, in some degree, to limit or modify,
possibly in some degree also to extend, your present applications of the
principle of natural selection. Without going to matters of more detail,
it strikes me that there is one considerable primary inconsistency, by
one failure in the analogy between varieties and species; another by a
sort of barrier assumed for nature on insufficient grounds and arising
from "divergence." These may, however, be faults in my own mind,
attributable to yet incomplete perception of your views. And I had
better not trouble you about them before again reading the volume.

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

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

You answered my query about the hiatus between Satyrus and Homo as was
expected. The obvious explanation really never occurred to me till some
months after I had read the papers in the 'Linnean Proceedings.' The
first species of Fere-homo ("Almost-man.") would soon make direct and
exterminating war upon his Infra-homo cousins. The gap would thus be
made, and then go on increasing, into the present enormous and still
widening hiatus. But how greatly this, with your chronology of animal
life, will shock the ideas of many men!

Very sincerely, HEWETT C. WATSON.

J.D. HOOKER TO CHARLES DARWIN. Athenaeum, Monday [November 21st, 1859].

My dear Darwin,

I am a sinner not to have written you ere this, if only to thank you for
your glorious book--what a mass of close reasoning on curious facts and
fresh phenomena--it is capitally written, and will be very successful. I
say this on the strength of two or three plunges into as many chapters,
for I have not yet attempted to read it. Lyell, with whom we are
staying, is perfectly enchanted, and is absolutely gloating over it.
I must accept your compliment to me, and acknowledgment of supposed
assistance from me, as the warm tribute of affection from an honest
(though deluded) man, and furthermore accept it as very pleasing to
my vanity; but, my dear fellow, neither my name nor my judgment nor my
assistance deserved any such compliments, and if I am dishonest
enough to be pleased with what I don't deserve, it must just pass. How
different the BOOK reads from the MS. I see I shall have much to talk
over with you. Those lazy printers have not finished my luckless Essay;
which, beside your book, will look like a ragged handkerchief beside a
Royal Standard...

All well, ever yours affectionately, JOS. D. HOOKER.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Ilkley, Yorkshire [November 1859].

My dear Hooker,

I cannot help it, I must thank you for your affectionate and most kind
note. My head will be turned. By Jove, I must try and get a bit modest.
I was a little chagrined by the review. (This refers to the review in
the "Athenaeum", November 19, 1859, where the reviewer, after touching
on the theological aspects of the book, leaves the author to "the
mercies of the Divinity Hall, the College, the Lecture Room, and the
Museum.") 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, C.D.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley Wells, Yorkshire, November 23 [1859].

My dear Lyell,

You seemed to have worked admirably on the species question; there could
not have been a better plan than reading up on the opposite side.
I rejoice profoundly that you intend admitting the doctrine of
modification in your new edition (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.); 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. Thank you for criticisms, which, if there
be a second edition, I will attend to. I have been thinking that if I
am much execrated as an atheist, etc., whether the admission of the
doctrine of natural selection could injure your works; but I hope and
think not, for as far as I can remember, the virulence of bigotry is
expended on the first offender, and those who adopt his views are only
pitied as deluded, by the wise and cheerful bigots.

I cannot help thinking that you overrate the importance of the multiple
origin of dogs. The only difference is, that in the case of single
origins, all difference of the races has originated since man
domesticated the species. In the case of multiple origins part of the
difference was produced under natural conditions. I should INFINITELY
prefer the theory of single origin in all cases, if facts would permit
its reception. But there seems to me some a priori improbability (seeing
how fond savages are of taming animals), that throughout all times, and
throughout all the world, that man should have domesticated one single
species alone, of the widely distributed genus Canis. Besides this, the
close resemblance of at least three kinds of American domestic dogs
to wild species still inhabiting the countries where they are now
domesticated, seem to almost compel admission that more than one wild
Canis has been domesticated by man.

I thank you cordially for all the generous zeal and interest you have
shown about my book, and I remain, my dear Lyell,

Your affectionate friend and disciple, CHARLES DARWIN.

Sir J. Herschel, to whom I sent a copy, is going to read my book. He
says he leans to the side opposed to me. If you should meet him after he
has read me, pray find out what he thinks, for, of course, he will
not write; and I should excessively like to hear whether I produce any
effect on such a mind.

T.H. HUXLEY TO CHARLES 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 Baer's (Karl Ernst von Baer, born 1792, died at Dorpat
1876--one of the most distinguished biologists of the century. He
practically founded the modern science of embryology.) essays, nine
years ago, no work on Natural History Science I have met with has made
so great an impression upon me, and I do most heartily thank you for
the great store of new views you have given me. Nothing, I think, can
be better than the tone of the book, it impresses those who know nothing
about the subject. As for your doctrine, I am prepared to go to the
stake, if requisite, in support of Chapter IX., and most parts of
Chapters X., 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 adversaries.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Ilkley, November 25th [1859].

My dear Huxley,

Your letter has been forwarded to me from Down. Like a good Catholic who
has received extreme unction, I can now sing "nunc dimittis." I should
have been more than contented with one quarter of what you have said.
Exactly fifteen months ago, when I put pen to paper for this volume, I
had awful misgivings; and thought perhaps I had deluded myself, like
so many have done, and I then fixed in my mind three judges, on whose
decision I determined mentally to abide. The judges were Lyell, Hooker,
and yourself. It was this which made me so 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
creationist! You have most cleverly hit on one point, which has greatly
troubled me; if, as I must think, external conditions produce little
DIRECT effect, what the devil determines each particular variation? What
makes a tuft of feathers come on a cock's head, or moss on a moss-rose?
I shall much like to talk over this with you...

My dear Huxley, I thank you cordially for your letter.

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--Hereafter I shall be particularly curious to hear what you think
of my explanation of Embryological similarity. On classification I fear
we shall split. Did you perceive the argumentum ad hominem Huxley about
kangaroo and bear?

ERASMUS DARWIN (His brother.) TO CHARLES 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. (Dr., afterwards
Sir Henry Holland.) has said. He has not read much above half, so as he
says he can give no definite conclusion, and it is my private belief he
wishes to remain in that state... He is evidently in a dreadful state of
indecision, and keeps stating that he is not tied down to either view,
and that he has always left an escape by the way he has spoken of
varieties. I happened to speak of the eye before he had read that part,
and it took away his breath--utterly impossible--structure, function,
etc., etc., etc., 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 paleontologists could distinguish
them. In fact the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me
that if the facts won't fit in, why so much the worse for the facts is
my feeling. My ague has left me in such a state of torpidity that I wish
I had gone through the process of natural selection.

Yours affectionately, E.A.D.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, November [24th, 1859].

My dear Lyell,

Again I have to thank you for a most valuable lot of criticisms in a
letter dated 22nd.

This morning I heard also from Murray that he sold the whole edition
(First edition, 1250 copies.) 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 (The passage
was omitted in the second edition.), it goes to my heart. About the
rattle-snake, look to my Journal, under Trigonocephalus, and you will
see the probable origin of the rattle, and generally in transitions it
is the premier pas qui coute.

Madame Belloc wants to translate my book into French; I have offered
to look over proofs for SCIENTIFIC errors. Did you ever hear of her? I
believe Murray has agreed at my urgent advice, but I fear I have been
rash and premature. Quatrefages has written to me, saying he agrees
largely with my views. He is an excellent naturalist. I am pressed for
time. Will you give us one line about the whales? Again I thank you
for neve-tiring advice and assistance; I do in truth reverence your
unselfish and pure love of truth.

My dear Lyell, ever yours, C. DARWIN.

[With regard to a French translation, he wrote to Mr. Murray in November
1859: "I am EXTREMELY anxious, for the subject's sake (and God knows
not for mere fame), to have my book translated; and indirectly its being
known abroad will do good to the English sale. If it depended on me, I
should agree without payment, and instantly send a copy, and only beg
that she [Mme. Belloc] would get some scientific man to look over
the translation... You might say that, though I am a very poor French
scholar, I could detect any scientific mistake, and would read over the
French proofs."

The proposed translation was not made, and a second plan fell through
in the following year. He wrote to M. de Quatrefages: "The gentleman
who wished to translate my 'Origin of Species' has failed in getting a
publisher. Balliere, Masson, and Hachette all rejected it with contempt.
It was foolish and presumptuous in me, hoping to appear in a French
dress; but the idea would not have entered my head had it not been
suggested to me. It is a great loss. I must console myself with the
German edition which Prof. Bronn is bringing out." (See letters to
Bronn, page 70.)

A sentence in another letter to M. de Quatrefages shows how anxious he
was to convert one of the greatest of contemporary Zoologists: "How I
should like to know whether Milne Edwards had read the copy which I sent
him, and whether he thinks I have made a pretty good case on our side
of the question. There is no naturalist in the world for whose opinion I
have so profound a respect. Of course I am not so silly as to expect to
change his opinion."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, [November 26th, 1859].

My dear Lyell,

I have received your letter of the 24th. It is no use trying to thank
you; your kindness is beyond thanks. I will certainly leave out the
whale and bear...

The edition was 1250 copies. When I was in spirits, I sometimes fancied
that my book would be successful, but I never even built a castle in the
air of such success as it has met with; I do not mean the sale, but the
impression it has made on you (whom I have always looked at as chief
judge) and Hooker and Huxley. The whole has infinitely exceeded my
wildest hopes.

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

My kind friend, farewell, yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, Yorkshire, December 2nd [1859].

My dear Lyell,

Every note which you have sent me has interested me much. Pray thank
Lady Lyell for her remark. In the chapters she refers to, I was unable
to modify the passage in accordance with your suggestion; but in the
final chapter I have modified three or four. Kingsley, in a note (The
letter is given below) to me, had a capital paragraph on such notions
as mine being NOT opposed to a high conception of the Deity. I have
inserted it as an extract from a letter to me from a celebrated author
and divine. I have put in about nascent organs. I had the greatest
difficulty in partially making out Sedgwick's letter, and I dare say I
did greatly underrate its clearness. Do what I could, I fear I shall
be greatly abused. In answer to Sedgwick's remark that my book would be
"mischievous," I asked him whether truth can be known except by being
victorious over all attacks. But it is no use. H.C. Watson tells me that
one zoologist says he will read my book, "but I will never believe it."
What a spirit to read any book in! Crawford writes to me that his notice
(John Crawford, orientalist, ethnologist, etc., 1783-1868. 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.") will be hostile, but that "he will
not calumniate the author." He says he has read my book, "at least such
parts as he could understand." He sent me some notes and suggestions
(quite unimportant), and they show me that I have unavoidably done
harm to the subject, by publishing an abstract. He is a real Pallasian;
nearly all our domestic races descended from a multitude of wild species
now commingled. I expected Murchison to be outrageous. How little he
could ever have grappled with the subject of denudation! How singular
so great a geologist should have so unphilosophical a mind! I have had
several notes from --, very civil and less decided. Says he shall not
pronounce against me without much reflection, PERHAPS WILL SAY NOTHING
on the subject. X. says -- will go to that part of hell, which Dante
tells us is appointed for those who are neither on God's side nor on
that of the devil.

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

Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

I return home on the 7th, and shall sleep at Erasmus's. I will call on
you about ten o'clock, on Thursday, the 8th, and sit with you, as I have
so often sat, during your breakfast.

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

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

"I must thank you for your extremely kind notice of my book in
'Macmillan.' No one could receive a more delightful and honourable
compliment. I had not heard of your Lecture, owing to my retired life.
You attribute much too much to me from our mutual friendship. You have
explained my leading idea with admirable clearness. What a gift you have
of writing (or more properly) thinking clearly."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, December 3rd

My dear Carpenter,

I am perfectly delighted at your letter. It is a great thing to have got
a great physiologist on our side. I say "our" for we are now a good and
compact body of really good men, and mostly not old men. In the long run
we shall conquer. I do not like being abused, but I feel that I can now
bear it; and, as I told Lyell, I am well convinced that it is the first
offender who reaps the rich harvest of abuse. You have done an essential
kindness in checking the odium theologicum in the E.R. (This must refer
to Carpenter's critique which would now have been ready to appear in the
January number of the "Edinburgh Review", 1860, and in which the odium
theologicum is referred to.) It much pains all one's female relations
and injures the cause.

I look at it as immaterial whether we go quite the same lengths; and I
suspect, judging from myself, that you will go further, by thinking of
a population of forms like Ornithorhyncus, and by thinking of the
common homological and embryological structure of the several vertebrate
orders. But this is immaterial. I quite agree that the principle is
everything. In my fuller MS. I have discussed a good many instincts;
but there will surely be more unfilled gaps here than with corporeal
structure, for we have no fossil instincts, and know scarcely any except
of European animals. When I reflect how very slowly I came round myself,
I am in truth astonished at the candour shown by Lyell, Hooker, Huxley,
and yourself. In my opinion it is grand. I thank you cordially for
taking the trouble of writing a review for the 'National.' God knows
I shall have few enough in any degree favourable. (See a letter to Dr.
Carpenter below.)

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Saturday [December 5th, 1859].

... I have had a letter from Carpenter this morning. He reviews me in
the 'National.' He is a convert, but does not go quite so far as I, but
quite far enough, for he admits that all birds are from one progenitor,
and probably all fishes and reptiles from another parent. But the
last mouthful chokes him. He can hardly admit all vertebrates from one
parent. He will surely come to this from Homology and Embryology. I look
at it as grand having brought round a great physiologist, for great I
think he certainly is in that line. How curious I shall be to know what
line Owen will take; dead against us, I fear; but he wrote me a most
liberal note on the reception of my book, and said he was quite prepared
to consider fairly and without prejudice my line of argument.


Dear Darwin,

You have, I know, been drenched with letters since the publication of
your book, and I have hence forborne to add my mite. I hope now that you
are well through Edition II., and I have heard that you were flourishing
in London. I have not yet got half-through the book, not from want of
will, but of time--for it is the very hardest book to read, to full
profits, that I ever tried--it is so cram-full of matter and reasoning.
I am all the more glad that you have published in this form, for the
three volumes, unprefaced by this, would have choked any Naturalist
of the nineteenth century, and certainly have softened my brain in
the operation of assimilating their contents. I am perfectly tired of
marvelling at the wonderful amount of facts you have brought to bear,
and your skill in marshalling them and throwing them on the enemy; it
is also extremely clear as far as I have gone, but very hard to fully
appreciate. Somehow it reads very different from the MS., and I often
fancy I must have been very stupid not to have more fully followed it in
MS. Lyell told me of his criticisms. I did not 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, JOS. D. HOOKER.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, Saturday [December 12th, 1859].

... I had very long interviews with --, which perhaps you would like to
hear about... I infer from several expressions that, at bottom, he goes
an immense way with 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 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


... The latter part of my stay at Ilkley did me much good, but I suppose
I never shall be strong, for the work I have had since I came back has
knocked me up a little more than once. I have been busy in getting a
reprint (with a very few corrections) through the press.

My book has been as yet VERY MUCH more successful than I ever dreamed
of: Murray is now printing 3000 copies. Have you finished it? If so,
pray tell me whether you are with me on the GENERAL issue, or against
me. If you are against me, I know well how honourable, fair, and candid
an opponent I shall have, and which is a good deal more than I can say
of all my opponents...

Pray tell me what you have been doing. Have you had time for any Natural

P.S.--I have got--I wish and hope I might say that WE have got--a fair
number of excellent men on our side of the question on the mutability of

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, December 14th [1859].

My dear Hooker,

Your approval of my book, for many reasons, gives me intense
satisfaction; but I must make some allowance for your kindness and
sympathy. Any one with ordinary faculties, if he had PATIENCE enough and
plenty of time, could have written my book. You do not know how I admire
your and Lyell's generous and unselfish sympathy, I do not believe
either of you would have cared so much about your own work. My book, as
yet, has been far more successful than I ever even formerly ventured in
the wildest day-dreams to anticipate. We shall soon be a good body
of working men, and shall have, I am convinced, all young and rising
naturalists on our side. I shall be intensely interested to hear whether
my book produces any effect on A. Gray; from what I heard at Lyell's, I
fancy your correspondence has brought him some way already. I fear that
there is no chance of Bentham being staggered. Will he read my book? Has
he a copy? I would send him one of the reprints if he has not. Old J.E.
Gray (John Edward Gray (1800-1875), was the son of S.F. Gray, author
of the 'Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia.' In 1821 he published in his
father's name 'The Natural Arrangement of British Plants,' one of the
earliest works in English on the natural method. In 1824 he became
connected with the Natural History Department of the British Museum, and
was appointed Keeper of the Zoological collections in 1840. He was the
author of 'Illustrations of Indian Zoology,' 'The Knowsley Menagerie,'
etc., and of innumerable descriptive Zoological papers.), at 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, etc., etc."

You must be very glad to be settled in your house, and I hope all the
improvements satisfy you. As far as my experience goes, improvements
are never perfection. I am very sorry to hear that you are still so very
busy, and have so much work. And now for the main purport of my note,
which is to ask and beg you and Mrs. Hooker (whom it is really an age
since I have seen), and all your children, if you like, to come
and spend a week here. It would be a great pleasure to me and to my
wife... As far as we can see, we shall be at home all the winter; and all
times probably would be equally convenient; but if you can, do not put
it off very late, as it may slip through. Think of this and persuade
Mrs. Hooker, and be a good man and come.

Farewell, my kind and dear friend, Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I shall be very curious to hear what you think of my discussion on
Classification in Chapter XIII.; I believe Huxley demurs to the whole,
and says he has nailed his colours to the mast, and I would sooner die
than give up; so that we are in as fine a frame of mind to discuss the
point as any two religionists.

Embryology is my pet bit in my book, and, confound my friends, not one
has noticed this to me.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, December 21st [1859].

My dear Gray,

I have just received your most kind, long, and valuable letter. I will
write again in a few days, for I am at present unwell and much pressed
with business: to-day's note is merely personal. I should, for several
reasons, be very glad of an American Edition. I have made up my mind to
be well abused; but I think it of importance that my notions should be
read by intelligent men, accustomed to scientific argument, though NOT
naturalists. It may seem absurd, but I think such men will drag after
them those naturalists who have too firmly fixed in their heads that a
species is an entity. The first edition of 1250 copies was sold on the
first day, and now my publisher is printing off, as RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE,
3000 more copies. I mention this solely because it renders probable
a remunerative sale in America. I should be infinitely obliged if you
could aid an American reprint; and could make, for my sake and the
publisher's, any arrangement for any profit. The new edition is only a
reprint, yet I have made a FEW important corrections. I will have the
clean sheets sent over in a few days of as many sheets as are printed
off, and the remainder afterwards, and you can do anything you like,--if
nothing, there is no harm done. I should be glad for the new edition to
be reprinted and not the old.--In great haste, and with hearty thanks,

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

I will write soon again.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, 22nd [December, 1859].

My dear Lyell, Thanks about "Bears" (See 'Origin,' edition i., page
184.), a word of il-omen to me.

I am too unwell to leave home, so shall not see you.

I am very glad of your remarks on Hooker. (Sir C. Lyell wrote to Sir
J.D. Hooker, December 19, 1859 ('Life,' ii. page 327): "I have just
finished the reading of your splendid Essay [the 'Flora of Australia']
on the origin of species, as illustrated by your wide botanical
experience, and think it goes very far to raise the variety-making
hypothesis to the rank of a theory, as accounting for the manner in
which new species enter the world.") I have not yet got the essay.
The parts which I read in sheets seemed to me grand, especially the
generalization about the Australian flora itself. How superior to
Robert Brown's celebrated essay! I have not seen Naudin's paper ('Revue
Horticole,' 1852. See historical Sketch in the later editions of the
'Origin of Species.'), and shall not be able till I hunt the libraries.
I am very anxious to see it. Decaisne seems to think he gives my whole
theory. I do not know when I shall have time and strength to grapple
with Hooker...

P.S.--I have heard from Sir W. Jardine (Jardine, Sir William, Bart.,
1800-1874), was the son of Sir A. Jardine of Applegarth, Dumfriesshire.
He was educated at Edinburgh, and succeeded to the title on his father's
decease in 1821. He published, jointly with Mr. Prideaux, J. Selby,
Sir Stamford Raffles, Dr. Horsfield, and other ornithologists,
'Illustrations of Ornithology,' and edited the 'Naturalist's Library,'
in 40 volumes, which included the four branches: Mammalia, Ornithology,
Ichnology, and Entomology. Of these 40 volumes 14 were written by
himself. In 1836 he became editor of the 'Magazine of Zoology and
Botany,' which, two years later, was transformed into 'Annals of Natural
History,' but remained under his direction. For Bohn's Standard Library
he edited White's 'Natural History of Selborne.' Sir W. Jardine was also
joint editor of the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,' and was author of
'British Salmonidae,' 'Ichthyology of Annandale,' 'Memoirs of the
late Hugh Strickland,' 'Contributions to Ornithology,' 'Ornithological
Synonyms,' etc.--(Taken from Ward, 'Men of the Reign,' and Cates,
'Dictionary of General Biography.'): his criticisms are quite
unimportant; some of the Galapagos so-called species ought to be called
varieties, which I fully expected; some of the sub-genera, thought to be
wholly endemic, have been found on the Continent (not that he gives his
authority), but I do not make out that the species are the same. His
letter is brief and vague, but he says he will write again.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [23rd December, 1859].

My dear Hooker,

I received last night your 'Introduction,' for which very many thanks;
I am surprised to see how big it is: I shall not be able to read it very
soon. It was very good of you to send Naudin, for I was very curious to
see it. I am surprised that Decaisne should say it was the same as
mine. Naudin gives artificial selection, as well as a score of English
writers, and when he says species were formed in the same manner, I
thought the paper would certainly prove exactly the same as mine. But
I cannot find one word like the struggle for existence and natural
selection. On the contrary, he brings in his principle (page 103) of
finality (which I do not understand), which, he says, with some authors
is fatality, with others providence, and which adapts the forms of every
being, and harmonises them all throughout nature.

He assumes like old geologists (who assumed that the forces of nature
were formerly greater), that species were at first more plastic. His
simile of tree and classification is like mine (and others), but he
cannot, I think, have reflected much on the subject, otherwise he would
see that genealogy by itself does not give classification; I declare I
cannot see a MUCH closer approach to Wallace and me in Naudin than in
Lamarck--we all agree in modification and descent. If I do not hear from
you I will return the 'Revue' in a few days (with the cover). I dare say
Lyell would be glad to see it. By the way, I will retain the volume till
I hear whether I shall or not send it to Lyell. I should rather like
Lyell to see this note, though it is foolish work sticking up for
independence or priority.

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

A. SEDGWICK (Rev. Adam Sedgwick, 1785-1873, Woodwardian Professor of
Geology in the University of Cambridge.) TO CHARLES DARWIN. Cambridge,
December 24th, [1859].

My dear Darwin,

I write to thank you for your work on the 'Origin of Species.' It came,
I think, in the latter part of last week; but it MAY have come a few
days sooner, and been overlooked among my book-parcels, which often
remain unopened when I am lazy or busy with any work before me. So
soon as I opened it I began to read it, and I finished it, after many
interruptions, on Tuesday. Yesterday I was 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, etc., etc.) 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 tra-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 curiously by the selecting
agent. 'Tis but a consequence of the presupposed development, and
the subsequent battle for life. This view of nature you have stated
admirably, though admitted by all naturalists and 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 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 antitype in solid fruition of what is best and greatest.
But on one condition only--that I humbly accept God's revelation of
Himself both in his works and in His word, and do my best to act in
conformity with that knowledge which He only can give me, and He only
can sustain me in doing. If you and I do all this we shall meet in

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
tru-hearted old friend,


CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 25th [1859].

My dear Huxley,

One part of your note has pleased me so much that I must thank you for
it. Not only Sir H.H. [Holland], but several others, have attacked
me about analogy leading to belief in one primordial CREATED form.
('Origin,' edition i. page 484.--"Therefore I should infer from analogy
that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth
have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first
breathed.") (By which I mean only that we know nothing as yet [of] how
life originates.) I thought I was universally condemned on this head.
But I answered that though perhaps it would have been more prudent
not to have put it in, I would not strike it out, as it seemed to me
probable, and I give it on no other grounds. You will see in your mind
the kind of arguments which made me think it probable, and no one
fact had so great an effect on me as your most curious remarks on the
apparent homologies of the head of Vertebrata and Articulata.

You have done a real good turn in the Agency business ("My General
Agent" was a sobriquet applied at this time by my father to Mr. Huxley.)
(I never before heard of a hard-working, unpaid agent besides yourself),
in talking with Sir H.H., for he will have great influence over many.
He floored me from my ignorance about the bones of the ear, and I made a
mental note to ask you what the facts were.

With hearty thanks and real admiration for your generous zeal for the

Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

You may smile about the care and precautions I have taken about my ugly
MS. (Manuscript left with Mr. Huxley for his perusal.); it is not so
much the value I set on them, but the remembrance of the intolerable
labour--for instance, in tracing the history of the breeds of pigeons.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, 25th [December, 1859].

... I shall not write to Decaisne (With regard to Naudin's paper in the
'Revue Horticole,' 1852.); I have always had a strong feeling that
no one had better defend his own priority. I cannot say that I am as
indifferent to the subject as I ought to be, but one can avoid doing
anything in consequence.

I do not believe one iota about your having assimilated any of my
notions unconsciously. You have always done me more than justice. But I
do think I did you a bad turn by getting you to read the old MS., as it
must have checked your own original thoughts. There is one thing I
am fully convinced of, that the future progress (which is the really
important point) of the subject will have depended on really good and
well-known workers, like yourself, Lyell, and Huxley, having taken up
the subject, than on my own work. I see plainly it is this that strikes
my no-scientific friends.

Last night I said to myself, I would just cut your Introduction, but
would not begin to read, but I broke down, and had a good hour's read.

Farewell, yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. December 28th, 1859.

... Have you seen the splendid essay and notice of my book in the
"Times"? (December 26th.) I cannot avoid a strong suspicion that it is
by Huxley; but I never heard that he wrote in the "Times". It will do
grand service,...

C. DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 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.
I was charmed with those unreasonable mortals, who know anything, all
thinking fit to range themselves on one side. (The reviewer proposes
to pass by the orthodox view, according to which the phenomena of
the organic world are "the immediate product of a creative fiat, and
consequently are out of the domain of science altogether." And he does
so "with less hesitation, as it so happens that those persons who
are practically conversant with the facts of the case (plainly a
considerable advantage) have always thought fit to range themselves"
in the category of those holding "views which profess to rest on a
scientific basis only, and therefore admit of being argued to their
consequences.") Who can it be? Certainly I should have said that there
was only one man in England who could have written this essay, and
that YOU were the man. But I suppose I am wrong, and that there is some
hidden genius of great calibre. For how could you influence Jupiter
Olympius and make him give three and a half columns to pure science? The
old fogies will think the world will come to an end. Well, whoever the
man is, he has done great service to the cause, far more than by a
dozen reviews in common 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, C. DARWIN.

[It is impossible to give in a short space an adequate idea of Mr.
Huxley's article in the "Times" of December 26. It is admirably planned,
so as to claim for the 'Origin' a respectful hearing, and it abstains
from anything like dogmatism in asserting the truth of the doctrines
therein upheld. A few passages may be quoted:--"That this most ingenious
hypothesis enables us to give a reason for many apparent anomalies in
the distribution of living beings in time and space, and that it is not
contradicted by the main phenomena of life and organisation, appear to
us to be unquestionable." Mr. Huxley goes on to recommend to the readers
of the 'Origin' a condition of "thatige Skepsis"--a state of "doubt
which so loves truth that it neither dares rest in doubting, nor
extinguish itself by unjustified belief." The final paragraph is in a
strong contrast to Professor Sedgwick and his "ropes of bubbles" (see
below). Mr. Huxley writes: "Mr. Darwin abhors mere speculation as
nature abhors a vacuum. He is as greedy of cases and precedents as any
constitutional lawyer, and all the principles he lays down are capable
of being brought to the test of observation and experiment. The path
he bids us follow professes to be not a mere airy track, fabricated of
ideal cobwebs, but a solid and broad bridge of facts. If it be so, it
will carry us safely over many a chasm in our knowledge, and lead us to
a region free from the snares of those fascinating but barren virgins,
the Final Causes, against whom a high authority has so justly warned

There can be no doubt that this powerful essay, appearing as it did
in the leading daily Journal, must have had a strong influence on the
reading public. Mr. Huxley allows me to quote from a letter an account
of the happy chance that threw into his hands the opportunity of writing

"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."]



[I extract a few entries from my father's Diary:--

"January 7th. The second edition, 3000 copies, of 'Origin' was

"May 22nd. The first edition of 'Origin' in the United States was 2500

My father has here noted down the sums received for the 'Origin.'

First Edition......180 pounds Second Edition.....636 pounds 13 shillings
4 pence

Total..............816 pounds 13 shillings 4 pence.

After the publication of the second edition he began at once, on January
9th, looking over his materials for the 'Variation of Animals and
Plants;' the only other work of the year was on Drosera.

He was at Down during the whole of this year, except for a visit to
Dr. Lane's Water-cure Establishment at Sudbrooke, and in June, and
for visits to Miss Elizabeth Wedgwood's house at Hartfield, in Sussex
(July), and to Eastbourne, September 22 to November 16.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, January 3rd [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I have finished your Essay. ('Australian Flora.') As probably you would
like to hear my opinion, though a non-botanist, I will give it without
any exaggeration. To my judgment it is by far the grandest and most
interesting essay, on subjects of the nature discussed, I have ever
read. You know how I admired your former essays, but this seems to me
far grander. I like all the part after page xxvi better than the first
part, probably because newer to me. I dare say you will demur to this,
for I think every author likes the most speculative parts of his own
productions. How superior your essay is to the famous one of Brown
(here will be sneer 1st from you). You have made all your conclusions so
admirably clear, that it would be no use at all to be a botanist (sneer
No. 2). By Jove, it would do harm to affix any idea to the long names of
outlandish orders. One can look at your conclusions with the philosophic
abstraction with which a mathematician looks at his a times x + the
square root of z squared, etc. etc. I hardly know which parts have
interested me most; for over and over again I exclaimed, "this beats
all." The general comparison of the Flora of Australia with the rest
of the world, strikes me (as before) as extremely original, good, and
suggestive of many reflections.

... The invading Indian Flora is very interesting, but I think the fact
you mention towards the close of the essay--that the Indian vegetation,
in contradistinction to the Malayan vegetation, is found in low and
level parts of the Malay Islands, GREATLY lessens the difficulty which
at first (page 1) seemed so great. There is nothing like one's own
hobby-horse. I suspect it is the same case as of glacial migration,
and of naturalised production--of production of greater area conquering
those of lesser; of course the Indian forms would have a greater
difficulty in seizing on the cool parts of Australia. I demur to your
remarks (page 1), as not "conceiving anything in soil, climate, or
vegetation of India," which could stop the introduction of Australian
plants. Towards the close of the essay (page civ), you have
admirable remarks on our profound ignorance of the cause of possible
naturalisation or introduction; I would answer page 1, by a later page,
viz. page civ.

Your contrast of the south-west and south-east corners is one of the
most wonderful cases I ever heard of... You show the case with wonderful
force. Your discussion on mixed invaders of the south-east corner (and
of New Zealand) is as curious and intricate a problem as of the races
of men in Britain. Your remark on mixed invading Flora keeping down or
destroying an original Flora, which was richer in number of species,
strikes me as EMINENTLY NEW AND IMPORTANT. I am not sure whether to me
the discussion on the New Zealand Flora is not even more instructive. I
cannot too much admire both. But it will require a long time to suck in
all the facts. Your case of the largest Australian orders having none,
or very few, species in New Zealand, is truly marvellous. Anyhow, you
have now DEMONSTRATED (together with no mammals in New Zealand) (bitter
sneer No. 3), that New Zealand has never been continuously, or even
nearly continuously, united by land to Australia!! At page lxxxix, is
the only sentence (on this subject) in the whole essay at which I am
much inclined to quarrel, viz. that no theory of trans-oceanic migration
can explain, etc. etc. Now I maintain against all the world, that no man
knows anything about the power of trans-oceanic migration. You do not
know whether or not the absent orders have seeds which are killed by
sea-water, like almost all Leguminosae, and like another order which
I forget. Birds do not migrate from Australia to New Zealand, and
therefore floatation SEEMS the only possible means; but yet I maintain
that we do not know enough to argue on the question, especially as we do
not know the main fact whether the seeds of Australian orders are killed
by sea-water.

The discussion on European Genera is profoundly interesting; but here
alone I earnestly beg for more information, viz. to know which of
these genera are absent in the Tropics of the world, i.e. confined to
temperate regions. I excessively wish to know, ON THE NOTION OF GLACIAL
MIGRATION, how much modification has taken place in Australia. I had
better explain when we meet, and get you to go over and mark the list.

... The list of naturalised plants is extremely interesting, but why at
the end, in the name of all that is good and bad, do you not sum up and
comment on your facts? Come, I will have a sneer at you in return for
the many which you will have launched at this letter. Should you have
remarked on the number of plants naturalised in Australia and the United
States UNDER EXTREMELY DIFFERENT CLIMATES, as showing that climate is
so important, and [on] the considerable sprinkling of plants from
India, North America, and South Africa, as showing that the frequent
introduction of seeds is so important? With respect to "abundance of
unoccupied ground in Australia," do you believe that European plants
introduced by man now grow on spots in Australia which were absolutely
bare? But I am an impudent dog, one must defend one's own fancy theories
against such cruel men as you. I dare say this letter will appear
very conceited, but one must form an opinion on what one reads with
attention, and in simple truth, I cannot find words strong enough to
express my admiration of your essay.

My dear old friend, yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I differ about the "Saturday Review". ("Saturday Review", December
24, 1859. The hostile arguments of the reviewer are geological, and he
deals especially with the denudation of the Weald. The reviewer remarks
that, "if a million of centuries, more or less, is needed for any
part of his argument, he feels no scruple in taking them to suit
his purpose.") One cannot expect fairness in a reviewer, so I do not
complain of all the other arguments besides the 'Geological Record'
being omitted. Some of the remarks about the lapse of years are
very good, and the reviewer gives me some good and well-deserved
raps--confound it. I am sorry to confess the truth: but it does not at
all concern the main argument. That was a nice notice in the "Gardeners'
Chronicle". I hope and imagine that Lindley is almost a convert. Do not
forget to tell me if Bentham gets all the more staggered.

With respect to tropical plants during the Glacial period, I throw
in your teeth your own facts, at the base of the Himalaya, on the
possibility of the co-existence of at least forms of the tropical and
temperate regions. I can give a parallel case for animals in Mexico. Oh!
my dearly beloved puny child, how cruel men are to you! I am very glad
you approve of the Geographical chapters...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, [January 4th, 1860].

My dear L.

"Gardeners' Chronicle" returned safe. Thanks for note. I am beyond
measure glad that you get more and more roused on the subject of
species, for, as I have always said, I am well convinced that your
opinions and writings will do far more to convince the world than mine.
You will make a grand discussion on man. You are very bold in this,
and I honour you. I have been, like you, quite surprised at the want
of originality in opposed arguments and in favour too. Gwyn Jeffreys
attacks me justly in his letter about strictly littoral shells not being
often embedded at least in Tertiary deposits. I was in a muddle, for I
was thinking of Secondary, yet Chthamalus applied to Tertiary...

Possibly you might like to see the enclosed note (Dr. Whewell wrote
(January 2, 1860): "... I cannot, yet at least, become a convert. But
there is so much of thought and of fact in what you have written that
it is not to be contradicted without careful selection of the ground and
manner of the dissent." Dr. Whewell dissented in a practical manner for
some years, by refusing to allow a copy of the 'Origin of Species' to
be placed in the Library of Trinity College.) from Whewell, merely as
showing that he is not horrified with us. You can return it whenever you
have occasion to write, so as not to waste your time.


CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, [January 4th? 1860].

... I have had a brief note from Keyserling (Joint author with Murchison
of the 'Geology of Russia,' 1845.), but not worth sending you. He
believes in change of species, grants that natural selection explains
well adaptation of form, but thinks species change too regularly, as
if by some chemical law, for natural selection to be the sole cause of
change. I can hardly understand his brief note, but this is I think the

... I will send A. Murray's paper whenever published. (The late Andrew
Murray wrote two papers on the 'Origin' in the Proc. R. Soc. Edin. 1860.
The one referred to here is dated January 16, 1860. The following is
quoted from page 6 of the separate copy: "But the second, and, as it
appears to me, by much the most important phase of reversion to type
(and which is practically, if not altogether ignored by Mr. Darwin),
is the instinctive inclination which induces individuals of the same
species by preference to intercross with those possessing the qualities
which they themselves want, so as to preserve the purity or equilibrium
of the breed... It is trite to a proverb, that tall men marry little
women... a man of genius marries a fool... and we are told that this is
the result of the charm of contrast, or of qualities admired in others
because we do not possess them. I do not so explain it. I imagine it is
the effort of nature to preserve the typical medium of the race.")
It includes speculations (which he perhaps will modify) so rash, and
without a single fact in support, that had I advanced them he or other
reviewers would have hit me very hard. I am sorry to say that I have
no "consolatory view" on the dignity of man. I am content that man will
probably advance, and care not much whether we are looked at as mere
savages in a remotely distant future. Many thanks for your last note.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

I have received, in a Manchester newspaper, rather a good squib, showing
that I have proved "might is right," and therefore that Napoleon is
right, and every cheating tradesman is also right.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Down, January 6th [1860]?

My dear Carpenter,

I have just read your excellent article in the 'National.' It will do
great good; especially if it becomes known as your production. It seems
to me to give an excellently clear account of Mr. Wallace's and my
views. How capitally you turn the flanks of the theological opposers by
opposing to them such men as Bentham and the more philosophical of the
systematists! I thank you sincerely for the EXTREMELY honourable
manner in which you mention me. I should have liked to have seen some
criticisms or remarks on embryology, on which subject you are so well
instructed. I do not think any candid person can read your article
without being much impressed with it. The old doctrine of immutability
of specific forms will surely but slowly die away. It is a shame to
give you trouble, but I should be very much obliged if you could tell me
where differently coloured eggs in individuals of the cuckoo have been
described, and their laying in twent-seven kinds of nests. Also do you
know from your own observation that the limbs of sheep imported into
the West Indies change colour? I have had detailed information about the
loss of wool; but my accounts made the change slower than you describe.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO L. JENYNS. (Rev. L. Blomefield.) Down, January 7th,

My dear Jenyns,

I am very much obliged for your letter. It is of great use and interest
to me to know what impression my book produces on philosophical and
instructed minds. I thank you for the kind things which you say; and you
go with me much further than I expected. You will think it presumptuous,
IN MIND, that you will go further. No one has yet cast doubts on my
explanation of the subordination of group to group, on homologies,
embryology, and rudimentary organs; and if my explanation of these
classes of facts be at all right, whole classes of organic beings must
be included in one line of descent.

The imperfection of the Geological Record is one of the greatest
difficulties... During the earliest period the record would be most
imperfect, and this seems to me sufficient to account for our not
finding intermediate forms between the classes in the same great
kingdoms. It was certainly rash in me putting in my belief of the
probability of all beings having descended from ONE primordial form;
but as this seems yet to me probable, I am not willing to strike it out.
Huxley alone supports me in this, and something could be said in its
favour. With respect to man, I am very far from wishing to obtrude
my belief; but I thought it dishonest to quite conceal my opinion.
Of course it is open to every one to believe that man appeared by
a separate miracle, though I do not myself see the necessity or

Pray accept my sincere thanks for your kind note. Your going some way
with me gives me great confidence that I am not very wrong. For a very
long time I halted half way; but I do not believe that any enquiring
mind will rest half-way. People will have to reject all or admit all; by
ALL I mean only the members of each great kingdom.

My dear Jenyns, yours most sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, January 10th [1860].

... It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the corrections (The
second edition of 3000 copies of the 'Origin' was published on January
7th.) 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 (This refers to the passage in the 'Origin of
Species' (2nd edition, page 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 second edition.) of years (not that
I think it is probably wrong), and my not having (by inadvertance)
mentioned Wallace towards the close of the book in the summary, not that
any one has noticed this to me. I have now put in Wallace's name at page
484 in a conspicuous place. I cannot refer you to tables of mortality
of children, etc. etc. I have notes somewhere, but I have not the LEAST
idea where to hunt, and my notes would now be old. I shall be truly
glad to read carefully any MS. on man, and give my opinion. You used to
caution me to be cautious about man. I suspect I shall have to return
the caution a hundred fold! Yours will, no doubt, be a grand discussion;
but it will horrify the world at first more than my whole volume;
although by the sentence (page 489, new edition (First edition, page
488.)) 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. By the way, I sent off a lot of questions
the day before yesterday to Tierra del Fuego on expression! I suspect
(for I have never read it) that Spencer's 'Psychology' has a bearing on
Psychology as we should look at it. By all means read the Preface, in
about 20 pages, of Hensleigh Wedgwood's new Dictionary on the first
origin of Language; Erasmus would lend it. I agree about Carpenter,
a very good article, but with not much original... Andrew Murray has
criticised, in an address to the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, the
notice in the 'Linnean Journal,' and "has disposed of" the whole theory
by an ingenious difficulty, which I was very stupid not to have thought
of; for I express surprise at more and analogous cases not being known.
The difficulty is, that amongst the blind insects of the caves in
distant parts of the world there are some of the same genus, and yet the
genus is not found out of the caves or living in the free world. I have
little doubt that, like the fish Amblyopsis, and like Proteus in Europe,
these insects are "wrecks of ancient life," or "living fossils," saved
from competition and extermination. But that formerly SEEING insects
of the same genus roamed over the whole area in which the cases are

Farewell, yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--OUR ancestor was an animal which breathed water, had a swim
bladder, a great swimming tail, an imperfect skull, and undoubtedly was
an hermaphrodite!

Here is a pleasant genealogy for mankind.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, January 14th [1860].

... I shall be much interested in reading your man discussion, and will
give my opinion carefully, whatever that may be worth; but I have so
long looked at you as the type of cautious scientific judgment (to my
mind one of the highest and most useful qualities), that I suspect my
opinion will be superfluous. It makes me laugh to think what a joke
it will be if I have to caution you, after your cautions on the same
subject to me!

I will order Owen's book ('Classification of the Mammalia,' 1859.); I am
very glad to hear Huxley's opinion on his classification of man; without
having due knowledge, it seemed to me from the very first absurd; all
classifications founded on single characters I believe have failed.

... What a grand, immense benefit you conferred on me by getting Murray
to publish my book. I never till to-day realised that it was getting
widely distributed; for in a letter from a lady to-day to E., she says
she heard a man enquiring for it at the RAILWAY STATION!!! at Waterloo
Bridge; and the bookseller said that he had none till the new edition
was out. The bookseller said he had not read it, but had heard it was a
very remarkable book!!!...

CHARLES DARWIN 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 of my book! I
thought it ('Gardeners' Chronicle', 1860. Referred to above. Sir J.D.
Hooker took the line of complete impartiality, so as not to commit
Lindley.) 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 admired it in another spirit. Farewell, with hearty
thanks... Lyell is going at man with an audacity that frightens me. It is
a good joke; he used always to caution me to slip over man.

[In the "Gardeners' Chronicle", January 21, 1860, appeared a short
letter from my father which was called forth by Mr. Westwood's
communication to the previous number of the journal, in which certain
phenomena of cros-breeding are discussed in relation to the 'Origin of
Species.' Mr. Westwood wrote in reply (February 11) and adduced further
evidence against the doctrine of descent, such as the identity of the
figures of ostriches on the ancient "Egyptian records," with the bird as
we now know it. The correspondence is hardly worth mentioning, except as
one of the very few cases in which my father was enticed into anything
resembling a controversy.]

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 phenomena.

Tell Darwin all this. I will write to him when I get a chance. As I have
promised, he and you shall have fair-play here... I must myself write
a review of Darwin's book for 'Silliman's Journal' (the more so that I
suspect Agassiz means to come out upon it) for the next (March) No., and
I am now setting about it (when I ought to be every moment working the
Expl[oring] Expedition Compositae, 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...

CHARLES DARWIN 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 expressions.

I have been absent from home for a few days, and so could not earlier
answer your letter to me of the 10th of January. You have been extremely
kind to take so much trouble and interest about the edition. It has been
a mistake of my publisher not thinking of sending over the sheets. I
had entirely and utterly forgotten your offer of receiving the sheets
as printed off. But I must not blame my publisher, for had I remembered
your most kind offer I feel pretty sure I should not have taken
advantage of it; for I never dreamed of my book being so successful with
general readers; I believe I should have laughed at the idea of sending
the sheets to America. (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 United States. Agassiz has denounced
it in a newspaper, but yet in such terms that it is in fact a fine
advertisement!" This seems to refer to a lecture given before the
Mercantile Library Association.)

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, etc.) 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

ASA GRAY TO CHARLES DARWIN. Cambridge, January 23rd, 1860.

My dear Darwin,

You have my hurried letter telling you of the arrival of the remainder
of the sheets of the reprint, and of the stir I had made for a reprint
in Boston. Well, all looked pretty well, when, lo, we found that a
second New York publishing house had announced a reprint also! I wrote
then to both New York publishers, asking them to give way to the AUTHOR
and his reprint of a revised edition. I got an answer from the Harpers
that they withdraw --from the Appletons that they had got the book OUT
(and the next day I saw a copy); but that, "if the work should have
any considerable sale, we certainly shall be disposed to pay the author
reasonably and liberally."

The Appletons being thus out with their reprint, the Boston house
declined to go on. So I wrote to the Appletons taking them at their
word, offering to aid their reprint, to give them the use of the
alterations in the London reprint, as soon as I find out what they are,
etc. etc. And I sent them the first leaf, and asked them to insert in
their future issue the additional matter from Butler (A quotation from
Butler's 'Analogy,' on the use of the word natural, which in the second
edition is placed with the passages from Whewell and Bacon on page ii,
opposite the title-page.), which tells just right. So there the matter
stands. If you furnish any matter in advance of the London third
edition, I will make them pay for it.

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

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

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

To fulfil your request, I ought to tell you what I think the weakest,
and what the best, part of your book. But this is not easy, nor to be
done in a word or two. The BEST PART, I think, is the WHOLE, i.e.,
its PLAN and TREATMENT, the vast amount of facts and acute inferences
handled as if you had a perfect mastery of them. I do not think twenty
years too much time to produce such a book in.

Style clear and good, but now and then wants revision for little matters
(page 97, self-fertilises ITSELF, etc.).

Then your candour is worth everything to your cause. It is refreshing
to find a person with a new theory who frankly confesses that he finds
difficulties, insurmountable, at least for the present. I know some
people who never have any difficulties to speak of.

The moment I understood your premisses, I felt sure you had a real
foundation to hold on. Well, if one admits your premisses, I do not see
how he is to stop short of your conclusions, as a probable hypothesis at

It naturally happens that my review of your book does not exhibit
anything like the full force of the impression the book has made upon
me. Under the circumstances I suppose I do your theory more good
here, by bespeaking for it a fair and favourable consideration, and by
standing non-committed as to its full conclusions, than I should if I
announced myself a convert; nor could I say the latter, with truth.

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

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

Enough for the present.

... I am not insensible to your compliments, the very high compliment
which you pay me in valuing my opinion. You evidently think more of it
than I do, though from the way I write [to] you, and especially [to]
Hooker, this might not be inferred from the reading of my letters.

I am free to say that I never learnt so much from one book as I have
from yours, there remain a thousand things I long to say about it.

Ever yours, ASA GRAY.


... Now I will just run through some points in your letter. What you say
about my book gratifies me most deeply, and I wish I could feel all was
deserved by me. I quite think a review from a man, who is not an entire
convert, if fair and moderately favourable, is in all respects the best
kind of review. About the weak points I agree. The eye to this day gives
me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my
reason tells me I ought to conquer the cold shudder.

Pray kindly remember and tell Prof. Wyman how very grateful I should be
for any hints, information, or criticisms. I have the highest respect
for his opinion. I am so sorry about Dana's health. I have already asked
him to pay me a visit.

Farewell, you have laid me under a load of obligation--not that I feel
it a load. It is the highest possible gratification to me to think that
you have found my book worth reading and reflection; for you and three
others I put down in my own mind as the judges whose opinions I should
value most of all.

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I feel pretty sure, from my own experience, that if you are led
by your studies to keep the subject of the origin of species before your
mind, you will go further and further in your belief. It took me long
years, and I assure you I am astonished at the impression my book has
made on many minds. I fear twenty years ago, I should not have been half
as candid and open to conviction.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, [January 31st, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I have resolved to publish a little sketch of the progress of opinion on
the change of species. Will you or Mrs. Hooker do me the favour to copy
ONE sentence out of Naudin's paper in the 'Revue Horticole,' 1852, page
103, namely, that on his principle of Finalite. Can you let me have it
soon, with those confounded dashes over the vowels put in carefully? Asa
Gray, I believe, is going to get a second edition of my book, and I want
to send this little preface over to him soon. I did not think of the
necessity of having Naudin's sentence on finality, otherwise I would
have copied it.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I shall end by just alluding to your Australian Flora
Introduction. What was the date of publication: December 1859, or
January 1860? Please answer this.

My preface will also do for the French edition, which I BELIEVE, is
agreed on.


... As the 'Origin' now stands, Harvey's (William Henry Harvey was
descended from a Quaker family of Youghal, and was born in February,
1811, at Summerville, a country house on the banks of the Shannon. He
died at Torquay in 1866. In 1835, Harvey went to Africa (Table Bay) to
pursue his botanical studies, the results of which were given in his
'Genera of South African Plants.' In 1838, ill-health compelled him to
obtain leave of absence, and return to England for a time; in 1840 he
returned to Cape Town, to be again compelled by illness to leave. In
1843 he obtained the appointment of Botanical Professor at Trinity
College, Dublin. In 1854, 1855, and 1856 he visited Australia, New
Zealand, the Friendly and Fiji Islands. In 1857 Dr. Harvey reached home,
and was appointed the successor of Professor Allman to the Chair of
Botany in Dublin University. He was author of several botanical works,
principally on Algae.--(From a Memoir published in 1869.)) is a good
hit against my talking so much of the insensibly fine gradations; and
certainly it has astonished me that I should be pelted with the fact,
that I had not allowed abrupt and great enough variations under nature.
It would take a good deal more evidence to make me admit that forms have
often changed by saltum.

Have you seen Wollaston's attack in the 'Annals'? ('Annals and Magazine
of Natural History,' 1860.) The stones are beginning to fly. But
Theology has more to do with these two attacks than Science...

[In the above letter a paper by Harvey in the "Gardeners' Chronicle",
February 18, 1860, is alluded to. He describes a case of monstrosity
in Begonia frigida, in which the "sport" differed so much from a normal
Begonia that it might have served as the type of a distinct natural
order. Harvey goes on to argue that such a case is hostile to the theory
of natural selection, according to which changes are not supposed to
take place per saltum, and adds that "a few such cases would overthrow
it [Mr. Darwin's hypothesis] altogether." In the following number of
the "Gardeners' Chronicle" Sir J.D. Hooker showed that Dr. Harvey had
misconceived the bearing of the Begonia case, which he further showed
to be by no means calculated to shake the validity of the doctrine
of modification by means of natural selection. My father mentions the
Begonia case in a letter to Lyell (February 18, 1860):--

"I send by this post an attack in the "Gardeners' Chronicle", by Harvey
(a first-rate Botanist, as you probably know). It seems to me rather
strange; he assumes the permanence of monsters, whereas, monsters are
generally sterile, and not often inheritable. But grant his case, it
comes that I have been too cautious in not admitting great and sudden
variations. Here again comes in the mischief of my ABSTRACT. In the
fuller MS. I have discussed a parallel case of a normal fish like the
monstrous gold-fish."

With reference to Sir J.D. Hooker's reply, my father wrote:]

Down, [February 26th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

Your answer to Harvey seems to me ADMIRABLY good. You would have made a
gigantic fortune as a barrister. What an omission of Harvey's about the
graduated state of the flowers! But what strikes me most is that surely
I ought to know my own book best, yet, by Jove, you have brought forward
ever so many arguments which I did not think of! Your reference to
classification (viz. I presume to such cases as Aspicarpa) is EXCELLENT,
for the monstrous Begonia no doubt in all details would be Begonia. I
did not think of this, nor of the RETROGRADE step from separated sexes
to an hermaphrodite state; nor of the lessened fertility of the monster.
Proh pudor to me.

The world would say what a lawyer has been lost in a MERE botanist!

Farewell, my dear master in my own subject,

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

I am so heartily pleased to see that you approve of the chapter on

I wonder what Harvey will say. But no one hardly, I think, is able at
first to see when he is beaten in an argument.

[The following letters refer to the first translation (1860) of the
'Origin of Species' into German, which was superintended by H.G. Bronn,
a good zoologist and palaeontologist, who was at the time at Freiburg,
but afterwards Professor at Heidelberg. I have been told that the
translation was not a success, it remained an obvious translation, and
was correspondingly unpleasant to read. Bronn added to the translation
an appendix of the difficulties that occurred to him. For instance,
how can natural selection account for differences between species, when
these differences appear to be of no service to their possessors; e.g.,
the length of the ears and tail, or the folds in the enamel of the teeth
of various species of rodents? Krause, in his book, 'Charles Darwin,'
page 91, criticises Bronn's conduct in this manner, but it will be seen
that my father actually suggested the addition of Bronn's remarks. A
more serious charge against Bronn made by Krause (op. cit. page 87) is
that he left out passages of which he did not approve, as, for instance,
the passage ('Origin,' first edition, page 488) "Light will be thrown on
the origin of man and his history." I have no evidence as to whether my
father did or did not know of these alterations.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.G. BRONN. Down, February 4 [1860].

Dear and much honoured Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter; I feared that you would
much disapprove of the 'Origin,' and I sent it to you merely as a mark
of my sincere respect. I shall read with much interest your work on the
productions of Islands whenever I receive it. I thank you cordially for
the notice in the 'Neues Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie,' and still more for
speaking to Schweitzerbart about a translation; for I am most anxious
that the great and intellectual German people should know something
about my book.

I have told my publisher to send immediately a copy of the NEW
(Second edition.) edition to Schweitzerbart, and I have written to
Schweitzerbart that I gave up all right to profit for myself, so that I
hope a translation will appear. I fear that the book will be difficult
to translate, and if you could advise Schweitzerbart about a GOOD
translator, it would be of very great service. Still more, if you would
run your eye over the more difficult parts of the translation; but this
is too great a favour to expect. I feel sure that it will be difficult
to translate, from being so much condensed.

Again I thank you for your noble and generous sympathy, and I remain,
with entire respect,

Yours, truly obliged, C. DARWIN.

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

How interesting you could make the work by EDITING (I do not
mean translating) the work, and appending notes of REFUTATION or
confirmation. The book has sold so very largely in England, that an
editor would, I think, make profit by the translation.

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.G. BRONN. Down, February 14 [1860].

My dear and much honoured Sir,

I thank you cordially for your extreme kindness in superintending the
translation. I have mentioned this to some eminent scientific men, and
they all agree that you have done a noble and generous service. If I am
proved quite wrong, yet I comfort myself in thinking that my book may
do some good, as truth can only be known by rising victorious from every
attack. I thank you also much for the review, and for the kind manner
in which you speak of me. I send with this letter some corrections and
additions to M. Schweitzerbart, and a short historical preface. I am
not much acquainted with German authors, as I read German very slowly;
therefore I do not know whether any Germans have advocated similar
views with mine; if they have, would you do me the favour to insert a
foot-note to the preface? M. Schweitzerbart has now the reprint ready
for a translator to begin. Several scientific men have thought the term
"Natural Selection" good, because its meaning is NOT obvious, and each
man could not put on it his own interpretation, and because it at
once connects variation under domestication and nature. Is there any
analogous term used by German breeders of animals? "Adelung," ennobling,
would, perhaps, be too metaphysical. It is folly in me, but I cannot
help doubting whether "Wahl der Lebensweise" expresses my notion. It
leaves the impression on my mind of the Lamarckian doctrine (which I
reject) of habits of life being al-important. Man has altered, and
thus improved the English race-horse by SELECTING successive fleeter
individuals; and I believe, owing to the struggle for existence, that
similar SLIGHT variations in a wild horse, IF ADVANTAGEOUS TO IT, would
be SELECTED or PRESERVED by nature; hence Natural Selection. But I
apologise for troubling you with these remarks on the importance of
choosing good German terms for "Natural Selection." With my heartfelt
thanks, and with sincere respect,

I remain, dear Sir, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.G. BRONN. Down, July 14 [1860].

Dear and honoured Sir,

On my return home, after an absence of some time, I found the
translation of the third part (The German translation was published in
three pamphle-like numbers.) of the 'Origin,' and I have been delighted
to see a final chapter of criticisms by yourself. I have read the first
few paragraphs and final paragraph, and am perfectly contented, indeed
more than contented, with the generous and candid spirit with which you
have considered my views. You speak with too much praise of my work.
I shall, of course, carefully read the whole chapter; but though I can
read descriptive books like Gaertner's pretty easily, when any reasoning
comes in, I find German excessively difficult to understand. At some
FUTURE time I should very much like to hear how my book has been
received in Germany, and I most sincerely hope M. Schweitzerbart
will not lose money by the publication. Most of the reviews have been
bitterly opposed to me in England, yet I have made some converts, and
SEVERAL naturalists who would not believe in a word of it, are now
coming slightly round, and admit that natural selection may have done
something. This gives me hope that more will ultimately come round to a
certain extent to my views.

I shall ever consider myself deeply indebted to you for the immense
service and honour which you have conferred on me in making the
excellent translation of my book. Pray believe me, with most sincere

Dear Sir, yours gratefully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, [February 12th, 1860].

... I think it was a great pity that Huxley wasted so much time in the
lecture on the preliminary remarks;... but his lecture seemed to me very
fine and very bold. I have remonstrated (and he agrees) against the
impression that he would leave, that sterility was a universal and
infallible criterion of species.

You will, I am sure, make a grand discussion on man. I am so glad to
hear that you and Lady Lyell will come here. Pray fix your own time; and
if it did not suit us we would say so. We could then discuss man well...

How much I owe to you and Hooker! I do not suppose I should hardly ever
have published had it not been for you.

[The lecture referred to in the last letter was given at the Royal
Institution, February 10, 1860. The following letter was written
in reply to Mr. Huxley's request for information about breeding,
hybridisation, etc. It is of interest as giving a vivid retrospect of
the writer's experience on the subject.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Ilkley, Yorks, November 27 [1859].

My dear Huxley,

Gartner grand, Kolreuter grand, but papers scattered through many
volumes and very lengthy. I had to make an abstract of the whole.
Herbert's volume on Amaryllidaceae very good, and two excellent papers
in the 'Horticultural Journal.' For animals, no resume to be trusted at
all; facts are to be collected from all original sources. (This caution
is exemplified in the following extract from an earlier letter to
Professor Huxley:--"The inaccuracy of the blessed gang (of which I
am one) of compilers passes all bounds. MONSTERS have frequently been
described as hybrids without a tittle of evidence. I must give one other
case to show how we jolly fellows work. A Belgian Baron (I forget his
name at this moment) crossed two distinct geese and got SEVEN hybrids,
which he proved subsequently to be quite sterile; well, compiler
the first, Chevreul, says that the hybrids were propagated for SEVEN
generations inter se. Compiler second (Morton) mistakes the French name,
and gives Latin names for two more distinct geese, and says CHEVREUL
himself propagated them inter se for seven generations; and the latter
statement is copied from book to book.") I fear my MS. for the bigger
book (twice or thrice as long as in present book), with all references,
would be illegible, but it would save you infinite labour; of course I
would gladly lend it, but I have no copy, so care would have to be taken
of it. But my accursed handwriting would be fatal, I fear.

About breeding, I know of no one book. I did not think well of Lowe,
but I can name none better. Youatt I look at as a far better and MORE
PRACTICAL authority; but then his views and facts are scattered through
three or four thick volumes. I have picked up most by reading really
numberless special treatises and ALL agricultural and horticultural
journals; but it is a work of long years. THE DIFFICULTY IS TO KNOW WHAT
TO TRUST. No one or two statements are worth a farthing; the facts are
so complicated. I hope and think I have been really cautious in what I
state on this subject, although all that I have given, as yet, is FAR
too briefly. I have found it very important associating with fanciers
and breeders. For instance, I sat one evening in a gin palace in the
Borough amongst a set of pigeon fanciers, when it was hinted that Mr.
Bull had crossed his Pouters with Runts to gain size; and if you had
seen the solemn, the mysterious, and awful shakes of the head which
all the fanciers gave at this scandalous proceeding, you would have
recognised how little crossing has had to do with improving breeds,
and how dangerous for endless generations the process was. All this was
brought home far more vividly than by pages of mere statements, etc.
But I am scribbling foolishly. I really do not know how to advise about
getting up facts on breeding and improving breeds. Go to Shows is one
way. Read ALL treatises on any ONE domestic animal, and believe nothing
without largely confirmed. For your lectures I can give you a few
amusing anecdotes and sentences, if you want to make the audience laugh.

I thank you particularly for telling me what naturalists think. If we
can once make a compact set of believers we shall in time conquer. I
am EMINENTLY glad Ramsey is on our side, for he is, in my opinion, a
firs-rate geologist. I sent him a copy. I hope he got it. I shall be
very curious to hear whether any effect has been produced on Prestwich;
I sent him a copy, not as a friend, but owing to a sentence or two in
some paper, which made me suspect he was doubting.

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

Yours very tired, C. DARWIN.

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

"I have said that the man of science is the sworn interpreter of nature
in the high court of reason. But of what avail is his honest speech, if
ignorance is the assessor of the judge, and prejudice the foreman of the
jury? I hardly know of a great physical truth, whose universal reception
has not been preceded by an epoch in which most estimable persons have
maintained that the phenomena investigated were directly dependent on
the Divine Will, and that the attempt to investigate them was not only
futile, but blasphemous. And there is a wonderful tenacity of life about
this sort of opposition to physical science. Crushed and maimed in every
battle, it yet seems never to be slain; and after a hundred defeats it
is at this day as rampant, though happily not so mischievous, as in the
time of Galileo.

"But to those whose life is spent, to use Newton's noble words, in
picking up here a pebble and there a pebble on the shores of the great
ocean of truth--who watch, day by day, the slow but sure advance of that
mighty tide, bearing on its bosom the thousand treasures wherewith man
ennobles and beautifies his life--it would be laughable, if it were not
so sad, to see the little Canutes of the hour enthroned in solemn state,
bidding that great wave to stay, and threatening to check its beneficent
progress. The wave rises and they fly; but, unlike the brave old Dane,
they learn no lesson of humility: the throne is pitched at what seems a
safe distance, and the folly is repeated.

"Surely it is the duty of the public to discourage anything of this
kind, to discredit these foolish meddlers who think they do the Almighty
a service by preventing a thorough study of His works.

"The Origin of Species is not the first, and it will not be the last, of
the great questions born of science, which will demand settlement from
this generation. The general mind is seething strangely, and to those
who watch the signs of the times, it seems plain that this nineteenth
century will see revolutions of thought and practice as great as those
which the sixteenth witnessed. Through what trials and sore contests the
civilised world will have to pass in the course of this new reformation,
who can tell?

"But I verily believe that come what will, the part which England may
play in the battle is a grand and a noble one. She may prove to the
world that, for one people, at any rate, despotism and demagogy are not
the necessary alternatives of government; that freedom and order are
not incompatible; that reverence is the handmaid of knowledge; that free
discussion is the life of truth, and of true unity in a nation.

"Will England play this part? That depends upon how you, the public,
deal with science. Cherish her, venerate her, follow her methods
faithfully and implicitly in their application to all branches of human
thought, and the future of this people will be greater than the past.

"Listen to those who would silence and crush her, and I fear our
children will see the glory of England vanishing like Arthur in the
mist; they will cry too late the woful cry of Guinever:--

     'It was my duty to have loved the highest;
     It surely was my profit had I known;
     It would have been my pleasure had I seen.'"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down [February 15th, 1860].

... I am perfectly convinced (having read this morning) that the review
in the 'Annals' (Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist. third series, vol. 5,
page 132. My father has obviously taken the expression "pestilent" from
the following passage (page 138): "But who is this Nature, we have a
right to ask, who has such tremendous power, and to whose efficiency
such marvellous performances are ascribed? What are her image and
attributes, when dragged from her wordy lurking-place? Is she aught
but a pestilent abstraction, like dust cast in our eyes to obscure the
workings of an Intelligent First Cause of all?" The reviewer pays a
tribute to my father's candour, "so manly and outspoken as almost to
'cover a multitude of sins.'" The parentheses (to which allusion is made
above) are so frequent as to give a characteristic appearance to Mr.
Wollaston's pages.) 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 (Another version of the words
is given by Lyell, to whom they were spoken, viz. "the most illogical
book ever written."--'Life,' volume ii. page 358.) 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, etc. I
read Wallace's paper in MS. ("On the Zoological Geography of the Malay
Archipelago."--Linn. Soc. Journ. 1860.), 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 (The late Sir Charles Bunbury, well-known as a
Palaeo-botanist.), 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 what I was told (By Professor Henslow.)
about you when I first commenced geology--to believe a LITTLE, but on no
account to believe all.

Ever yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, February 18th [1860].

My dear Gray,

I received about a week ago two sheets of your Review (The 'American
Journal of Science and Arts,' March, 1860. Reprinted in 'Darwiniana,'
1876.); read them, and sent them to Hooker; they are now returned and
r-read with care, and to-morrow I send them to Lyell. Your Review seems
to me ADMIRABLE; by far the best which I have read. I thank you from
my heart both for myself, but far more for the subject's sake. Your
contrast between the views of Agassiz and such as mine is very curious
and instructive. (The contrast is briefly summed up thus: "The theory
of Agassiz regards the origin of species and their present general
distribution over the world as equally primordial, equally supernatural;
that of Darwin as equally derivative, equally natural."--'Darwiniana,'
page 14.) By the way, if Agassiz writes anything on the subject, I hope
you will tell me. I am charmed with your metaphor of the streamlet never
running against the force of gravitation. Your distinction between an
hypothesis and theory seems to me very ingenious; but I do not think
it is ever followed. Every one now speaks of the undulatory THEORY of
light; yet the ether is itself hypothetical, and the undulations are
inferred only from explaining the phenomena of light. Even in the THEORY
of gravitation is the attractive power in any way known, except by
explaining the fall of the apple, and the movements of the Planets?
It seems to me that an hypothesis is DEVELOPED into a theory solely by
explaining an ample lot of facts. Again and again I thank you for your
generous aid in discussing a view, about which you very properly hold
yourself unbiassed.

My dear Gray, yours most sincerely, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--Several clergymen go far with me. Rev. L. Jenyns, a very good
naturalist. Henslow will go a very little way with me, and is not
shocked with me. He has just been visiting me.

[With regard to the attitude of the more liberal representatives of the
Church, the following letter (already referred to) from Charles Kingsley
is of interest:]

C. KINGSLEY TO CHARLES 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 perhaps 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, epesthai to logo--follow up
the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into whatsoever unexpected
bogs and brakes he may lead us, if we do but run into him at last.

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

1. I have long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals
and plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species.

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, C. KINGSLEY.

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

"We never attacked each other. Before I knew Mr. Darwin I had adopted,
and publicly expressed, the principle that the study of natural history,
geology, and science in general, should be pursued without reference
to the Bible. That the Book of Nature and Scripture came from the same
Divine source, ran in parallel lines, and when properly understood would
never cross...

"His views on this subject were very much to the same effect from his
side. Of course any conversations we may have had on purely religious
subjects are as sacredly private now as in his life; but the quaint
conclusion of one may be given. We had been speaking of the apparent
contradiction of some supposed discoveries with the Book of Genesis; he
said, 'you are (it would have been more correct to say you ought to be)
a theologian, I am a naturalist, the lines are separate. I endeavour to
discover facts without considering what is said in the Book of Genesis.
I do not attack Moses, and I think Moses can take care of himself.' To
the same effect he wrote more recently, 'I cannot remember that I ever
published a word directly against religion or the clergy; but if you
were to read a little pamphlet which I received a couple of days ago
by a clergyman, you would laugh, and admit that I had some excuse
for bitterness. After abusing me for two or three pages, in language
sufficiently plain and emphatic to have satisfied any reasonable man,
he sums up by saying that he has vainly searched the English language
to find terms to express his contempt for me and all Darwinians.' In
another letter, after I had left Down, he writes, 'We often differed,
but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ and yet
feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing [of] which I should feel
very proud, if any one could say [it] of me.'

"On my last visit to Down, Mr. Darwin said, at his dinner-table, 'Brodie
Innes and I have been fast friends for thirty years, and we never
thoroughly agreed on any subject but once, and then we stared hard at
each other, and thought one of us must be very ill.'"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, February 23rd [1860].

My dear Lyell,

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

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

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

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

I thank you much for your most pleasant letter.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I send a letter by Herbert Spencer, which you can read or not
as you think fit. He puts, to my mind, the philosophy of the argument
better than almost any one, at the close of the letter. I could make
nothing of Dana's idealistic notions about species; but then, as
Wollaston says, I have not a metaphysical head.

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

Wollaston misrepresents accidentally, to a wonderful extent, some
passages in my book. He reviewed, without relooking at certain passages.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, February 25th [1860].

... I cannot help wondering at your zeal about my book. I declare to
heaven you seem to care as much about my book as I do myself. You have
no right to be so eminently unselfish! I have taken off my spit [i.e.
file] a letter of Ramsay's, as every geologist convert I think very
important. By the way, I saw some time ago a letter from H.D. Rogers
(Professor of Geology in the University of Glasgow. Born in the United
States 1809, died 1866.) to Huxley, in which he goes very far with us...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, Saturday, March 3rd, [1860].

My dear Hooker,

What a day's work you had on that Thursday! I was not able to go to
London till Monday, and then I was a fool for going, for, on Tuesday
night, I had an attack of fever (with a touch of pleurisy), which came
on like a lion, but went off as a lamb, but has shattered me a good bit.

I was much interested by your last note... I think you expect too much in
regard to change of opinion on the 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. (See table of names below.) -- says my book
will be forgotten in ten years, perhaps so; but, with such a list, I
feel convinced the subject will not. The outsiders, as you say, are

You say that you think that Bentham is touched, "but, like a wise
man, holds his tongue." Perhaps you only mean that he cannot decide,
otherwise I should think such silence the reverse of magnanimity; for
if others behaved the same way, how would opinion ever progress? It is
a dereliction of actual duty. (In a subsequent letter to Sir J.D. Hooker
(March 12th, 1860), my father wrote, "I now quite understand Bentham's

I am so glad to hear about Thwaites. (Dr. G.J.K. Thwaites, who was
born in 1811, established a reputation in this country as an expert
microscopist, and an acute observer, working especially at cryptogamic
botany. On his appointment as Director of the Botanic Gardens at
Peradenyia, Ceylon, Dr. Thwaites devoted himself to the flora of Ceylon.
As a result of this he has left numerous and valuable collections, a
description of which he embodied in his 'Enumeratio Plantarum Zeylaniae'
(1864). Dr. Thwaites was a fellow of the Linnean Society, but beyond the
above facts little seems to have been recorded of his life. His death
occurred in Ceylon on September 11th, 1882, in his seventy-second year.
"Athenaeum", October 14th, 1882, page 500.)... I have had an astounding
letter from Dr. Boott (The letter is enthusiastically laudatory, and
obviously full of genuine feeling.); it might be turned into ridicule
against him and me, so I will not send it to any one. He writes in a
noble spirit of love of truth.

I wonder what Lindley thinks; probably too busy to read or think on the

I am vexed about Bentham's reticence, for it would have been of real
value to know what parts appeared weakest to a man of his powers of

Farewell, my dear Hooker, yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--Is not Harvey in the class of men who do not at all care for
generalities? I remember your saying you could not get him to write on
Distribution. I have found his works very unfruitful in every respect.

  [Here follows the memorandum referred to:]

  Geologists.    Zoologists and       Physiologists.    Botanists.

  Lyell.         Huxley.              Carpenter.        Hooker.

  Ramsay.*       J. Lubbock.           Sir H. Holland   H.C. Watson.
                                      (to large extent).

  Jukes.*        L. Jenyns                              Asa Gray
                 (to large extent).                     (to some extent).

  H.D. Rogers.   Searles Wood.*                         Dr. Boott
                                                        (to large extent).


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

Joseph Beete Jukes, M.A., F.R.S., 1811-1869. 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 hand-book of

Searles Valentine Wood, February 14, 1798-1880. Chiefly known for his
work on the Mollusca of the 'Crag.')

[The following letter is of interest in connection with the mention of
Mr. Bentham in the last letter:]

G. BENTHAM TO FRANCIS DARWIN. 25 Wilton Place, S.W., May 30th, 1882.

My dear Sir,

In compliance with your note which I received last night, I send
herewith the letters I have from your father. I should have done so on
seeing the general request published in the papers, but that I did not
think there were any among them which could be of any use to you. Highly
flattered as I was by the kind and friendly notice with which Mr. Darwin
occasionally honoured me, I was never admitted into his intimacy, and he
therefore never made any communications to me in relation to his views
and labours. I have been throughout one of his most sincere admirers,
and fully adopted his theories and conclusions, notwithstanding the
severe pain and disappointment they at first occasioned me. On the day
that his celebrated paper was read at the Linnean Society, July 1st,
1858, a long paper of mine had been set down for reading, in which,
in commenting on the British Flora, I had collected a number of
observations and facts illustrating what I then believed to be a fixity
in species, however difficult it might be to assign their limits,
and showing a tendency of abnormal forms produced by cultivation
or otherwise, to withdraw within those original limits when left to
themselves. Most fortunately my paper had to give way to Mr.
Darwin's and when once that was read, I felt bound to defer mine for
reconsideration; I began to entertain doubts on the subject, and on
the appearance of the 'Origin of Species,' I was forced, however
reluctantly, to give up my long-cherished convictions, the results of
much labour and study, and I cancelled all that part of my paper which
urged original fixity, and published only portions of the remainder
in another form, chiefly in the 'Natural History Review.' I have since
acknowledged on various occasions my full adoption of Mr. Darwin's
views, and chiefly in my Presidential Address of 1863, and in my
thirteenth and last address, issued in the form of a report to the
British Association at its meeting at Belfast in 1874.

I prize so highly the letters that I have of Mr. Darwin's, that I should
feel obliged by your returning them to me when you have done with them.
Unfortunately I have not kept the envelopes, and Mr. Darwin usually only
dated them by the month not by the year, so that they are not in any
chronological order.

Yours very sincerely, GEORGE BENTHAM.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down [March] 12th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

Thinking over what we talked about, the high state of intellectual
development of the old Grecians with the little or no subsequent
improvement, being an apparent difficulty, it has just occurred to me
that in fact the case harmonises perfectly with our views. The case
would be a decided difficulty on the Lamarckian or Vestigian doctrine
of necessary progression, but on the view which I hold of progression
depending on the conditions, it is no objection at all, and harmonises
with the other facts of progression in the corporeal structure of other
animals. For in a state of anarchy, or despotism, or bad government,
or after irruption of barbarians, force, strength, or ferocity, and not
intellect, would be apt to gain the day.

We have so enjoyed your and Lady Lyell's visit.

Good-night. C. DARWIN.

P.S.--By an odd chance (for I had not alluded even to the subject)
the ladies attacked me this evening, and threw the high state of old
Grecians into my teeth, as an unanswerable difficulty, but by good
chance I had my answer all pat, and silenced them. Hence I have thought
it worth scribbling to you...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. PRESTWICH. (Now Professor of Geology in the
University of Oxford.) Down, March 12th [1860].

... At some future time, when you have a little leisure, and when you
have read my 'Origin of Species,' I should esteem it a SINGULAR
favour if you would send me any general criticisms. I do not mean of
unreasonable length, but such as you could include in a letter. I have
always admired your various memoirs so much that I should be eminently
glad to receive your opinion, which might be of real service to me.

Pray do not suppose that I expect to CONVERT or PERVERT you; if I could
stagger you in ever so slight a degree I should be satisfied; nor fear
to annoy me by severe criticisms, for I have had some hearty kicks from
some of my best friends. If it would not be disagreeable to you to send
me your opinion, I certainly should be truly obliged...

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, April 3rd [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". (See the quotations which follow the
present letter.) The notice includes much abuse, and is hardly fair in
several respects. He would actually lead any one, who was ignorant
of geology, to suppose that I had invented the great gaps between
successive geological formations, instead of its being an almost
universally admitted dogma. But my dear old friend Sedgwick, with his
noble heart, is old, and is rabid with indignation. It is hard to please
every one; you may remember that in my last letter I asked you to leave
out about the Weald denudation: I told Jukes this (who is head man of
the Irish geological survey), and he blamed me much, for he believed
every word of it, and thought it not at all exaggerated! In fact,
geologists have no means of gauging the infinitude of past time. There
has been one prodigy of a review, namely, an OPPOSED one (by Pictet
(Francois Jules Pictet, in the 'Archives des Sciences de la Bibliotheque
Universelle,' Mars 1860. The article is written in a courteous and
considerate tone, and concludes by saying that the 'Origin' will be of
real value to naturalists, especially if they are not led away by
its seductive arguments to believe in the dangerous doctrine of
modification. A passage which seems to have struck my father as being
valuable, and opposite which he has made double pencil marks and written
the word "good," is worth quoting: "La theorie de M. Darwin s'accorde
mal avec l'histoire des types a formes bien tranchees et definies qui
paraissent n'avoir vecu que pendant un temps limite. On en pourrait
citer des centaines d'exemples, tel que les reptiles volants, les
ichthyosaures, les belemnites, les ammonites, etc." Pictet was born in
1809, died 1872; he was Professor of Anatomy and Zoology at Geneva.),
the palaeontologist, in the Bib. Universelle of Geneva) which is
PERFECTLY fair and just, and I agree to every word he says; our only
difference being that he attaches less weight to arguments in favour,
and more to arguments opposed, than I do. Of all the 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. DARWIN.

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

"I now feel certain that Sedgwick is the author of the article in
the "Spectator". No one else could use such abusive terms. And what a
misrepresentation of my notions! Any ignoramus would suppose that I
had FIRST broached the doctrine, that the breaks between successive
formations marked long intervals of time. It is very unfair. But
poor dear old Sedgwick seems rabid on the question. "Demoralised
understanding!" If ever I talk with him I will tell him that I never
could believe that an inquisitor could be a good man: but now I know
that a man may roast another, and yet have as kind and noble a heart as

The following passages are taken from the review:

"I need hardly go on any further with these objections. But I cannot
conclude without expressing my detestation of the theory, because of its
unflinching materialism;--because it has deserted the inductive track,
the only track that leads to physical truth;--because it utterly
repudiates final causes, and thereby indicates a demoralised
understanding on the part of its advocates."

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

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

"But any startling and (supposed) novel paradox, maintained very boldly
and with something of imposing plausibility, produces in some minds a
kind of pleasing excitement which predisposes them in its favour; and
if they are unused to careful reflection, and averse to the labour of
accurate investigation, they will be likely to conclude that what is
(apparently) ORIGINAL, must be a production of original GENIUS, and
that anything very much opposed to prevailing notions must be a grand
DISCOVERY,--in short, that whatever comes from the 'bottom of a well'
must be the 'truth' supposed to be hidden there."

In a review in the December number of 'Macmillan's Magazine,' 1860,
Fawcett vigorously defended my father from the charge of employing a
false method of reasoning; a charge which occurs in Sedgwick's review,
and was made at the time ad nauseam, in such phrases as: "This is not
the true Baconian method." Fawcett repeated his defence at the meeting
of the British Association in 1861. (See an interesting letter from my
father in Mr. Stephen's 'Life of Henry Fawcett,' 1886, page 101.)]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B CARPENTER. Down, April 6th [1860].

My dear Carpenter,

I have this minute finished your review in the 'Med. Chirurg. Review.'
(April 1860.) You must let me express my admiration at this most able
essay, and I hope to God it will be largely read, for it must produce a
great effect. I ought not, however, to express such warm admiration, for
you give my book, I fear, far too much praise. But you have gratified me
extremely; and though I hope I do not care very much for the approbation
of the non-scientific readers, I cannot say that this is at all so with
respect to such few men as yourself. I have not a criticism to make, for
I object to not a word; and I admire all, so that I cannot pick out
one part as better than the rest. It is all so well balanced. But it is
impossible not to be struck with your extent of knowledge in geology,
botany, and zoology. The extracts which you give from Hooker seem to me
EXCELLENTLY chosen, and most forcible. I am so much pleased in what
you say also about Lyell. In fact I am in a fit of enthusiasm, and had
better write no more. With cordial thanks,

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, April 10th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

Thank you much for your note of the 4th; I am very glad to hear that you
are at Torquay. I should have amused myself earlier by writing to you,
but I have had Hooker and Huxley staying here, and they have fully
occupied my time, as a little of anything is a full dose for me... There
has been a plethora of reviews, and I am really quite sick of myself.
There is a very long review by Carpenter in the 'Medical and Chirurg.
Review,' very good and well balanced, but not brilliant. He discusses
Hooker's books at as great length as mine, and makes excellent extracts;
but I could not get Hooker to feel the least interest in being praised.

Carpenter speaks of you in thoroughly proper terms. There is a BRILLIANT
review by Huxley ('Westminster Review,' April 1860.), with capital hits,
but I do not know that he much advances the subject. I THINK I have
convinced him that he has hardly allowed weight enough to the case of
varieties of plants being in some degrees sterile.

To diverge from reviews: Asa Gray sends me from Wyman (who will write),
a good case of all the pigs being black in the Everglades of Virginia.
On asking about the cause, it seems (I have got capital analogous cases)
that when the BLACK pigs eat a certain nut their bones become red, and
they suffer to a certain extent, but that the WHITE pigs lose their
hoofs and perish, "and we aid by SELECTION, for we kill most of the
young white pigs." This was said by men who could hardly read. By the
way, it is a great blow to me that you cannot admit the potency of
natural selection. The more I think of it, the less I doubt its
power for great and small changes. I have just read the 'Edinburgh'
('Edinburgh Review,' April 1860.), which without doubt is by --. It is
extremely malignant, clever, and I fear will be very damaging. He is
atrociously severe on Huxley's lecture, and very bitter against Hooker.
So we three ENJOYED it together. Not that I really enjoyed it, for
it made me uncomfortable for one night; but I have got quite over it
to-day. It requires much study to appreciate all the bitter spite of
many of the remarks against me; indeed I did not discover all myself.
It scandalously misrepresents many parts. He misquotes some passages,
altering words within inverted commas...

It is painful to be hated in the intense degree with which -- hates me.

Now for a curious thing about my book, and then I have done. In last
Saturday's "Gardeners' Chronicle" (April 7th, 1860.), 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.

I heartily hope that your Torquay work may be successful. Give my
kindest remembrances to Falconer, and I hope he is pretty well. Hooker
and Huxley (with Mrs. Huxley) were extremely pleasant. But poor dear
Hooker is tired to death of my book, and it is a marvel and a prodigy if
you are not worse tired--if that be possible. Farewell, my dear Lyell,

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN 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. ((My father
wrote ("Gardeners' Chronicle", 1860, page 362, April 21st): "I have been
much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in the number of
your paper dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has
anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the
origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think that
no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other
naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how 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 this publication. If any
other edition of my work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing
effect." In spite of my father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew
remained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the 'Saturday
Analyst and Leader' was "scarcely fair in alluding to Mr. Darwin as the
parent of the origin of species, seeing that I published the whole
that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, more than twenty-nine years
ago."--"Saturday Analyst and Leader", November 24, 1860.) If you think
it proper that I should send it (and of this there can hardly be any
question), and if you think it full and ample enough, please alter the
date to the day on which you post it, and let that be soon. The case in
the "Gardeners' Chronicle" seems a LITTLE stronger than in Mr. Matthew's
book, for the passages are therein scattered in three places; but it
would be mere hair-splitting to notice that. If you object to my letter,
please return it; but I do not expect that you will, but I thought that
you would not object to run your eye over it. My dear Hooker, it is a
great thing for me to have so good, true, and old a friend as you. I owe
much for science to my friends.

Many thanks for Huxley's lecture. The latter part seemed to be grandly

... 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.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, April [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I was very glad to get your nice long letter from Torquay. A press of
letters prevented me writing to Wells. I was particularly glad to hear
what you thought about not noticing [the 'Edinburgh'] review. Hooker and
Huxley thought it a sort of duty to point out the alteration of quoted
citations, and there is truth in this remark; but I so hated the thought
that I resolved not to do so. I shall come up to London on Saturday the
14th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, as I have an accumulation of things to
do in London, and will (if I do not hear to the contrary) call about a
quarter before ten on Sunday morning, and sit with you at breakfast, but
will not sit long, and so take up much of your time. I must say one more
word about our quasi-theological controversy about natural selection,
and let me have your opinion when we meet in London. Do you consider
that the successive variations in the size of the crop of the Pouter
Pigeon, which man has 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, etc.
etc. For the life of me I cannot see any difficulty in natural selection
producing the most exquisite structure, IF SUCH STRUCTURE CAN BE ARRIVED
AT BY GRADATION, and I know from experience how hard it is to name any
structure towards which at least some gradations are not known.

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--The conclusion at which I have come, as I have told Asa Gray, is
that such a question, as is touched on in this note, is beyond the human
intellect, like "predestination and free will," or the "origin of evil."

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, [April 18th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return --'s letter... Some of my relations say it cannot POSSIBLY be
--'s article (The 'Edinburgh Review.'), because the reviewer speaks
so very highly of --. Poor dear simple folk! My clever neighbour, Mr.
Norman, says the article is so badly written, with no definite object,
that no one will read it. Asa Gray has sent me an article ('North
American Review,' April, 1860. "By Professor Bowen," is written on my
father's copy. The passage referred to occurs at page 488, where
the author says that we ought to find "an infinite number of other
varieties--gross, rude, and purposeless--the unmeaning creations of an
unconscious cause.") from the United States, clever, and dead against
me. But one argument is funny. The reviewer says, that if the doctrine
were true, geological strata would be full of monsters which have
failed! A very clear view this writer had of the struggle for existence!

... I am glad you like Adam Bede so much. I was charmed with it...

We think you must by mistake have taken with your own numbers of the
'National Review' my precious number. (This no doubt refers to the
January number, containing Dr. Carpenter's review of the 'Origin.') I
wish you would look.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, April 25th [1860].

My dear Gray,

I have no doubt I have to thank you for the copy of a review on the
'Origin' in the 'North American Review.' It seems to me clever, and I do
not doubt will damage my book. I had meant to have made some remarks
on it; but Lyell wished much to keep it, and my head is quite confused
between the many reviews which I have lately read. I am sure the
reviewer is wrong about bees' cells, i.e. about the distance; any lesser
distance would do, or even greater distance, but then some of the places
would lie outside the generative spheres; but this would not add much
difficulty to the work. The reviewer takes a strange view of instinct:
he seems to regard intelligence as a developed instinct; which I believe
to be wholly false. I suspect he has never much attended to instinct and
the minds of animals, except perhaps by reading.

My chief object is to ask you if you could procure for me a copy of the
"New York Times" for Wednesday, March 28th. It contains A VERY STRIKING
review of my book, which I should much like to keep. How curious that
the two most striking reviews (i.e. yours and this) should have appeared
in America. This review is not really useful, but somehow is impressive.
There was a good review in the 'Revue des Deux Mondes,' April 1st, by M.
Laugel, said to be a very clever man.

Hooker, about a fortnight ago, stayed here a few days, and was very
pleasant; but I think he overworks himself. What a gigantic undertaking,
I imagine, his and Bentham's 'Genera Plantarum' will be! I hope he
will not get too much immersed in it, so as not to spare some time for
Geographical Distribution and other such questions.

I have begun to work steadily, but very slowly as usual, at details on
variation under domestication.

My dear Gray, Yours always truly and gratefully, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, [May 8th, 1860].

... I have sent for the 'Canadian Naturalist.' If I cannot procure a copy
I will borrow yours. I had a letter from Henslow this morning, who says
that Sedgwick was, on last Monday night, to open a battery on me at the
Cambridge Philosophical Society. Anyhow, I am much honoured by being
attacked there, and at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

I do not think it worth while to contradict single cases nor is it
worth while arguing against those who do not attend to what I state. A
moment's reflection will show you that there must be (on our doctrine)
large genera not varying (see page 56 on the subject, in the second
edition of the 'Origin'). Though I do not there discuss the case in

It may be sheer bigotry for my own notions, but I prefer to the
Atlantis, my notion of plants and animals having migrated from the Old
to the New World, or conversely, when the climate was much hotter, by
approximately the line of Behring's Straits. It is most important, as
you say, to see living forms of plants going back so far in time. I
wonder whether we shall ever discover the flora of the dry land of the
coal period, and find it not so anomalous as the swamp or coal-making
flora. I am working away over the blessed Pigeon Manuscript; but, from
one cause or another, I get on very slowly...

This morning I got a letter from the Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia, announcing that I am elected a correspondent... It shows
that some Naturalists there do not think me such a scientific profligate
as many think me here.

My dear Lyell, yours gratefully, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--What a grand fact about the extinct stag's horn worked by man!

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, [May 13th, 1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return Henslow, which I was very glad to see. How good of him to
defend me. (Against Sedgwick's attack before the Cambridge Philosophical
Society.) I will write and thank him.

As you said you were curious to hear Thomson's (Dr. Thomas Thomson the
Indian Botanist. He was a collaborateur in Hooker and Thomson's Flora
Indica. 1855.) opinion, I send his kind letter. He is evidently a strong
opposer to us...

CHARLES DARWIN 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. (These remarks do not apply to Dr. Harvey, who
was, however, in a somewhat similar position. See below.) They may all
attack me to their hearts' content. I am got case-hardened. As for the
old fogies in Cambridge, 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. Does Bentham progress at all?
I do not know what to say about Oxford. (His health prevented him from
going to Oxford for the meeting of the British Association.) I should
like it much with you, but it must depend on health...

Yours must affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, May 18th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I send a letter from Asa Gray to show how hotly the battle rages there.
Also one from Wallace, very just in his remarks, though too laudatory
and too modest, and how admirably free from envy or jealousy. He must be
a good fellow. Perhaps I will enclose a letter from Thomson of Calcutta;
not that it is much, but Hooker thinks so highly of him...

Henslow informs me that Sedgwick (Sedgwick's address is given somewhat
abbreviated in "The Cambridge Chronicle", May 19th, 1860.) and then
Professor Clarke [sic] (The late William Clark, Professor of Anatomy,
my father seems to have misunderstood his informant. I am assured by Mr.
J.W. Clark that his father (Prof. Clark) did not support Sedgwick in the
attack.) made a regular and savage onslaught on my book lately at the
Cambridge Philosophical Society, but Henslow seems to have defended
me well, and maintained that the subject was a legitimate one for
investigation. Since then Phillips (John Phillips, M.A., F.R.S., born
1800, died 1874, from the effects of a fall. Professor of Geology at
King's College, London, and afterwards at Oxford. He gave the 'Rede'
lecture at Cambridge on May 15th, 1860, on 'The Succession of Life
on the earth.' The Rede Lecturer is appointed annually by the
Vice-Chancellor, and is paid by an endowment left in 1524 by Sir
Robert Rede, Lord Chief Justice, in the reign of Henry VIII.) has given
lectures at Cambridge on the same subject, but treated it very fairly.
How splendidly Asa Gray is fighting the battle. The effect on me of
these multiplied attacks is simply to show me that the subject is worth
fighting for, and assuredly I will do my best... I hope all the attacks
make you keep up your courage, and courage you assuredly will require...

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, May 18th, 1860.

My dear Mr. Wallace,

I received this morning your letter from Amboyna, dated February 16th,
containing some remarks and your too high approval of my book. Your
letter has pleased me very much, and I most completely agree with you on
the parts which are strongest and which are weakest. The imperfection of
the Geological Record is, as you say, the weakest of all; but yet I am
pleased to find that there are almost more geological converts than of
pursuers of other branches of natural science... I think geologists are
more easily converted than simple naturalists, because more accustomed
to reasoning. Before telling you about the progress of opinion on the
subject, you must let me say how I admire the generous manner in which
you speak of my book. Most persons would in your position have felt some
envy or jealousy. How nobly free you seem to be of this common failing
of mankind. But you speak far too modestly of yourself. You would, if
you had my leisure, have done the work just as well, perhaps better,
than I have done it...

... Agassiz sends me a personal civil message, but incessantly attacks
me; but Asa Gray fights like a hero in defence. Lyell keeps as firm as a
tower, and this Autumn will publish on the 'Geological History of Man,'
and will then declare his conversion, which now is universally known. I
hope that you have received Hooker's splendid essay... Yesterday I heard
from Lyell that a German, Dr. Schaaffhausen (Hermann Schaaffhausen
'Ueber Bestandigkeit und Umwandlung der Arten.' Verhandl. d. Naturhist.
Vereins, Bonn, 1853. See 'Origin,' Historical Sketch.), has sent him
a pamphlet published some years ago, in which the same view is nearly
anticipated; but I have not yet seen this pamphlet. My brother, who is a
very sagacious man, always said, "you will find that some one will have
been before you." I am at work at my larger work, which I shall publish
in a separate volume. But from ill-health and swarms of letters, I get
on very very slowly. I hope that I shall not have wearied you with these
details. With sincere thanks for your letter, and with most deeply felt
wishes for your success in science, and in every way, believe me,

Your sincere well-wisher, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN 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 pounds. I am in simple
truth astonished at all the kind trouble you have taken for me. I
return Appleton's 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.' 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 (This statement as to
authorship was made on the authority of Robert Chambers.), a Free Kirk
minister, and dabbler in Natural History. I should be very glad to see
any good American reviews, as they are all more or less useful. You say
that you shall touch on other reviews. Huxley told me some time ago that
after a time he would write a review on all the reviews, whether he will
I know not. If you allude to the 'Edinburgh,' pray notice SOME of the
points which I will point out on a separate slip. In the "Saturday
Review" (one of our cleverest periodicals) of May 5th, page 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. (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.") But surely you
will get sick unto death of me and my reviewers.

With respect to the theological view of the question. This is
always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no 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 Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding
within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with
mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye
was expressly designed. On the other hand, I cannot anyhow be contented
to view this 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 probably have shown by this

Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest.

Yours sincerely and cordially, CHARLES DARWIN.

{Here follow my father's criticisms on the 'Edinburgh Review'}:

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

He falsely applies what I said (too rudely) about "blindness of
preconceived opinions" to those who believe in creation, whereas I
exclusively apply the remark to those who give up multitudes of species
as true species, but believe in the remainder--page 500.

He slightly alters what I say,--I ASK whether creationists really
believe that elemental atoms have flashed into life. He says that I
describe them as so believing, and this, surely, is a difference--page

He speaks of my "clamouring against" all who believe in creation, and
this seems to me an unjust accusation--page 501.

He makes me say that the dorsal vertebrae vary; this is simply false: I
nowhere say a word about dorsal vertebrae--page 522.

What an illiberal sentence that is about my pretension to candour, and
about my rushing through barriers which stopped Cuvier: such an argument
would stop any progress in science--page 525.

How disingenuous to quote from my remark to you about my BRIEF letter
[published in the 'Linn. Soc. Journal'], as if it applied to the whole
subject--page 530.

How disingenuous to say that we are called on to accept the theory, from
the imperfection of the geological record, when I over and over again
[say] how grave a difficulty the imperfection offers--page 530."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, May 30th [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I return Harvey's letter, I have been very glad to see the reason why he
has not read your Essay. I feared it was bigotry, and I am glad to see
that he goes a little way (VERY MUCH further than I supposed) with us...

I was not sorry for a natural opportunity of writing to Harvey, just to
show that I was not piqued at his turning me and my book into ridicule
(A "serio-comic squib," read before the 'Dublin University Zoological
and Botanical Association,' February 17, 1860, and privately printed. My
father's presentation copy is inscribed "With the writer's REPENTANCE,
October 1860."), not that I think it was a proceeding which I deserved,
or worthy of him. It delights me that you are interested in watching
the progress of opinion on the change of Species; I feared that you were
weary of the subject; and therefore did not send A. Gray's letters. The
battle rages furiously in the United States. Gray says he was preparing
a speech, which would take 1 1/2 hours to deliver, and which he "fondly
hoped would be a stunner." He is fighting splendidly, and there seems
to have been many discussions with Agassiz and others at the meetings.
Agassiz pities me much at being so deluded. As for the progress of
opinion, I clearly see that it will be excessively slow, almost as slow
as the change of species... I am getting wearied at the storm of hostile
reviews and hardly any useful...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, Friday night [June 1st, 1860].

... Have you seen Hopkins (William Hopkins died in 1866, "in his
sevent-third year." He began life with a farm in Suffolk, but ultimately
entered, comparatively late in life, at Peterhouse, Cambridge; he
took his degree in 1827, and afterward became an Esquire Bedell of the
University. He was chiefly known as a mathematical "coach," and
was eminently successful in the manufacture of Senior Wranglers.
Nevertheless Mr. Stephen says ('Life of Fawcett,' page 26) that he
"was conspicuous for inculcating" a "liberal view of the studies of
the place. He endeavoured to stimulate a philosophical interest in
the mathematical sciences, instead of simply rousing an ardour for
competition." He contributed many papers on geological and mathematical
subjects to the scientific journals. He had a strong influence for good
over the younger men with whom he came in contact. The letter which
he wrote to Henry Fawcett on the occasion of his blindness illustrates
this. Mr. Stephen says ('Life of Fawcett,' page 48) that by "this
timely word of good cheer," Fawcett was roused from "his temporary
prostration," and enabled to take a "more cheerful and resolute tone.")
in the new 'Fraser'? the public will, I should think, find it heavy. He
will be dead against me, as you prophesied; but he is generally civil
to me personally. ('Fraser's Magazine,' June 1860. My father, no doubt,
refers to the following passage, page 752, where the Reviewer Expresses
his "full participation in the high respect in which the author is
universally held, both as a man and a naturalist; and the more so,
because in the remarks which will follow in the second part of this
Essay we shall be found to differ widely from him as regards many of his
conclusions and the reasonings on which he has founded them, and shall
claim the full right to express such differences of opinion with all
that freedom which the interests of scientific truth demands, and which
we are sure Mr. Darwin would be one of the last to refuse to any one
prepared to exercise it with candour and courtesy." Speaking of this
review, my father wrote to Dr. Asa Gray: "I have remonstrated with him
[Hopkins] for so coolly saying that I base my views on what I reckon
as great difficulties. Any one, by taking these difficulties alone, can
make a most strong case against me. I could myself write a more damning
review than has as yet appeared!" A second notice by Hopkins appeared
in the July number of 'Fraser's Magazine.') On his standard of proof,
NATURAL science would never progress, for without the making of theories
I am convinced there would be no observation.

... I have begun reading the 'North British' (May 1860.), which so far
strikes me as clever.

Phillips's Lecture at Cambridge is to be published.

All these reiterated attacks will tell heavily; there will be no
more converts, and probably some will go back. I hope you do not grow
disheartened, I am determined to fight to the last. I hear, however,
that the great Buckle highly approves of my book.

I have had a note from poor Blyth (Edward Blyth, 1810-1873. His
indomitable love of natural history made him neglect the druggist's
business with which he started in life, and he soon got into serious
difficulties. After supporting himself for a few years as a writer on
Field Natural History, he ultimately went out to India as Curator of the
Museum of the R. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, where the greater part of his
working life was spent. His chief publications were the monthly reports
made as part of his duty to the Society. He had stored in his remarkable
memory a wonderful wealth of knowledge, especially with regard to the
mammalia and birds of India--knowledge of which he freely gave to
those who asked. His letters to my father give evidence of having been
carefully studied, and the long list of entries after his name in the
index to 'Animals and Plants,' show how much help was received from him.
His life was an unprosperous and unhappy one, full of money difficulties
and darkened by the death of his wife after a few years of marriage.),
of Calcutta, who is much disappointed at hearing that Lord Canning will
not grant any money; so I much fear that all your great pains will be
thrown away. Blyth says (and he is in many respects a very good judge)
that his ideas on species are quite revolutionised...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, June 5th [1860].

My dear Hooker,

It is a pleasure to me to write to you, as I have no one to talk about
such matters as we write on. But I seriously beg you not to write to
me unless so inclined; for busy as you are, and seeing many people, the
case is very different between us...

Have you seen --'s abusive article on me?... It out does even the 'North
British' and 'Edinburgh' in misapprehension and misrepresentation.
I never knew anything so unfair as in discussing cells of bees, his
ignoring the case of Melipona, which builds combs almost exactly
intermediate between hive and humble bees. What has -- done that he
feels so immeasurably superior to all us wretched naturalists, and to
all political economists, including that great philosopher Malthus? This
review, however, and Harvey's letter have convinced me that I must be
a very bad explainer. Neither really understand what I mean by Natural
Selection. I am inclined to give up the attempt as hopeless. Those who
do not understand, it seems, cannot be made to understand.

By the way, I think, we entirely agree, except perhaps that I use too
forcible language about selection. I entirely agree, indeed would almost
go further than you when you say that climate (i.e. variability from all
unknown causes) is "an active handmaid, influencing its mistress most
materially." Indeed, I have never hinted that Natural Selection is "the
efficient cause to the exclusion of the other," i.e. variability from
Climate, etc. The very term SELECTION implies something, i.e. variation
or difference, to be selected...

How does your book progress (I mean your general sort of book on
plants), I hope to God you will be more successful than I have been in
making people understand your meaning. I should begin to think myself
wholly in the wrong, and that I was an utter fool, but then I cannot yet
persuade myself, that Lyell, and you and Huxley, Carpenter, Asa Gray,
and Watson, etc., are all fools together. Well, time will show, and
nothing but time. Farewell...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, June 6th [1860].

... It consoles me that -- sneers at Malthus, for that clearly shows,
mathematician though he may be, he cannot understand common reasoning.
By the way what a discouraging example Malthus is, to show during what
long years the plainest case may be misrepresented and misunderstood. I
have read the 'Future'; how curious it is that several of my reviewers
should advance such wild arguments, as that varieties of dogs and cats
do not mingle; and should bring up the old exploded doctrine of definite
analogies... I am beginning to despair of ever making the majority
understand my notions. Even Hopkins does not thoroughly. By the way, I
have been so much pleased by the way he personally alludes to me. I must
be a very bad explainer. I hope to Heaven that you will succeed better.
Several reviews and several letters have shown me too clearly how little
I am understood. I suppose "natural selection" was a bad term; but to
change it now, I think, would make confusion worse confounded, nor can I
think of a better; "Natural Preservation" would not imply a preservation
of particular varieties, and would seem a truism, and would not bring
man's and nature's selection under one point of view. I can only hope
by reiterated explanations finally to make the matter clearer. If my MS.
spreads out, I think I shall publish one volume exclusively on variation
of animals and plants under domestication. I want to show that I have
not been quite so rash as many suppose.

Though weary of reviews, I should like to see Lowell's (The late J.A.
Lowell in the 'Christian Examiner' (Boston, U.S., May, 1860.) some
time... I suppose Lowell's difficulty about instinct is the same as
Bowen's; but it seems to me wholly to rest on the assumption that
instincts cannot graduate as finely as structures. I have stated in my
volume that it is hardly possible to know which, i.e. whether instinct
or structure, change first by insensible steps. Probably sometimes
instinct, sometimes structure. When a British insect feeds on an exotic
plant, instinct has changed by very small steps, and their structures
might change so as to fully profit by the new food. Or structure
might change first, as the direction of tusks in one variety of Indian
elephants, which leads it to attack the tiger in a different manner from
other kinds of elephants. Thanks for your letter of the 2nd, chiefly
about Murray. (N.B. Harvey of Dublin gives me, in a letter, the argument
of tall men marrying short women, as one of great weight!)

I do not quite understand what you mean by saying, "that the more they
prove that you underrate physical conditions, the better for you, as
Geology comes in to your aid."

... I see in Murray and many others one incessant fallacy, when alluding
to slight differences of physical conditions as being very important;
namely, oblivion of the fact that all species, except very local ones,
range over a considerable area, and though exposed to what the world
calls considerable DIVERSITIES, yet keep constant. I have just alluded
to this in the 'Origin' in comparing the productions of the Old and the
New Worlds. Farewell, shall you be at Oxford? If H. gets quite well,
perhaps I shall go there.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down [June 14th, 1860].

... Lowell's review (J.A. Lowell in the 'Christian Examiner,' May 1860.)
is pleasantly written, but it is clear that he is not a naturalist. He
quite overlooks the importance of the accumulation of mere individual
differences, and which, I think I can show, is the great agency of
change under domestication. I have not finished Schaaffhausen, as I read
German so badly. I have ordered a copy for myself, and should like to
keep yours till my own arrives, but will return it to you instantly if
wanted. He admits statements rather rashly, as I dare say I do. I see
only one sentence as yet at all approaching natural selection.

There is a notice of me in the penultimate number of 'All the Year
Round,' but not worth consulting; chiefly a well-done hash of my own
words. Your last note was very interesting and consolatory to me.

I have expressly stated that I believe physical conditions have a more
direct effect on plants than on animals. But the more I study, the
more I am led to think that natural selection regulates, in a state
of nature, most trifling differences. As squared stone, or bricks, or
timber, are the indispensable materials for a building, and influence
its character, so is variability not only indispensable, but
influential. Yet in the same manner as the architect is the ALL
important person in a building, so is selection with organic bodies...

[The meeting of the British Association at Oxford in 1860 is famous
for two pitched battles over the 'Origin of Species.' Both of them
originated in unimportant papers. On Thursday, June 28, Dr. Daubeny of
Oxford made a communication to Section D: "On the final causes of the
sexuality of plants, with particular reference to Mr. Darwin's work on
the 'Origin of Species.'" Mr. Huxley was called on by the President, but
tried (according to the "Athenaeum" 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 "Athenaeum", July 7, 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" ('Man's Place in Nature,' by
T.H. Huxley, 1863, page 114.), a pledge which he amply fulfilled.
(See the 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861.) On Friday there was peace, but on
Saturday 30th, the battle arose with redoubled fury over a paper by
Dr. Draper of New York, on the 'Intellectual development of Europe
considered with reference to the views of Mr. Darwin.'

The following account is from an eye-witness of the scene.

"The excitement was tremendous. The Lecture-room, in which it had been
arranged that the discussion should be held, proved far too small for
the audience, and the meeting 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. 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. He ridiculed Darwin badly, and
Huxley savagely, but all in such dulcet tones, so persuasive a manner,
and in such well-turned periods, that I who had been inclined to blame
the President for allowing a discussion that could serve no scientific
purpose now forgave him from the bottom of my heart. Unfortunately the
Bishop, hurried along on the current of his own eloquence, so far forgot
himself as to push his attempted advantage to the verge of personality
in a telling passage in which he turned round and addressed Huxley:
I forgot the precise words, and quote from Lyell. 'The Bishop asked
whether Huxley was related by his grandfather's or grandmother's side to
an ape.' (Lyell's 'Letters,' vol. ii. page 335.) Huxley replied to the
scientific argument of his opponent with force and eloquence, and to
the personal allusion with a sel-restraint, that gave dignity to his
crushing rejoinder."

Many versions of Mr. Huxley's speech were current: the following report
of his conclusion is from a letter addressed by the late John Richard
Green, then an undergraduate, to a fellow-student, now Professor Boyd
Dawkins. "I asserted, and I repeat, that a man has no reason to be
ashamed of having an ape for his grandfather. If there were an ancestor
whom I should feel shame in recalling, it would be a MAN, a man of
restless and versatile intellect, who, not content with an equivocal
(Prof. V. Carus, who has a distinct recollection of the scene, does not
remember the word equivocal. He believes too that Lyell's version of
the "ape" sentence is slightly incorrect.) 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."

The letter above quoted continues:

"The excitement was now at its height; a lady fainted and had to be
carried out, and it was some time before the discussion was resumed.
Some voices called for Hooker, and his name having been handed up, the
President invited him to give his view of the theory from the Botanical
side. This he did, demonstrating that the Bishop, by his own showing,
had never grasped the principles of the 'Origin' (With regard to the
Bishop's 'Quarterly Review,' my father wrote: "These very clever men
think they can write a review with a very slight knowledge of the book
reviewed or subject in question."), and that he was absolutely ignorant
of the elements of botanical science. The Bishop made no reply, and the
meeting broke up.

"There was a crowded conversazione in the evening at the 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.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Sudbrook Park, Monday night [July 2nd,

My dear Hooker,

I have just received your letter. I have been very poorly, with almost
continuous bad headache for forty-eight hours, and I was low enough,
and thinking what a useless burthen I was to myself and all others, when
your letter came, and it has so cheered me; your kindness and affection
brought tears into my eyes. Talk of fame, honour, pleasure, wealth, all
are dirt compared with affection; and this is a doctrine with which, I
know, from your letter, that you will agree with from the bottom of your
heart... How I should have liked to have wandered about Oxford with you,
if I had been well enough; and how still more I should have liked to
have heard you triumphing over the Bishop. I am astonished at your
success and audacity. It is something unintelligible to me how any one
can argue in public like orators do. I had no idea you had this power.
I have read lately so many hostile views, that I was beginning to think
that perhaps I was wholly in the wrong, and that -- was right when he
said the whole subject would be forgotten in ten years; but now that I
hear that you and Huxley will fight publicly (which I am sure I never
could do), I fully believe that our cause will, in the long-run,
prevail. I am glad I was not in Oxford, for I should have been
overwhelmed, with my [health] in its present state.

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Sudbrook Park, Richmond, July 3rd [1860].

... I had a letter from Oxford, written by Hooker late on Sunday night,
giving me some account of the awful battles which have raged about
species at Oxford. He tells me you fought nobly with Owen (but I have
heard no particulars), and that you answered the B. of O. capitally. I
often think that my friends (and you far beyond others) have good cause
to hate me, for having stirred up so much mud, and led them into so much
odious trouble. If I had been a friend of myself, I should have hated
me. (How to make that sentence good English, I know not.) But remember,
if I had not stirred up the mud, some one else certainly soon would.
I honour your pluck; I would as soon have died as tried to answer the
Bishop in such an assembly...

[On July 20th, my father wrote to Mr. Huxley:

"From all that I hear from several quarters, it seems that Oxford did
the subject great good. It is of enormous importance, the showing the
world that a few first-rate men are not afraid of expressing their


... I have just read the 'Quarterly.' ('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." The passage from the 'Anti-Jacobin' gives the history of
the evolution of space from the "primaeval 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 (page 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, that 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.'") 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 wel-quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate friend.


I can see there has been some queer tampering with the Review, for a
page has been cut out and reprinted.

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

"Considering his age, his former views and position in society, I think
his conduct has been heroic on this subject."]

CHARLES DARWIN 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. (April 10, 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
"Athenaeum", August 4, 1860.), and now I cannot resist expressing my
sincere admiration of your most clear powers of reasoning. As Hooker
lately said in a note to me, you are more than ANY ONE else the thorough
master of the subject. I declare that you know my book as well as I do
myself; and bring to the question new lines of illustration and argument
in a manner which excites my astonishment and almost my envy! I admire
these discussions, I think, almost more than your article in Silliman's
Journal. Every single word seems weighed carefully, and tells like a
32-pound shot. It makes me much wish (but I know that you have not time)
that you could write more in detail, and give, for instance, the facts
on the variability of the American wild fruits. The "Athenaeum" has
the largest circulation, and I have sent my copy to the editor with a
request that he would republish the first discussion; I much fear he
will not, as he reviewed the subject in so hostile a spirit... I shall
be curious [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.

... Henslow (Professor Henslow was mentioned in the December number of
'Macmillan's Magazine' as being an adherent of Evolution. In consequence
of this he published, in the February number of the following year, a
letter defining his position. This he did by means of an extract from a
letter addressed to him by the Rev. L. Jenyns (Blomefield) which "very
nearly," as he says, expressed his views. Mr. Blomefield wrote, "I was
not aware that you had become a convert to his (Darwin's) theory, and
can hardly suppose you have accepted it as a whole, though, like myself,
you may go to the length of imagining that many of the smaller groups,
both of animals and plants, may at some remote period have had a common
parentage. I do not with some say that the whole of his theory cannot
be true--but that it is very far from proved; and I doubt its ever being
possible to prove it.") and Daubeny are shaken. I hear from Hooker that
he hears from Hochstetter that my views are making very considerable
progress in Germany, and the good workers are discussing the question.
Bronn at the end of his translation has a chapter of criticism, but it
is such difficult German that I have not yet read it. Hopkins's review
in 'Fraser' is thought the best which has appeared against us. I believe
that Hopkins is so much opposed because his course of study has never
led him to reflect much on such subjects as geographical distribution,
classification, homologies, etc., so that he does not feel it a relief
to have some kind of explanation.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Hartfield [Sussex], July 30th [1860].

... I had lots of pleasant letters about the British Association, and our
side seems to have got on very well. There has been as much discussion
on the other side of the Atlantic as on this. No one I think understands
the whole case better than Asa Gray, and he has been fighting nobly. He
is a capital reasoner. I have sent one of his printed discussions to our
"Athenaeum", and the editor says he will print it. The 'Quarterly' has
been out some time. It contains no malice, which is wonderful... It makes
me say many things which I do not say. At the end it quotes all your
conclusions against Lamarck, and makes a solemn appeal to you to keep
firm in the true faith. I fancy it will make you quake a little. -- has
ingeniously primed the Bishop (with Murchison) against you as head of
the uniformitarians. The only other review worth mentioning, which I can
think of, is in the third No. of the 'London Review,' by some geologist,
and favorable for a wonder. It is very ably done, and I should like
much to know who is the author. I shall be very curious to hear on your
return whether Bronn's German translation of the 'Origin' has drawn
any attention to the subject. Huxley is eager about a 'Natural History
Review,' which he and others are going to edit, and he has got so
many first-rate assistants, that I really believe he will make it
a first-rate production. I have been doing nothing, except a little
botanical work as amusement. I shall hereafter be very anxious to hear
how your tour has answered. I expect your book on the geological history
of Man will, with a vengeance, be a bomb-shell. I hope it will not be
very long delayed. Our kindest remembrances to Lady Lyell. This is not
worth sending, but I have nothing better to say.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. WATKINS. (See Volume I.) Down, July 30th, [1860?].

My dear Watkins,

Your note gave me real pleasure. Leading the retired life which I do,
with bad health, I oftener think of old times than most men probably do;
and your face now rises before me, with the pleasant old expression, as
vividly as if I saw you.

My book has been well abused, praised, and splendidly quizzed by the
Bishop of Oxford; but from what I see of its influence on really good
workers in science, I feel confident that, IN THE MAIN, I am on the
right road. With respect to your question, I think the arguments
are valid, showing that all animals have descended from four or five
primordial forms; and that analogy and weak reasons go to show that all
have descended from some single prototype.

Farewell, my old friend. I look back to old Cambridge days with
unalloyed pleasure.

Believe me, yours most sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

T.H. HUXLEY TO CHARLES DARWIN. August 6th, 1860.

My dear Darwin,

I have to announce a new and great ally for you...

Von Baer writes to me thus:--Et outre cela, je trouve que vous ecrivez
encore des redactions. Vous avez ecrit sur l'ouvrage de M. Darwin une
critique dont je n'ai trouve que des debris dans un journal allemand.
J'ai oublie le nom terrible du journal anglais dans lequel se trouve
votre recension. En tout cas aussi je ne peux pas trouver le journal
ici. Comme je m'interesse beaucoup pour les idees de M. Darwin, sur
lesquelles j'ai parle publiquement et sur lesquelles je ferai peut-etre
imprimer quelque chose--vous m'obligeriez infiniment si vous pourriez me
faire parvenir ce que vous avez ecrit sur ces idees.

"J'ai enonce les memes idees sur la transformation des types ou origine
d'especes que M. Darwin. (See Vol. I.) Mais c'est seulement sur la
geographie zoologique que je m'appuie. Vous trouverez, dans le dernier
chapitre du traite 'Ueber Papuas und Alfuren,' que j'en parle tres
decidement sans savoir que M. Darwin s'occupait de cet objet."

The treatise to which Von Baer refers he gave me when over here, but I
have not been able to lay hands on it since this letter reached me two
days ago. When I find it I will let you know what there is in it.

Ever yours faithfully, T.H. HUXLEY.

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, August 8 [1860].

My dear Huxley,

Your note contained magnificent news, and thank you heartily for sending
it me. Von Baer weighs down with a vengeance all the virulence of [the
'Edinburgh' reviewer] and weak arguments of Agassiz. If you write to
Von Baer, for heaven's sake tell him that we should think one nod of
approbation on our side, of the greatest value; and if he does write
anything, beg him to send us a copy, for I would try and get it
translated and published in the "Athenaeum" and in 'Silliman' to touch
up Agassiz... Have you seen Agassiz's weak metaphysical and theological
attack on the 'Origin' in the last 'Silliman'? (The 'American Journal
of Science and Arts' (commonly called 'Silliman's Journal'), July 1860.
Printed from advanced sheets of vol. iii. of 'Contributions to the Nat.
Hist. of the U.S.' My father's copy has a pencilled "Truly" opposite the
following passage:--"Unless Darwin and his followers succeed in showing
that the struggle for life tends to something beyond favouring the
existence of certain individuals over that of other individuals, they
will soon find that they are following a shadow.") I would send it you,
but apprehend it would be less trouble for you to look at it in London
than return it to me. R. Wagner has sent me a German pamphlet ('Louis
Agassiz's Prinzipien der Classification, etc., mit Rucksicht auf Darwins
Ansichten. Separat-Abdruck aus den Gottingischen gelehrten Anzeigen,'
1860.), giving an abstract of Agassiz's 'Essay on Classification,' "mit
Rucksicht auf Darwins Ansichten," etc. etc. He won't go very "dangerous
lengths," but thinks the truth lies half-way between Agassiz and
the 'Origin.' As he goes thus far he will, nolens volens, have to go
further. He says he is going to review me in [his] yearly Report. My
good and kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel--i.e. the devil's

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, August 11th [1860].

... I have laughed at Woodward thinking that you were a man who could be
influenced in your judgment by the voice of the public; and yet after
mortally sneering at him, I was obliged to confess to myself, that I had
had fears, what the effect might be of so many heavy guns fired by great
men. As I have (sent by Murray) a spare 'Quarterly Review,' I send it by
this post, as it may amuse you. The Anti-Jacobin part amused me. It is
full of errors, and Hooker is thinking of answering it. There has been
a cancelled page; I should like to know what gigantic blunder it
contained. Hooker says that -- has played on the Bishop, and made him
strike whatever note he liked; he has wished to make the article as
disagreeable to you as possible. I will send the "Athenaeum" in a day or

As you wish to hear what reviews have appeared, I may mention that
Agassiz has fired off a shot in the last 'Silliman,' not good at all,
denies variations and rests on the perfection of Geological evidence.
Asa Gray tells me that a very clever friend has been almost converted
to our side by this review of Agassiz's... Professor Parsons (Theophilus
Parsons, Professor of Law in Harvard University.) has published in
the same 'Silliman' a speculative paper correcting my notions, worth
nothing. In the 'Highland Agricultural Journal' there is a review by
some Entomologist, not worth much. This is all that I can remember... As
Huxley says, the platoon firing must soon cease. Hooker and Huxley, and
Asa Gray, I see, are determined to stick to the battle and not give in;
I am fully convinced that whenever you publish, it will produce a great
effect on all TRIMMERS, and on many others. By the way I forgot
to mention Daubeny's pamphlet ('Remarks on the final causes of the
sexuality of plants with particular reference to Mr. Darwin's work on
the "Origin of Species."'--British Association Report, 1860.), very
liberal and candid, but scientifically weak. I believe Hooker is going
nowhere this summer; he is excessively busy... He has written me many,
most nice letters. I shall be very curious to hear on your return some
account of your Geological doings. Talking of Geology, you used to
be interested about the "pipes" in the chalk. About three years ago
a perfectly circular hole suddenly appeared in a flat grass field to
everyone's astonishment, and was filled up with many waggon loads of
earth; and now two or three days ago, again it has circularly subsided
about two feet more. How clearly this shows what is still slowly going
on. This morning I recommenced work, and am at dogs; when I have written
my short discussion on them, I will have it copied, and if you like, you
can then see how the argument stands, about their multiple origin. As
you seemed to think this important, it might be worth your reading;
though I do not feel sure that you will come to the same probable
conclusion that I have done. By the way, the Bishop makes a very telling
case against me, by accumulating several instances where I speak very
doubtfully; but this is very unfair, as in such cases as this of the
dog, the evidence is and must be very doubtful...

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, August 11 [1860].

My dear Gray,

On my return home from Sussex about a week ago, I found several articles
sent by you. The first article, from the 'Atlantic Monthly,' I am very
glad to possess. By the way, the editor of the "Athenaeum" (August 4,
1860.) has inserted your answer to Agassiz, Bowen, and Co., and when I
therein read them, I admired them even more than at first. They really
seemed to be admirable in their condensation, force, clearness and

I am surprised that Agassiz did not succeed in writing something better.
How absurd that logical quibble--"if species do not exist, how can they
vary?" As if any one doubted their temporary existence. How coolly
he assumes that there is some clearly defined distinction between
individual differences and varieties. It is no wonder that a man who
calls identical forms, when found in two countries, distinct species,
cannot find variation in nature. Again, how unreasonable to suppose that
domestic varieties selected by man for his own fancy should resemble
natural varieties or species. The whole article seems to me poor; it
seems to me hardly worth a detailed answer (even if I could do it, and
I much doubt whether I possess your skill in picking out salient points
and driving a nail into them), and indeed you have already answered
several points. Agassiz's name, no doubt, is a heavy weight against

If you see Professor Parsons, will you thank him for the extremely
liberal and fair spirit in which his Essay ('Silliman's Journal,' July,
1860.) is written. Please tell him that I reflected much on the chance
of favourable monstrosities (i.e. great and sudden variation) arising.
I have, of course, no objection to this, indeed it would be a great aid,
but I do not allude to the subject, for, after much labour, I could find
nothing which satisfied me of the probability of such occurrences.
There seems to me in almost every case too much, too complex, and too
beautiful adaptation, in every structure, to believe in its sudden
production. I have alluded under the head of beautifully hooked seeds
to such possibility. Monsters are apt to be sterile, or NOT to transmit
monstrous peculiarities. Look at the fineness of gradation in the shells
of successive SUB-STAGES of the same great formation; I could give
many other considerations which made me doubt such view. It holds, to a
certain extent, with domestic productions no doubt, where man preserves
some abrupt change in structure. It amused me to see Sir R. Murchison
quoted as a judge of affinities of animals, and it gave me a cold
shudder to hear of any one speculating about a true crustacean
giving birth to a true fish! (Parson's, loc. cit. page 5, speaking of
Pterichthys and Cephalaspis, says:--"Now is it too much to infer from
these facts that either of these animals, if a crustacean, was so nearly
a fish that some of its ova may have become fish; or, if itself a fish,
was so nearly a crustacean that it may have been born from the ovum of a

Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, September 1st [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I have been much interested by your letter of the 28th, received this
morning. It has DELIGHTED me, because it demonstrates that you have
thought a good deal lately on Natural Selection. Few things have
surprised me more than the entire paucity of objections and difficulties
new to me in the published reviews. Your remarks are of a different
stamp and new to me. I will run through them, and make a few pleadings
such as occur to me.

I put in the possibility of the Galapagos having been CONTINUOUSLY
joined to America, out of mere subservience to the many who believe in
Forbes's doctrine, and did not see the danger of admission, about small
mammals surviving there in such case. The case of the Galapagos, from
certain facts on littoral sea-shells (viz. Pacific Ocean and South
American littoral species), in fact convinced me more than in any other
case of other islands, that the Galapagos had never been continuously
united with the mainland; it was mere base subservience, and terror of
Hooker and Co.

With respect to atolls, I think mammals would hardly survive VERY LONG,
even if the main islands (for as I have said in the Coral Book, the
outline of groups of atolls do not look like a former CONTINENT) had
been tenanted by mammals, from the extremely small area, the very
peculiar conditions, and the probability that during subsidence all or
nearly all atolls have been breached and flooded by the sea many times
during their existence as atolls.

I cannot conceive any existing reptile being converted into a mammal.
From homologies I should look at it as certain that all mammals had
descended from some single progenitor. What its nature was, it is
impossible to speculate. More like, probably, the Ornithorhynchus
or Echidna than any known form; as these animals combine reptilian
characters (and in a less degree bird character) with mammalian. We
must imagine some form as intermediate, as is Lepidosiren now, between
reptiles and fish, between mammals and birds on the one hand (for they
retain longer the same embryological character) and reptiles on the
other hand. With respect to a mammal not being developed on any island,
besides want of time for so prodigious a development, there must have
arrived on the island the necessary and peculiar progenitor, having
a character like the embryo of a mammal; and not an ALREADY DEVELOPED
reptile, bird or fish.

We might give to a bird the habits of a mammal, but inheritance would
retain almost for eternity some of the bird-like structure, and prevent
a new creature ranking as a true mammal.

I have often speculated on antiquity of islands, but not with your
precision, or at all under the point of view of Natural Selection NOT
having done what might have been anticipated. The argument of littoral
Miocene shells at the Canary Islands is new to me. I was deeply
impressed (from the amount of the denudation) [with the] antiquity of
St. Helena, and its age agrees with the peculiarity of the flora. With
respect to bats at New Zealand (N.B. There are two or three European
bats in Madeira, and I think in the Canary Islands) not having given
rise to a group of non-volant bats, it is, now you put the case,
surprising; more especially as the genus of bats in New Zealand is very
peculiar, and therefore has probably been long introduced, and they now
speak of Cretacean fossils there. But the first necessary step has to
be shown, namely, of a bat taking to feed on the ground, or anyhow, and
anywhere, except in the air. I am bound to confess I do know one single
such fact, viz. of an Indian species killing frogs. Observe, that in my
wretched Polar Bear case, I do show the first step by which conversion
into a whale "would be easy," "would offer no difficulty"!! So with
seals, I know of no fact showing any the least incipient variation of
seals feeding on the shore. Moreover, seals wander much; I searched in
vain, and could not find ONE case of any species of seal confined to
any islands. And hence wanderers would be apt to cross with individuals
undergoing any change on an island, as in the case of land birds of
Madeira and Bermuda. The same remark applies even to bats, as they
frequently come to Bermuda from the mainland, though about 600 miles
distant. With respect to the Amblyrhynchus of the Galapagos, one may
infer as probable, from marine habits being so rare with Saurians, and
from the terrestrial species being confined to a few central islets,
that its progenitor first arrived at the Galapagos; from what country it
is impossible to say, as its affinity I believe is not very clear to
any known species. The offspring of the terrestrial species was probably
rendered marine. Now in this case I do not pretend I can show variation
in habits; but we have in the terrestrial species a vegetable feeder (in
itself a rather unusual circumstance), largely on LICHENS, and it would
not be a great change for its offspring to feed first on littoral algae
and then on submarine algae. I have said what I can in defence, but
yours is a good line of attack. We should, however, always remember
that no change will ever be effected till a variation in the habits or
structure or of both CHANCE to occur in the right direction, so as
to give the organism in question an advantage over other already
established occupants of land or water, and this may be in any
particular case indefinitely long. I am very glad you will read my dogs
MS., for it will be important to me to see what you think of the balance
of evidence. After long pondering on a subject it is often hard to
judge. With hearty thanks for your most interesting letter. Farewell.

My dear old master, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, September 2nd [1860].

My dear Hooker,

I am astounded at your news received this morning. I am become such an
old fogy that I am amazed at your spirit. For God's sake do not go and
get your throat cut. Bless my soul, I think you must be a little insane.
I must confess it will be a most interesting tour; and, if you get
to the top of Lebanon, I suppose extremely interesting--you ought to
collect any beetles under stones there; but the Entomologists are such
slow coaches. I dare say no result could be made out of them. [They]
have never worked the Alpines of Britain.

If you come across any Brine lakes, do attend to their minute flora and
fauna; I have often been surprised how little this has been attended to.

I have had a long letter from Lyell, who starts ingenious difficulties
opposed to Natural Selection, because it has not done more than it
has. This is very good, as it shows that he has thoroughly mastered the
subject; and shows he is in earnest. Very striking letter altogether and
it rejoices the cockles of my heart.

... How I shall miss you, my best and kindest of friends. God bless you.

Yours ever affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, September 10 [1860].

... You will be weary of my praise, but it (Dr. Gray in the 'Atlantic
Monthly' for July, 1860.) does strike me as quite admirably argued, and
so well and pleasantly written. Your many metaphors are inimitably good.
I said in a former letter that you were a lawyer, but I made a gross
mistake, I am sure that you are a poet. No, by Jove, I will tell you
what you are, a hybrid, a complex cross of lawyer, poet, naturalist and
theologian! Was there ever such a monster seen before?

I have just looked through the passages which I have marked as appearing
to me extra good, but I see that they are too numerous to specify, and
this is no exaggeration. My eye just alights on the happy comparison
of the colours of the prism and our artificial groups. I see one little
error of fossil CATTLE in South America.

It is curious how each one, I suppose, weighs arguments in a different
balance: embryology is to me by far the strongest single class of facts
in favour of change of forms, and not one, I think, of my reviewers has
alluded to this. Variation not coming on at a very early age, and being
inherited at not a very early corresponding period, explains, as it
seems to me, the grandest of all facts in natural history, or rather in
zoology, viz. the resemblance of embryos.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL Down, September 12th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I never thought of showing your letter to any one. I mentioned in a
letter to Hooker that I had been much interested by a letter of yours
with original objections, founded chiefly on Natural Selection not
having done so much as might have been expected... In your letter just
received, you have improved your case versus Natural Selection; and it
would tell with the public (do not be tempted by its novelty to make
it too strong); yet is seems to me, not REALLY very killing, though I
cannot answer your case, especially, why Rodents have not become
highly developed in Australia. You must assume that they have inhabited
Australia for a very long period, and this may or may not be the case.
But I feel that our ignorance is so profound, why one form is preserved
with nearly the same structure, or advances in organisation or even
retrogrades, or becomes extinct, that I cannot put very great weight on
the difficulty. Then, as you say often in your letter, we know not how
many geological ages it may have taken to make any great advance in
organisation. Remember monkeys in the Eocene formations: but I admit
that you have made out an excellent objection and difficulty, and I
can give only unsatisfactory and quite vague answers, such as you have
yourself put; however, you hardly put weight enough on the absolute
necessity of variations first arising in the right direction, videlicet,
of seals beginning to feed on the shore.

I entirely agree with what you say about only one species of many
becoming modified. I remember this struck me much when tabulating the
varieties of plants, and I have a discussion somewhere on this point. It
is absolutely implied in my ideas of classification and divergence
that only one or two species, of even large genera, give birth to new
species; and many whole genera become WHOLLY extinct... Please see page
341 of the 'Origin.' But I cannot remember that I have stated in the
'Origin' the fact of only very few species in each genus varying. You
have put the view much better in your letter. Instead of saying, as I
often have, that very few species vary at the same time, I ought to
have said, that very few species of a genus EVER vary so as to become
modified; for this is the fundamental explanation of classification, and
is shown in my engraved diagram...

I quite agree with you on the strange and inexplicable fact of
Ornithorhynchus having been preserved, and Australian Trigonia, or the
Silurian Lingula. I always repeat to myself that we hardly know why any
one single species is rare or common in the best-known countries. I have
got a set of notes somewhere on the inhabitants of fresh water; and it
is singular how many of these are ancient, or intermediate forms; which
I think is explained by the competition having been less severe, and
the rate of change of organic forms having been slower in small confined
areas, such as all the fresh waters make compared with sea or land.

I see that you do allude in the last page, as a difficulty, to
Marsupials not having become Placentals in Australia; but this I think
you have no right at all to expect; for we ought to look at Marsupials
and Placentals as having descended from some intermediate and lower
form. The argument of Rodents not having become highly developed
in Australia (supposing that they have long existed there) is much
stronger. I grieve to see you hint at the creation "of distinct
successive types, as well as of a certain number of distinct aboriginal
types." Remember, if you admit this, you give up the embryological
argument (THE WEIGHTIEST OF ALL TO ME), and the morphological or
homological argument. You cut my throat, and your own throat; and I
believe will live to be sorry for it. So much for species.

The striking extract which E. copied was your own writing!! in a note to
me, many long years ago--which she copied and sent to Mme. Sismondi; and
lately my aunt, in sorting her letters, found E.'s and returned them
to her... I have been of late shamefully idle, i.e. observing (Drosera)
instead of writing, and how much better fun observing is than writing.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. 15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, Sunday
[September 23rd, 1860].

My dear Lyell,

I got your letter of the 18th just before starting here. You speak of
saving me trouble in answering. Never think of this, for I look at every
letter of yours as an honour and pleasure, which is a pretty deal more
than I can say of some of the letters which I receive. I have now one of
13 CLOSELY WRITTEN FOLIO PAGES to answer on species!...

I have a very decided opinion that all mammals must have descended from
a SINGLE parent. Reflect on the multitude of details, very many of them
of extremely little importance to their habits (as the number of
bones of the head, etc., covering of hair, identical embryological
development, etc. etc.). Now this large amount of similarity I must look
at as certainly due to inheritance from a common stock. I am aware that
some cases occur in which a similar or nearly similar organ has been
acquired by independent acts of natural selection. But in most of such
cases of these apparently so closely similar organs, some important
homological difference may be detected. Please read page 193, beginning,
"The electric organs," and trust me that the sentence, "In all these
cases of two very distinct species," etc. etc., was not put in rashly,
for I went carefully into every case. Apply this argument to the whole
frame, internal and external, of mammifers, and you will see why I think
so strongly that all have descended from one progenitor. I have just
re-read your letter, and I am not perfectly sure that I understand your

I enclose two diagrams showing the sort of manner I CONJECTURE that
mammals have been developed. I thought a little on this when writing
page 429, beginning, "Mr. Waterhouse." (Please read the paragraph.) I
have not knowledge enough to choose between these two diagrams. If the
brain of Marsupials in embryo closely resembles that of Placentals,
I should strongly prefer No.2, and this agrees with the antiquity of
Microlestes. As a general rule I should prefer No.1 diagram; whether or
not Marsupials have gone on being developed, or rising in rank, from a
very early period would depend on circumstances too complex for even
a conjecture. Lingula has not risen since the Silurian epoch, whereas
other molluscs may have risen.

Here appear two diagrams.

Diagram I.

A - Mammals, not true Marsupials nor true Placentals. - 2 branches -
Branch I, True Placental, from which branch off Rodents, Insectivora, a
branch terminating in Ruminants and Pachyderms, Canidae and terminates
in Quadrumana. - Branch II, True Marsupial, from which branches off
Kangaroo family an unnamed branch terminating in 2 unnamed branches and
terminates in Didelphys Family.

Diagram II.

A - True Marsupials, lowly developed. - True Marsupials, highly
developed. - 2 branches - Branch I, Placentals, from which branch off
Rodents, Insectivora, a branch terminating in Ruminants and Pachyderms,
Canidae and terminates in Quadrumana. - Branch II, Present Marsupials,
splitting into two branches terminating in Kangaroo family (with 2
unnamed branches) and Didelphys family.

A, in the two diagrams, represents an unknown form, probably
intermediate between Mammals, Reptiles, and Birds, as intermediate as
Lepidosiren now is between Fish and Batrachians. This unknown form is
probably more closely related to Ornithorhynchus than to any other known

I do not think that the multiple origin of dogs goes against the single
origin of man... All the races of man are so infinitely closer together
than to any ape, that (as in the case of descent of all mammals from
one progenitor), I should look at all races of men as having certainly
descended from one parent. I should look at it as probable that the
races of men were less numerous and less divergent formerly than
now, unless, indeed, some lower and more aberrant race even than the
Hottentot has become extinct. Supposing, as I do for one believe, that
our dogs have descended from two or three wolves, jackals, etc.,
yet these have, on OUR VIEW, descended from a single remote unknown
progenitor. With domestic dogs the question is simply whether the whole
amount of difference has been produced since man domesticated a single
species; or whether part of the difference arises in the state of
nature. Agassiz and Co. think the negro and Caucasian are now distinct
species, and it is a mere vain discussion whether, when they were rather
less distinct, they would, on this standard of specific value, deserve
to be called species.

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

N.B.--I know of no rodents on oceanic islands (except my Galapagos
mouse, which MAY have been introduced by man) keeping down the
development of other classes. Still MUCH more weight I should attribute
to there being now, neither in islands nor elsewhere, [any] known
animals of a grade of organisation intermediate between mammals,
fish, reptiles, etc., whence a new mammal could be developed. If
every vertebrate were destroyed throughout the world, except our NOW
WELL-ESTABLISHED reptiles, millions of ages might elapse before reptiles
could become highly developed on a scale equal to mammals; and, on the
principle of inheritance, they would make some quite NEW CLASS, and not
mammals; though POSSIBLY more intellectual! I have not an idea that you
will care for this letter, so speculative.

Most truly yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, September 26 [1860].

... I have had a letter of fourteen folio pages from Harvey against my
book, with some ingenious and new remarks; but it is an extraordinary
fact that he does not understand at all what I mean by Natural
Selection. I have begged him to read the Dialogue in next 'Silliman,' as
you never touch the subject without making it clearer. I look at it
as even more extraordinary that you never say a word or use an epithet
which does not express fully my meaning. Now Lyell, Hooker, and others,
who perfectly understand my book, yet sometimes use expressions to which
I demur. Well, your extraordinary labour is over; if there is any fair
amount of truth in my view, I am well assured that your great labour has
not been thrown away...

I yet hope and almost believe, that the time will come when you will go
further, in believing a very large amount of modification of species,
than you did at first or do now. Can you tell me whether you believe
further or more firmly than you did at first? I should really like to
know this. I can perceive in my immense correspondence with Lyell, who
objected to much at first, that he has, perhaps unconsciousnessly to
himself, converted himself very much during the last six months, and
I think this is the case even with Hooker. This fact gives me far more
confidence than any other fact.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. 15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, Friday evening
[September 28th, 1860].

... I am very glad to hear about the Germans reading my book. No one will
be converted who has not independently begun to doubt about species. Is
not Krohn (There are two papers by Aug. Krohn, one on the Cement Glands,
and the other on the development of Cirripedes, 'Wiegmann's Archiv,'
xxv. and xxvi. My father has remarked that he "blundered dreadfully
about the cement glands," 'Autobiography.') 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.
I have always meant to write to him and thank him. I suppose Dr. Krohn,
Bonn, would reach him.

I cannot see yet how the multiple origin of dog can be properly brought
as argument for the multiple origin of man. Is not your feeling a
remnant of the deeply impressed one on all our minds, that a species is
an entity, something quite distinct from a variety? Is it not that the
dog case injures the argument from fertility, so that one main argument
that the races of man are varieties and not species--i.e., because they
are fertile inter se, is much weakened?

I quite agree with what Hooker says, that whatever variation is possible
under culture, is POSSIBLE under nature; not that the same form would
ever be accumulated and arrived at by selection for man's pleasure, and
by natural selection for the organism's own good.

Talking of "natural selection;" if I had to commence de novo, I would
have used "natural preservation." For I find men like Harvey of Dublin
cannot understand me, though he has read the book twice. Dr. Gray of the
British Museum remarked to me that, "SELECTION was obviously impossible
with plants! No one could tell him how it could be possible!" And he may
now add that the author did not attempt it to him!

Yours ever affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. 15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne, October 8th

My dear Lyell,

I send the [English] translation of Bronn (A MS. translation of Bronn's
chapter of objections at the end of his German translation of the
'Origin of Species.'), the first part of the chapter with generalities
and praise is not translated. There are some good hits. He makes an
apparently, and in part truly, telling case against me, says that I
cannot explain why one rat has a longer tail and another longer ears,
etc. But he seems to muddle in assuming that these parts did not all
vary together, or one part so insensibly before the other, as to be
in fact contemporaneous. I might ask the creationist whether he thinks
these differences in the two rats of any use, or as standing in some
relation from laws of growth; and if he admits this, selection might
come into play. He who thinks that God created animals unlike for mere
sport or variety, as man fashions his clothes, will not admit any force
in my argumentum ad hominem.

Bronn blunders about my supposing several Glacial periods, whether or no
such ever did occur.

He blunders about my supposing that development goes on at the same rate
in all parts of the world. I presume that he has misunderstood this from
the supposed migration into all regions of the more dominant forms.

I have ordered Dr. Bree ('Species not Transmutable,' by C.R. Bree,
1860.), and will lend it to you, if you like, and if it turns out good.

... I am very glad that I misunderstood you about species not having the
capacity to vary, though in fact few do give birth to new species. It
seems that I am very apt to misunderstand you; I suppose I am always
fancying objections. Your case of the Red Indian shows me that we agree

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.M. RODWELL. (Rev. J.M. Rodwell, who was at Cambridge
with my father, remembers him saying:--"It strikes me that all our
knowledge about the structure of our earth is very much like what an
old hen would know of a hundred acre field, in a corner of which she is
scratching.") 15 Marine Parade, Eastbourne. November 5th [1860].

My dear Sir,

I am extremely much obliged for your letter, which I can compare only to
a plum-pudding, so full it is of good things. I have been rash about the
cats ("Cats with blue eyes are invariably deaf," 'Origin of Species,'
edition i. page 12.): yet I spoke on what seemed to me, good authority.
The Rev. W.D. Fox gave me a list of cases of various foreign breeds
in which he had observed the correlation, and for years he had vainly
sought an exception. A French paper also gives numerous cases, and one
very curious case of a kitten which GRADUALLY lost the blue colour in
its eyes and as gradually acquired its power of hearing. I had not
heard of your uncle, Mr. Kirby's case (William Kirby, joint author with
Spence, of the well-known 'Introduction to Entomology,' 1818.) (whom I,
for as long as I can remember, have venerated) of care in breeding cats.
I do not know whether Mr. Kirby was your uncle by marriage, but your
letters show me that you ought to have Kirby blood in your veins, and
that if you had not taken to languages you would have been a first-rate

I sincerely hope that you will be able to carry out your intention of
writing on the "Birth, Life, and Death of Words." Anyhow, you have a
capital title, and some think this the most difficult part of a book. I
remember years ago at the Cape of Good Hope, Sir J. Herschel saying to
me, I wish some one would treat language as Lyell has treated geology.
What a linguist you must be to translate the Koran! Having a vilely bad
head for languages, I feel an awful respect for linguists.

I do not know whether my brother-in-law, Hensleigh Wedgwood's
'Etymological Dictionary' would be at all in your line; but he
treats briefly on the genesis of words; and, as it seems to me, very
ingeniously. You kindly say that you would communicate any facts which
might occur to you, and I am sure that I should be most grateful. Of
the multitude of letters which I receive, not one in a thousand is like
yours in value.

With my cordial thanks, and apologies for this untidy letter written in
haste, pray believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours sincerely obliged, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. November 20th [1860].

... I have not had heart to read Phillips ('Life on the Earth.') yet, or
a tremendous long hostile review by Professor Bowen in the 4to Mem. of
the American Academy of Sciences. ("Remarks on the latest form of the
Development Theory." By Francis Bowen, Professor of Natural Religion and
Moral Philosophy, at Harvard University. 'American Academy of Arts and
Sciences,' vol. viii.) (By the way, I hear Agassiz is going to thunder
against me in the next part of the 'Contributions.') Thank you for
telling me of the sale of the 'Origin,' of which I had not heard. There
will be some time, I presume, a new edition, and I especially want your
advice on one point, and you know I think you the wisest of men, and I
shall be ABSOLUTELY GUIDED BY YOUR ADVICE. It has occurred to me, that
it would PERHAPS be a good plan to put a set of notes (some twenty to
forty or fifty) to the 'Origin,' which now has none, exclusively devoted
to errors of my reviewers. It has occurred to me that where a reviewer
has erred, a common reader might err. Secondly, it will show the reader
that he must not trust implicitly to reviewers. Thirdly, when any
special fact has been attacked, I should like to defend it. I would show
no sort of anger. I enclose a mere rough specimen, done without any care
or accuracy--done from memory alone--to be torn up, just to show the
sort of thing that has occurred to me. WILL YOU DO ME THE GREAT KINDNESS

It seems to me it would have a good effect, and give some confidence to
the reader. It would [be] a horrid bore going through all the reviews.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

[Here follow samples of foot-notes, the references to volume and page
being left blank. It will be seen that in some cases he seems to have
forgotten that he was writing foot-notes, and to have continued as if
writing to Lyell:--

*Dr. Bree asserts that I explain the structure of the cells of the Hive
Bee by "the exploded doctrine of pressure." But I do not say one word
which directly or indirectly can be interpreted into any reference to

*The 'Edinburgh' Reviewer quotes my work as saying that the "dorsal
vertebrae of pigeons vary in number, and disputes the fact." I nowhere
even allude to the dorsal vertebrae, only to the sacral and caudal

*The 'Edinburgh' Reviewer throws a doubt on these organs being the
Branchiae of Cirripedes. But Professor Owen in 1854 admits, without
hesitation, that they are Branchiae, as did John Hunter long ago.

*The confounded Wealden Calculation to be struck out, and a note to
be inserted to the effect that I am convinced of its inaccuracy from
a review in the "Saturday Review", and from Phillips, as I see in his
Table of Contents that he alludes to it.

*Mr. Hopkins ('Fraser') states--I am quoting only from vague
memory--that, "I argue in favour of my views from the extreme
imperfection of the Geological Record," and says this is the first time
in the history of Science he has ever heard of ignorance being adduced
as an argument. But I repeatedly admit, in the most emphatic language
which I can use, that the imperfect evidence which Geology offers in
regard to transitorial forms is most strongly opposed to my views.
Surely there is a wide difference in fully admitting an objection, and
then in endeavouring to show that it is not so strong as it at first
appears, and in Mr. Hopkins's assertion that I found my argument on the

*I would also put a note to "Natural Selection," and show how variously
it has been misunderstood.

*A writer in the 'Edinburgh Philosophical Journal' denies my statement
that the Woodpecker of La Plata never frequents trees. I observed its
habits during two years, but, what is more to the purpose, Azara, whose
accuracy all admit, is more emphatic than I am in regard to its never
frequenting trees. Mr. A. Murray denies that it ought to be called
a woodpecker; it has two toes in front and two behind, pointed tail
feathers, a long pointed tongue, and the same general form of body,
the same manner of flight, colouring and voice. It was classed, until
recently, in the same genus--Picus--with all other woodpeckers, but now
has been ranked as a distinct genus amongst the Picidae. It differs from
the typical Picus only in the beak, not being quite so strong, and in
the upper mandible being slightly arched. I think these facts fully
justify my statement that it is "in all essential parts of its
organisation" a Woodpecker.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, November 22 [1860].

My dear Huxley,

For heaven's sake don't write an anti-Darwinian article; you would do it
so confoundedly well. I have sometimes amused myself with thinking how
I could best pitch into myself, and I believe I could give two or three
good digs; but I will see you -- first before I will try. I shall be
very impatient to see the Review. (The first number of the new series of
the 'Nat. Hist. Review' appeared in 1861.) If it succeeds it may really
do much, very much good...

I heard to-day from Murray that I must set to work at once on a new
edition (The 3rd edition.) of the 'Origin.' [Murray] says the Reviews
have not improved the sale. I shall always think those early reviews,
almost entirely yours, did the subject an ENORMOUS service. If you
have any important suggestions or criticisms to make on any part of the
'Origin,' I should, of course, be very grateful for [them]. For I mean
to correct as far as I can, but not enlarge. How you must be wearied
with and hate the subject, and it is God's blessing if you do not get to
hate me. Adios.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, November 24th [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you much for your letter. I had got to take pleasure in thinking
how I could best snub my reviewers; but I was determined, in any case,
to follow your advice, and, before I had got to the end of your letter,
I was convinced of the wisdom of your advice. ("I get on slowly with
my new edition. I find that your advice was EXCELLENT. I can answer all
reviews, without any direct notice of them, by a little enlargement
here and there, with here and there a new paragraph. Bronn alone I shall
treat with the respect of giving his objections with his name. I think
I shall improve my book a good deal, and add only some twenty
pages."--From a letter to Lyell, December 4th, 1860.) What an advantage
it is to me to have such friends as you. I shall follow every hint in
your letter exactly.

I have just heard from Murray; he says he sold 700 copies at his sale,
and that he has not half the number to supply; so that I must begin
at once (On the third edition of the 'Origin of Species,' published in
April 1861.)...

P.S.--I must tell you one little fact which has pleased me. You may
remember that I adduce electrical organs of fish as one of the greatest
difficulties which have occurred to me, and -- notices the passage in a
singularly disingenuous spirit. Well, McDonnell, of Dublin (a first-rate
man), writes to me that he felt the difficulty of the whole case as
overwhelming against me. Not only are the fishes which have electric
organs very remote in scale, but the organ is near the head in some,
and near the tail in others, and supplied by wholly different nerves. It
seems impossible that there could be any transition. Some friend, who
is much opposed to me, seems to have crowed over McDonnell, who
reports that he said to himself, that if Darwin is right, there must
be homologous organs both near the head and tail in other non-electric
fish. He set to work, and, by Jove, he has found them! ('On an organ in
the Skate, which appears to be the homologue of the electrical organ of
the Torpedo,' by R. McDonnell, 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861, page 57.) so
that some of the difficulty is removed; and is it not satisfactory that
my hypothetical notions should have led to pretty discoveries? McDonnell
seems very cautious; he says, years must pass before he will venture to
call himself a believer in my doctrine, but that on the subjects which
he knows well, viz., Morphology and Embryology, my views accord well,
and throw light on the whole subject.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, November 26th, 1860.

My dear Gray,

I have to thank you for two letters. The latter with corrections,
written before you received my letter asking for an American reprint,
and saying that it was hopeless to print your reviews as a pamphlet,
owing to the impossibility of getting pamphlets known. I am very glad to
say that the August or second 'Atlantic' article has been reprinted in
the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History'; but I have not seen it
there. Yesterday I read over with care the third article; and it seems
to me, as before, ADMIRABLE. But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly
go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly
hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the
result of chance; and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the
result of Design. To take a crucial example, you lead me to infer
(page 414) that you believe "that variation has been led along certain
beneficial lines." I cannot believe this; and I think you would have to
believe, that the tail of the Fantail was led to vary in the number and
direction of its feathers in order to gratify the caprice of a few men.
Yet if the Fantail had been a wild bird, and had used its abnormal tail
for some special end, as to sail before the wind, unlike other birds,
every one would have said, "What a beautiful and designed adaptation."
Again, I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle.

Thank you much for Bowen's 4to. review. ('Memoirs of the American
Academy of Arts and Sciences,' vol. viii.) The coolness with which he
makes all animals to be destitute of reason is simply absurd. It is
monstrous at page 103, that he should argue against the possibility of
accumulative variation, and actually leave out, entirely, selection! The
chance that an improved Short-horn, or improved Pouter-pigeon, should be
produced by accumulative variation without man's selection is as almost
infinity to nothing; so with natural species without natural selection.
How capitally in the 'Atlantic' you show that Geology and Astronomy
are, according to Bowen, Metaphysics; but he leaves out this in the 4to.

I have not much to tell you about my Book. I have just heard that Du
Boi-Reymond agrees with me. The sale of my book goes on well, and the
multitude of reviews has not stopped the sale...; so I must begin at
once on a new corrected edition. I will send you a copy for the chance
of your ever re-reading; but, good Heavens, how sick you must be of it!

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 2nd [1860].

... 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. OF COURSE I will send you a copy of the new

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

Ever yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, December 11th [1860].

... I heard from A. Gray this morning; at my suggestion he is going to
reprint the three 'Atlantic' articles as a pamphlet, and send 250
copies to England, for which I intend to pay half the cost of the
whole edition, and shall give away, and try to sell by getting a few
advertisements put in, and if possible notices in Periodicals.

... David Forbes has been carefully working the Geology of Chile, and as
I value praise for accurate 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 enquiry." I feel
inclined to strut like a Turkey-cock!



[The beginning of the year 1861 saw my father with the third chapter of
'The Variation of Animals and Plants' still on his hands. It had been
begun in the previous August, and was not finished until March 1861. He
was, however, for part of this time (I believe during December 1860 and
January 1861) engaged in a new edition (2000 copies) of the 'Origin,'
which was largely corrected and added to, and was published in April

With regard to this, the third edition, he wrote to Mr. Murray in
December 1860:--

"I shall be glad to hear when you have decided how many copies you will
print off--the more the better for me in all ways, as far as compatible
with safety; for I hope never again to make so many corrections, or
rather additions, which I have made in hopes of making my many rather
stupid reviewers at least understand what is meant. I hope and think I
shall improve the book considerably."

An interesting feature in the new edition was the "Historical Sketch of
the Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species" (The Historical
Sketch had already appeared in the first German edition (1860) and the
American edition. Bronn states in the German edition (footnote, page
1) that it was his critique in the 'N. Jahrbuch fur Mineralogie' that
suggested the idea of such a sketch to my father.) 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.

Towards the end of the present year (1861), the final arrangements
for the first French edition of the 'Origin' were completed, and in
September a copy of the third English edition was despatched to Mdlle.
Clemence Royer, who 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

During all the early part of the year (1861) he was working at the
mass of details which are marshalled in order in the early chapter of
'Animals and Plants.' Thus in his Diary occur the laconic entries, "May
16, Finished Fowls (eight weeks); May 31, Ducks."

On July 1, he started, with his family, for Torquay, where he remained
until August 27--a holiday which he 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, as told in his letters, seems to become clearer
when the whole of his botanical work is placed together and treated
separately. The present series of chapters will, therefore, include only
the progress of his works in the direction of a general amplification of
the 'Origin of Species'--e.g., the publication of 'Animals and Plants,'
'Descent of Man,' etc.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, January 15 [1861].

My dear Hooker,

The sight of your handwriting always rejoices the very cockles of my

I most fully agree to what you say about Huxley's Article ('Natural
History Review,' 1861, page 67, "On the Zoological Relations of Man with
the Lower Animals." This memoir had its origin in a discussion at the
previous meeting of the British Association, when Professor Huxley
felt himself "compelled to give a diametrical contradiction to certain
assertions respecting the differences which obtain between the brains
of the higher apes and of man, which fell from Professor Owen." But in
order that his criticisms might refer to deliberately recorded words, he
bases them on Professor Owen's paper, "On the Characters, etc., of the
Class Mammalia," read before the Linnean Society in February and April,
1857, in which he proposed to place man not only in a distinct order,
but in "a distinct su-class of the Mammalia"--the Archencephala.),
and the power of writing... The whole review seems to me excellent. How
capitally Oliver has done the resume of botanical books. Good Heavens,
how he must have read!...

I quite agree that Phillips ('Life on the Earth' (1860), by Prof.
Phillips, containing the substance of the Rede Lecture (May 1860).)
is unreadably dull. You need not attempt Bree. (The following sentence
(page 16) from 'Species not Transmutable,' by Dr. Bree, illustrates the
degree in which he understood the 'Origin of Species': "The only real
difference between Mr. Darwin and his two predecessors" [Lamarck and the
'Vestiges'] "is this:--that while the latter have each given a mode by
which they conceive the great changes they believe in have been brought
about, Mr. Darwin does no such thing." After this we need not be
surprised at a passage in the preface: "No one has derived greater
pleasure than I have in past days from the study of Mr. Darwin's other
works, and no one has felt a greater degree of regret that he should
have imperilled his fame by the publication of his treatise upon the
'Origin of Species.'")...

If you come across Dr. Freke on 'Origin of Species by means of Organic
Affinity,' read a page here and there... He tells the reader to observe
[that his result] has been arrived at by "induction," whereas all my
results are arrived at only by "analogy." I see a Mr. Neale has read
a paper before the Zoological Society on 'Typical Selection;' what it
means I know not. I have not read H. Spencer, for I find that I must
more and more husband the very little strength which I have. I sometimes
suspect I shall soon entirely fail... As soon as this dreadful weather
gets a little milder, I must try a little water cure. Have you read the
'Woman in White'? the plot is wonderfully interesting. I can recommend
a book which has interested me greatly, viz. Olmsted's 'Journey in the
Back Country.' It is an admirably lively picture of man and slavery in
the Southern States...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. February 2, 1861.

My dear Lyell,

I have thought you would like to read the enclosed passage in a letter
from A. Gray (who is printing his reviews as a pamphlet ("Natural
Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology," from the 'Atlantic
Monthly' for July, August, and October, 1860; published by Trubner.),
and will send copies to England), as I think his account is really
favourable in high degree to us:--

"I wish I had time to write you an account of the lengths to which Bowen
and Agassiz, each in their own way, are going. The first denying all
heredity (all transmission except specific) whatever. The second
coming near to deny that we are genetically descended from our
great-grea-grandfathers; and insisting that evidently affiliated
languages, e.g. Latin, Greek, Sanscrit, owe none of their similarities
to a community of origin, are all autochthonal; Agassiz admits that the
derivation of languages, and that of species or forms, stand on the same
foundation, and that he must allow the latter if he allows the former,
which I tell him is perfectly logical."

Is not this marvellous?

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 4 [1861].

My dear Hooker,

I was delighted to get your long chatty letter, and to hear that you are
thawing towards science. I almost wish you had remained frozen rather
longer; but do not thaw too quickly and strongly. No one can work long
as you used to do. Be idle; but I am a pretty man to preach, for I
cannot be idle, much as I wish it, and am never comfortable except when
at work. The word holiday is written in a dead language for me, and much
I grieve at it. We thank you sincerely for your kind sympathy about
poor H. [his daughter]... She has now come up to her old point, and can
sometimes get up for an hour or two twice a day... Never to look to the
future or as little as possible is becoming our rule of life. What
a different thing life was in youth with no dread in the future; all
golden, if baseless, hopes.

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

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

[The following letter refers to Mr. Bates's paper, "Contributions to
an Insect Fauna of the Amazon Valley," in the 'Transactions of the
Entomological Society,' vol.5, N.S. (The paper was read November 24,
1860.) Mr. Bates points out that with the return, after the glacial
period, of a warmer climate in the equatorial regions, the "species then
living near the equator would retreat north and south to their
former homes, leaving some of their congeners, slowly modified
subsequently... to re-people the zone they had forsaken." In this case
the species now living at the equator ought to show clear relationship
to the species inhabiting the regions about the 25th parallel, whose
distant relatives they would of course be. But this is not the case,
and this is the difficulty my father refers to. Mr. Belt has offered
an explanation in his 'Naturalist in Nicaragua' (1874), page 266. "I
believe the answer is that there was much extermination during the
glacial period, that many species (and some genera, etc., as, for
instance, the American horse), did not survive it... but that a refuge
was found for many species on lands now below the ocean, that were
uncovered by the lowering of the sea, caused by the immense quantity of
water that was locked up in frozen masses on the land."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, 27th [March 1861].

My dear Hooker,

I had intended to have sent you Bates's article this very day. I am so
glad you like it. I have been extremely much struck with it. How well
he argues, and with what crushing force against the glacial doctrine. I
cannot wriggle out of it: I am dumbfounded; yet I do believe that
some explanation some day will appear, and I cannot give up equatorial
cooling. It explains so much and harmonises with so much. When you
write (and much interested I shall be in your letter) please say how far
floras are generally uniform in generic character from 0 to 25 degrees
N. and S.

Before reading Bates, I had become thoroughly dissatisfied with what I
wrote to you. I hope you may get Bates to write in the 'Linnean.'

Here is a good joke: H.C. Watson (who, I fancy and hope, is going to
review the new edition (third edition of 2000 copies, published in
April, 1861.) 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, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--Do not spread this pleasing joke; it is rather too biting.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, [April] 23? [1861].

... I quite agree with what you say on Lieutenant Hutton's Review (In the
'Geologist,' 1861, page 132, by Lieutenant Frederick Wollaston Hutton,
now Professor of Biology and Geology at Canterbury College, New
Zealand.) (who he is I know not); it struck me as very original. He
is one of the very few who see that the change of species cannot be
directly proved, and that the doctrine must sink or swim according as it
groups and explains phenomena. It is really curious how few judge it in
this way, which is clearly the right way. I have been much interested by
Bentham's paper ("On the Species and Genera of Plants, etc.," 'Natural
History Review,' 1861, page 133.) in the N.H.R., but it would not, of
course, from familiarity strike you as it did me. I liked the whole; all
the facts on the nature of close and varying species. Good Heavens! to
think of the British botanists turning up their noses, and saying that
he knows nothing of British plants! I was also pleased at his remarks on
classification, because it showed me that I wrote truly on this subject
in the 'Origin.' I saw Bentham at the Linnean Society, and had some
talk with him and Lubbock, and Edgeworth, Wallich, and several others. I
asked Bentham to give us his ideas of species; whether partially with us
or dead against us, he would write EXCELLENT matter. He made no answer,
but his manner made me think he might do so if urged; so do you attack
him. Every one was speaking with affection and anxiety of Henslow.
(Prof. Henslow was in his last illness.) I dined with Bell at the
Linnean Club, and liked my dinner... Dining out is such a novelty to
me that I enjoyed it. Bell has a real good heart. I liked Rolleston's
paper, but I never read anything so obscure and not sel-evident as his
'Canons.' (George Rolleston, M.D., F.R.S., 1829-1881. Linacre Professor
of Anatomy and Physiology at Oxford. A man of much learning, who left
but few published works, among which may be mentioned his handbook
'Forms of Animal Life.' For the 'Canons,' see 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1861,
page 206.)... I called on R. Chambers, at his very nice house in St.
John's Wood, and had a very pleasant half-hour's talk; he is really a
capital fellow. He made one good remark and chuckled over it, that
the laymen universally had treated the controversy on the 'Essays and
Reviews' as a merely professional subject, and had not joined in it, but
had left it to the clergy. I shall be anxious for your next letter about
Henslow. (Sir Joseph Hooker was Prof. Henslow's son-in-law.) Farewell,
with sincere sympathy, my old friend,


P.S.--We are very much obliged for the 'London Review.' We like
reading much of it, and the science is incomparably better than in the
"Athenaeum". You shall not go on very long sending it, as you will be
ruined by pennies and trouble, but I am under a horrid spell to the
"Athenaeum" and the "Gardener's Chronicle", but I have taken them in for
so many years, that I CANNOT give them up.

[The next letter refers to Lyell's visit to the Biddenham gravel-pits
near Bedford in April 1861. The visit was made at the invitation of Mr.
James Wyatt, who had recently discovered two stone implements "at
the depth of thirteen feet from the surface of the soil," resting
"immediately on solid beds of oolitic-limestone." ('Antiquity of Man,'
fourth edition, page 214.) Here, says Sir C. Lyell, "I... for the first
time, saw evidence which satisfied me of the chronological relations of
those three phenomena--the antique tools, the extinct mammalia, and the
glacial formation."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, April 12 [1861].

My dear Lyell,

I have been most deeply interested by your letter. You seem to have done
the grandest work, and made the greatest step, of any one with respect
to man.

It is an especial relief to hear that you think the French superficial
deposits are deltoid and semi-marine; but two days ago I was saying to
a friend, that the unknown manner of the accumulation of these deposits,
seemed the great blot in all the work done. I could not stomach debacles
or lacustrine beds. It is grand. I remember Falconer told me that he
thought some of the remains in the Devonshire caverns were pre-glacial,
and this, I presume, is now your conclusion for the older celts with
hyena and hippopotamus. It is grand. What a fine long pedigree you have
given the human race!

I am sure I never thought of parallel roads having been accumulated
during subsidence. I think I see some difficulties on this view, though,
at first reading your note, I jumped at the idea. But I will think over
all I saw there. I am (stomacho volente) coming up to London on Tuesday
to work on cocks and hens, and on Wednesday morning, about a quarter
before ten, I will call on you (unless I hear to the contrary), for I
long to see you. I congratulate you on your grand work.

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--Tell Lady Lyell that I was unable to digest the funereal
ceremonies of the ants, notwithstanding that Erasmus has often told me
that I should find some day that they have their bishops. After a battle
I have always seen the ants carry away the dead for food. Ants display
the utmost economy, and always carry away a dead fellow-creature as
food. But I have just forwarded two most extraordinary letters to Busk,
from a backwoodsman in Texas, who has evidently watched ants carefully,
and declares most positively that they plant and cultivate a kind of
grass for store food, and plant other bushes for shelter! I do not
know what to think, except that the old gentleman is not fibbing
intentionally. I have left the responsibility with Busk whether or no to
read the letters. (I.e. to read them before the Linnean Society.)

in Edinburgh, May 17, 1817; died 1885. His researches were chiefly
connected with the sciences of geology and palaeontology, and
were directed especially to the elucidation of the characters,
classification, history, geological and geographical distribution
of recent and fossil Brachiopoda. On this subject he brought out an
important work, 'British Fossil Brachiopoda,' 5 vols. 4to. (Cooper, 'Men
of the Time,' 1884.)) Down, April 26, 1861.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will excuse me for venturing to make a suggestion to
you which I am perfectly well aware it is a very remote chance that you
would adopt. I do not know whether you have read my 'Origin of
Species'; in that book I have made the remark, which I apprehend will
be universally admitted, that AS A WHOLE, the fauna of any formation
is intermediate in character between that of the formations above and
below. But several really good judges have remarked to me how desirable
it would be that this should be exemplified and worked out in some
detail and with some single group of beings. Now every one will admit
that no one in the world could do this better than you with Brachiopods.
The result might turn out very unfavourable to the views which I
hold; if so, so much the better for those who are opposed to me. ("Mr.
Davidson is not at all a full believer in great changes of species,
which will make his work all the more valuable.--C. Darwin to R.
Chambers (April 30, 1861).) But I am inclined to suspect that on the
whole it would be favourable to the notion of descent with modification;
for about a year ago, Mr. Salter (John William Salter; 1820- 1869. He
entered the service of the Geological Survey in 1846, and ultimately
became its Palaeontologist, on the retirement of Edward Forbes, and
gave up the office in 1863. He was associated with several well-known
naturalists in their work--with Sedgwick, Murchison, Lyell, Ramsay,
and Huxley. There are sixty entries under his name in the Royal Society
Catalogue. The above facts are taken from an obituary notice of Mr.
Salter in the 'Geological Magazine,' 1869.) in the Museum in Jermyn
Street, glued on a board some Spirifers, etc., from three palaeozoic
stages, and arranged them in single and branching lines, with horizontal
lines marking the formations (like the diagram in my book, if you
know it), and the result seemed to me very striking, though I was too
ignorant fully to appreciate the lines of affinities. I longed to have
had these shells engraved, as arranged by Mr. Salter, and connected by
dotted lines, and would have gladly paid the expense: but I could not
persuade Mr. Salter to publish a little paper on the subject. I can
hardly doubt that many curious points would occur to any one thoroughly
instructed in the subject, who would consider a group of beings under
this point of view of descent with modification. All those forms which
have come down from an ancient period very slightly modified ought,
I think, to be omitted, and those forms alone considered which have
undergone considerable change at each successive epoch. My fear
is whether brachiopods have changed enough. The absolute amount of
difference of the forms in such groups at the opposite extremes of time
ought to be considered, and how far the early forms are intermediate in
character between those which appeared much later in time. The antiquity
of a group is not really diminished, as some seem vaguely to think,
because it has transmitted to the present day closely allied forms.
Another point is how far the succession of each genus is unbroken, from
the first time it appeared to its extinction, with due allowance made
for formations poor in fossils. I cannot but think that an important
essay (far more important than a hundred literary reviews) might be
written by one like yourself, and without very great labour. I know it
is highly probable that you may not have leisure, or not care for, or
dislike the subject, but I trust to your kindness to forgive me for
making this suggestion. If by any extraordinary good fortune you were
inclined to take up this notion, I would ask you to read my Chapter X.
on Geological Succession. And I should like in this case to be permitted
to send you a copy of the new edition, just published, in which I have
added and corrected somewhat in Chapters IX. and X.

Pray excuse this long letter, and believe me, My dear Sir, yours very
faithfully, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I write so bad a hand that I have had this note copied.


My dear Sir,

I thank you warmly for your letter; I did not in the least know that you
had attended to my work. I assure you that the attention which you have
paid to it, considering your knowledge and the philosophical tone of
your mind (for I well remember one remarkable letter you wrote to me,
and have looked through your various publications), I consider one
of the highest, perhaps the very highest, compliments which I have
received. I live so solitary a life that I do not often hear what goes
on, and I should much like to know in what work you have published some
remarks on my book. I take a deep interest in the subject, and I hope
not simply an egotistical interest; therefore you may believe how much
your letter has gratified me; I am perfectly contented if any one
will fairly consider the subject, whether or not he fully or only
very slightly agrees with me. Pray do not think that I feel the least
surprise at your demurring to a ready acceptance; in fact, I should
not much respect anyone's judgment who did so: that is, if I may judge
others from the long time which it has taken me to go round. Each stage
of belief cost me years. The difficulties are, as you say, many and very
great; but the more I reflect, the more they seem to me to be due to our
underestimating our ignorance. I belong so much to old times that I find
that I weigh the difficulties from the imperfection of the geological
record, heavier than some of the younger men. I find, to my astonishment
and joy, that such good men as Ramsay, Jukes, Geikie, and one old
worker, Lyell, do not think that I have in the least exaggerated the
imperfection of the record. (Professor Sedgwick treated this part of the
'Origin of Species' very differently, as might have been expected from
his vehement objection to Evolution in general. In the article in the
"Spectator" of March 24, 1860, already noticed, Sedgwick wrote: "We know
the complicated organic phenomena of the Mesozoic (or Oolitic) period.
It defies the transmutationist at every step. Oh! but the document, says
Darwin, is a fragment; I will interpolate long periods to account for
all the changes. I say, in reply, if you deny my conclusion, grounded
on positive evidence, I toss back your conclusion, derived from negative
evidence,--the inflated cushion on which you try to bolster up the
defects of your hypothesis." [The punctuation of the imaginary dialogue
is slightly altered from the original, which is obscure in one place.])
If my views ever are proved true, our current geological views will have
to be considerably modified. My greatest trouble is, not being able
to weigh the direct effects of the long-continued action of changed
conditions of life without any selection, with the action of selection
on mere accidental (so to speak) variability. I oscillate much on this
head, but generally return to my belief that the direct action of the
conditions of life has not been great. At least this direct action can
have played an extremely small part in producing all the numberless
and beautiful adaptations in every living creature. With respect to
a person's belief, what does rather surprise me is that any one (like
Carpenter) should be willing TO GO SO VERY FAR as to believe that all
birds may have descended from one parent, and not go a little farther
and include all the members of the same great division; for on such a
scale of belief, all the facts in Morphology and in Embryology (the
most important in my opinion of all subjects) become mere Divine
mockeries... I cannot express how profoundly glad I am that some day you
will publish your theoretical view on the modification and endurance of
Brachiopodous species; I am sure it will be a most valuable contribution
to knowledge.

Pray forgive this very egotistical letter, but you yourself are partly
to blame for having pleased me so much. I have told Murray to send a
copy of my new edition to you, and have written your name.

With cordial thanks, pray believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[In Mr. Davidson's Monograph on British Brachiopoda, published shortly
afterwards by the Palaeontographical Society, results such as my father
anticipated were to some extent obtained. "No less than fifteen commonly
received species are demonstrated by Mr. Davidson by the aid of a
long series of transitional forms to appertain to... one type." "Lyell,
'Antiquity of Man,' first edition, page 428.)

In the autumn of 1860, and the early part of 1861, my father had a good
deal of correspondence with Professor Asa Gray on a subject to which
reference has already been made--the publication in the form of a
pamphlet, of Professor Gray's three articles in the July, August,
and October numbers of the 'Atlantic Monthly,' 1860. The pamphlet was
published by Messrs. Trubner, with reference to whom my father wrote,
"Messrs. Trubner have been most liberal and kind, and say they shall
make no charge for all their trouble. I have settled about a few
advertisements, and they will gratuitously insert one in their own

The reader will find these articles republished in Dr. Gray's
'Darwiniana,' page 87, under the title "Natural Selection not
inconsistent with Natural Theology." The pamphlet found many admirers
among those most capable of judging of its merits, and my father
believed that it was of much value in lessening opposition, and making
converts to Evolution. His high opinion of it is shown not only in his
letters, but by the fact that he inserted a special notice of it in a
most prominent place in the third edition of the 'Origin.' Lyell, among
others, recognised its value as an antidote to the kind of criticism
from which the cause of Evolution suffered. Thus my father wrote to Dr.
Gray:--"Just to exemplify the use of your pamphlet, the Bishop of London
was asking Lyell what he thought of the review in the 'Quarterly,' and
Lyell answered, 'Read Asa Gray in the 'Atlantic.'". It comes out very
clearly that in the case of such publications as Dr. Gray's, my father
did not rejoice over the success of his special view of Evolution, viz.
that modification is mainly due to Natural Selection; on the contrary,
he felt strongly that the really important point was that the doctrine
of Descent should be accepted. Thus he wrote to Professor Gray (May 11,
1863), with reference to Lyell's 'Antiquity of Man':--

"You speak of Lyell as a judge; now what I complain of is that he
declines to be a judge... I have sometimes almost wished that Lyell had
pronounced against me. When I say 'me,' I only mean CHANGE OF SPECIES
BY DESCENT. That seems to me the turning-point. Personally, of course,
I care much about Natural Selection; but that seems to me utterly
unimportant, compared to the question of Creation OR Modification."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, April 11 [1861].

My dear Gray,

I was very glad to get your photograph: I am expecting mine, which I
will send off as soon as it comes. It is an ugly affair, and I fear the
fault does not lie with the photographer... Since writing last, I have
had several letters full of the highest commendation of your Essay; all
agree that it is by far the best thing written, and I do not doubt it
has done the 'Origin' much good. I have not yet heard how it has sold.
You will have seen a review in the "Gardeners' Chronicle". Poor dear
Henslow, to whom I owe much, is dying, and Hooker is with him. Many
thanks for two sets of sheets of your Proceedings. I cannot understand
what Agassiz is driving at. You once spoke, I think, of Professor Bowen
as a very clever man. I should have thought him a singularly unobservant
man from his writings. He never can have seen much of animals, or he
would have seen the difference of old and wise dogs and young ones.
His paper about hereditariness beats everything. Tell a breeder that
he might pick out his worst INDIVIDUAL animals and breed from them, and
hope to win a prize, and he would think you... insane.

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

My father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker on hearing of Henslow's death, "I
fully believe a better man never walked this earth."

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

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

"You will see that I have exceeded your request, but, as I said when
I began, I took pleasure in writing my impression of his admirable

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, June 5 [1861].

My dear Gray,

I have been rather extra busy, so have been slack in answering your note
of May 6th. I hope you have received long ago the third edition of the
'Origin.'... I have heard nothing from Trubner of the sale of your Essay,
hence fear it has not been great; I wrote to say you could supply
more. I send a copy to Sir J. Herschel, and in his new edition of his
'Physical Geography' he has a note on the 'Origin of Species,'
and agrees, to a certain limited extent, but puts in a caution on
design--much like yours... I have been led to think more on this subject
of late, and grieve to say that I come to differ more from you. It is
not that designed variation makes, as it seems to me, my deity "Natural
Selection" superfluous, but rather from studying, lately, domestic
variation, and seeing what an enormous field of undesigned variability
there is ready for natural selection to appropriate for any purpose
useful to each creature.

I thank you much for sending me your review of Phillips. ('Life on the
Earth,' 1860.) I remember once telling you a lot of trades which you
ought to have followed, but now I am convinced that you are a born
reviewer. By Jove, how well and often you hit the nail on the head! You
rank Phillips's book higher than I do, or than Lyell does, who thinks it
fearfully retrograde. I amused myself by parodying Phillips's argument
as applied to domestic variation; and you might thus prove that the
duck or pigeon has not varied because the goose has not, though more
anciently domesticated, and no good reason can be assigned why it has
not produced many varieties ...

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

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

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

HUGH FALCONER TO CHARLES 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 Columbidae--say a Pouter or a Tumbler.

My dear Darwin, I have been rambling through the north of Italy, and
Germany lately. Everywhere have I heard your views and your admirable
essay canvassed--the views of 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, H. FALCONER.


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, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. 2 Hesketh Crescent, Torquay, July 13

... I hope Harvey is better; I got his review (The 'Dublin Hospital
Gazette,' May 15, 1861. The passage referred to is at page 150.) of me
a day or two ago, from which I infer he must be convalescent; it's very
good and fair; but it is funny to see a man argue on the succession
of animals from Noah's Deluge; as God did not then wholly destroy man,
probably he did not wholly destroy the races of other animals at each
geological period! I never expected to have a helping hand from the Old

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. 2, Hesketh Crescent, Torquay, July 20

My dear Lyell,

I sent you two or three days ago a duplicate of a good review of the
'Origin' by a Mr. Maw (Mr. George Maw, of Benthall Hall. The review was
published in the 'Zoologist,' July, 1861. On the back of my father's
copy is written, "Must be consulted before new edit. of 'Origin'"--words
which are wanting on many more pretentious notices, on which frequently
occur my father's brief o/-, or "nothing new."), evidently a thoughtful
man, as I thought you might like to have it, as you have so many...

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

I saw Mr. Pengelly (William Pengelly, the geologist, and well-known
explorer of the Devonshire caves.) the other day, and was pleased at his
enthusiasm. I do not in the least know whether you are in London. Your
illness must have lost you much time, but I hope you have nearly got
your great job of the new edition finished. You must be very busy, if
in London, so I will be generous, and on honour bright do not expect any
answer to this dull little note...

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, September 17 [1861?].

My dear Gray,

I thank you sincerely for your very long and interesting letter,
political and scientific, of August 27th and 29th, and September 2nd
received this morning. I agree with much of what you say, and I hope
to God we English are utterly wrong in doubting (1) whether the N. can
conquer the S.; (2) whether the N. has many friends in the South, and
(3) whether you noble men of Massachusetts are right in transferring
your own good feelings to the men of Washington. Again I say I hope to
God we are wrong in doubting on these points. It is number (3) which
alone causes England not to be enthusiastic with you. What it may be in
Lancashire I know not, but in S. England cotton has nothing whatever
to do with our doubts. If abolition does follow with your victory, the
whole world will look brighter in my eyes, and in many eyes. It would be
a great gain even to stop the spread of slavery into the Territories;
if that be possible without abolition, which I should have doubted. You
ought not to wonder so much at England's coldness, when you recollect
at the commencement of the war how many propositions were made to get
things back to the old state with the old line of latitude, but enough
of this, all I can say is that Massachusetts and the adjoining States
have the full sympathy of every good man whom I see; and this sympathy
would be extended to the whole Federal States, if we could be persuaded
that your feelings were at all common to them. But enough of this. It
is out of my line, though I read every word of news, and formerly well
studied Olmsted...

Your question what would convince me of Design is a poser. If I saw an
angel come down to teach us good, and I was convinced from others
seeing him that I was not mad, I should believe in design. If I could be
convinced thoroughly that life and mind was in an unknown way a function
of other imponderable force, I should be convinced. If man was made of
brass or iron and no way connected with any other organism which had
ever lived, I should perhaps be 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 pre-ordained.

Farewell, my dear Gray, with many thanks for your interesting letter.

Your unmerciful correspondent. C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.W. BATES. Down, December 3 [1861].

My dear Sir,

I thank you for your extremely interesting letter, and valuable
references, though God knows when I shall come again to this part of
my subject. One cannot of course judge of style when one merely hears
a paper (On Mimetic Butterflies, read before the Linnean Soc., November
21, 1861. For my father's opinion of it when published, see below.), but
yours seemed to me very clear and good. Believe me that I estimate its
value most highly. Under a general point of view, I am quite convinced
(Hooker and Huxley took the same view some months ago) that a
philosophic view of nature can solely be driven into naturalists by
treating special subjects as you have done. Under a special point of
view, I think you have solved one of the most perplexing problems which
could be given to solve. I am glad to hear from Hooker that the Linnean
Society will give plates if you can get drawings...

Do not complain of want of advice during your travels; I dare say
part of your great originality of views may be due to the necessity of
sel-exertion of thought. I can understand that your reception at the
British Museum would damp you; they are a very good set of men, but not
the sort to appreciate your work. In fact I have long thought that TOO
MUCH systematic work [and] description somehow blunts the faculties. The
general public appreciates a good dose of reasoning, or generalisation,
with new and curious remarks on habits, final causes, etc. etc., far
more than do the regular naturalists.

I am extremely glad to hear that you have begun your travels... I am very
busy, but I shall be TRULY glad to render any aid which I can by reading
your first chapter or two. I do not think I shall be able to correct
style, for this reason, that after repeated trials I find I cannot
correct my own style till I see the MS. in type. Some are born with a
power of good writing, like Wallace; others like myself and Lyell have
to labour very hard and slowly at every sentence. I find it a very good
plan, when I cannot get a difficult discussion to please me, to fancy
that some one comes into the room and asks me what I am doing; and then
try at once and explain to the imaginary person what it is all about. I
have done this for one paragraph to myself several times, and sometimes
to Mrs. Darwin, till I see how the subject ought to go. It is, I think,
good to read one's MS. aloud. But style to me is a great difficulty;
yet some good judges think I have succeeded, and I say this to encourage

What I THINK I can do will be to tell you whether parts had better be
shortened. It is good, I think, to dash "in media res," and work in
later any descriptions of country or any historical details which may
be necessary. Murray likes lots of wood-cuts--give some by all means
of ants. The public appreciate monkeys--our poor cousins. What sexual
differences are there in monkeys? Have you kept them tame? if so, about
their expression. I fear that you will hardly read my vile hand-writing,
but I cannot without killing trouble write better.

You shall have my candid opinion on your MS., but remember it is hard to
judge from MS., one reads slowly, and heavy parts seem much heavier. A
first-rate judge thought my Journal very poor; now that it is in print,
I happen to know, he likes it. I am sure you will understand why I am so

I was a LITTLE disappointed in Wallace's book ('Travels on the Amazon
and Rio Negro,' 1853.) on the Amazon; hardly facts enough. On the other
hand, in Gosse's book (Probably the 'Naturalist's Sojourn in Jamaica,'
1851.) there is not reasoning enough to my taste. Heaven knows whether
you will care to read all this scribbling...

I am glad you had a pleasant day with Hooker (In a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker (December 1861), my father wrote: "I am very glad to hear that
you like Bates. I have seldom in my life been more struck with a man's
power of mind."), he is an admirably good man in every sense.

[The following extract from a letter to Mr. Bates on the same subject
is interesting as giving an idea of the plan followed by my father in
writing his 'Naturalist's Voyage:'

"As an old hackneyed author, let me give you a bit of advice, viz.
to strike out every word which is not quite necessary to the current
subject, and which could not interest a stranger. I constantly asked
myself, would a stranger care for this? and struck out or left in
accordingly. I think too much pains cannot be taken in making the style
transparently clear and throwing eloquence to the dogs."

Mr. Bates's book, 'The Naturalist on the Amazons,' was published in
1865, but the following letter may be given here rather than in its due
chronological position:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.W. BATES. Down, April 18, 1863.

Dear Bates,

I have finished volume 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. (In a letter to Lyell
my father wrote: "He [i.e. Mr. Bates] is second only to Humboldt in
describing a tropical forest.") It is a grand book, and whether or not
it sells quickly, it will last. You have spoken out boldly on
Species; and boldness on the subject seems to get rarer and rarer. How
beautifully illustrated it is. The cut on the back is most tasteful. I
heartily congratulate you on its publication.

The "Athenaeum" ("I have read the first volume of Bates's Book; it is
capital, and I think the best Natural History Travels ever published in
England. He is bold about Species, etc., and the "Athenaeum" coolly
says 'he bends his facts' for this purpose."--(From a letter to Sir J.D.
Hooker.)) was rather cold, as it always is, and insolent in the highest
degree about your leading facts. Have you seen the "Reader"? I can send
it to you if you have not seen it...

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, December 11 [1861].

My dear Gray,

Many and cordial thanks for your two last most valuable notes. What a
thing it is that when you receive this we may be at war, and we two be
bound, as good patriots, to hate each other, though I shall find this
hating you very hard work. How curious it is to see two countries, just
like two angry and silly men, taking so opposite a view of the same
transaction! I fear there is no shadow of doubt we shall fight if the
two Southern rogues are not given up. (The Confederate Commissioners
Slidell and Mason were forcibly removed from the "Trent", a West India
mail steamer on November 8, 1861. The news that the U.S. agreed to
release them reached England on January 8, 1862.) And what a wretched
thing it will be if we fight on the side of slavery. No doubt it will be
said that we fight to get cotton; but I fully believe that this has not
entered into the motive in the least. Well, thank Heaven, we private
individuals have nothing to do with so awful a responsibility. Again,
how curious it is that you seem to think that you can conquer the South;
and I never meet a soul, even those who would most wish it, who thinks
it possible--that is, to conquer and retain it. I do not suppose the
mass of people in your country will believe it, but I feel sure if we
do go to war it will be with the utmost reluctance by all classes,
Ministers of Government and all. Time will show, and it is no use
writing or thinking about it. I called the other day on Dr. Boott, and
was pleased to find him pretty well and cheerful. I see, by the way, he
takes quite an English opinion of American affairs, though an American
in heart. (Dr. Boott was born in the U.S.) Buckle might write a chapter
on opinion being entirely dependent on longitude!

... With respect to Design, I feel more inclined to show a white flag
than to fire my usual long-range shot. I like to try and ask you a
puzzling question, but when you return the compliment I have great
doubts whether it is a fair way of arguing. If anything is designed,
certainly man must be: one's "inner consciousness" (though a false
guide) tells one so; yet I cannot admit that man's rudimentary
mammae... were designed. If I was to say I believed this, I should
believe it in the same incredible manner as the orthodox believe the
Trinity in Unity. You say that you are in a haze; I am in thick mud; the
orthodox would say in fetid, abominable mud; yet I cannot keep out of
the question. My dear Gray, I have written a deal of nonsense.

Yours most cordially, C. DARWIN.


[Owing to the illness from scarlet fever of one of his boys, he took
a house at Bournemouth in the autumn. He wrote to Dr. Gray from
Southampton (August 21, 1862):--

"We are a wretched family, and ought to be exterminated. We slept here
to rest our poor boy on his journey to Bournemouth, and my poor dear
wife sickened with scarlet fever, and has had it pretty sharply, but is
recovering well. There is no end of trouble in this weary world. I shall
not feel safe till we are all at home together, and when that will be I
know not. But it is foolish complaining."

Dr. Gray used to send postage stamps to the scarlet fever patient; with
regard to this good-natured deed my father wrote--

"I must just recur to stamps; my little man has calculated that he
will now have 6 stamps which no other boy in the school has. Here is a
triumph. Your last letter was plaistered with many coloured stamps, and
he long surveyed the envelope in bed with much quiet satisfaction."

The greater number of the letters of 1862 deal with the Orchid work, but
the wave of conversion to Evolution was still spreading, and reviews and
letters bearing on the subject still came in numbers. As an example
of the odd letters he received may be mentioned one which arrived in
January of this year "from a German homoeopathic doctor, an ardent
admirer of the 'Origin.' Had himself published nearly the same sort of
book, but goes much deeper. Explains the origin of plants and animals on
the principles of homoeopathy or by the law of spirality. Book fell dead
in Germany. Therefore would I translate it and publish it in England."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, [January?] 14 [1862].

My dear Huxley,

I am heartily glad of your success in the North (This refers to two of
Mr. Huxley's lectures, given before the Philosophical Institution of
Edinburgh in 1862. The substance of them is given in 'Man's Place
in Nature.'), and thank you for your note and slip. By Jove you have
attacked Bigotry in its stronghold. I thought you would have been
mobbed. I am so glad that you will publish your Lectures. You seem
to have kept a due medium between extreme boldness and caution. I am
heartily glad that all went off so well. I hope Mrs. Huxley is pretty
well... I must say one word on the Hybrid question. No doubt you are
right that here is a great hiatus in the argument; yet I think you
overrate it--you never allude to the excellent evidence of VARIETIES of
Verbascum and Nicotiana being partially sterile together. It is curious
to me to read (as I have to-day) the greatest crossing GARDENER utterly
pooh-poohing the distinction which BOTANISTS make on this head, and
insisting how frequently crossed VARIETIES produce sterile offspring. Do
oblige me by reading the latter half of my Primula paper in the 'Linn.
Journal,' for it leads me to suspect that sterility will hereafter have
to be largely viewed as an acquired or SELECTED character--a view which
I wish I had had facts to maintain in the 'Origin.' (The view here given
will be discussed in the chapter on hetero-styled plants.)

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, January 25 [1862].

My dear Hooker,

Many thanks for your last Sunday's letter, which was one of the
pleasantest I ever received in my life. We are all pretty well
redivivus, and I am at work again. I thought it best to make a clean
breast to Asa Gray; and told him that the Boston dinner, etc. etc., had
quite turned my stomach, and that I almost thought it would be good for
the peace of the world if the United States were split up; on the
other hand, I said that I groaned to think of the slave-holders being
triumphant, and that the difficulties of making a line of separation
were fearful. I wonder what he will say... Your notion of the Aristocrat
being kenspeckle, and the best men of a good lot being thus easily
selected is new to me, and striking. The 'Origin' having made you in
fact a jolly old Tory, made us all laugh heartily. I have sometimes
speculated on this subject; primogeniture (My father had a strong
feeling as to the injustice of primogeniture, and in a similar spirit
was often indignant over the unfair wills that appear from time to time.
He would declare energetically that if he were law-giver no will should
be valid that was not published in the testator's lifetime; and this he
maintained would prevent much of the monstrous injustice and meanness
apparent in so many wills.) is dreadfully opposed to selection; suppose
the first-born bull was necessarily made by each farmer the begetter
of his stock! On the other hand, as you say, ablest men are continually
raised to the peerage, and get crossed with the older Lord-breeds, and
the Lords continually select the most beautiful and charming women out
of the lower ranks; so that a good deal of indirect selection improves
the Lords. Certainly I agree with you the present American row has
a very Torifying influence on us all. I am very glad to hear you are
beginning to print the 'Genera;' it is a wonderful satisfaction to be
thus brought to bed, indeed it is one's chief satisfaction, I think,
though one knows that another bantling will soon be developing...

CHARLES DARWIN TO MAXWELL MASTERS. (Dr. Masters is a well-known
vegetable teratologist, and has been for many years the editor of the
"Gardeners' Chronicle".) Down, February 26 [1862].

My dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for sending me your article (Refers to a paper
on "Vegetable Morphology," by Dr. Masters, in the 'British and Foreign
Medic-Chirurgical Review' for 1862), which I have just read with much
interest. The history, and a good deal besides, was quite new to me. It
seems to me capitally done, and so clearly written. You really ought to
write your larger work. You speak too generously of my book; but I must
confess that you have pleased me not a little; for no one, as far as I
know, has ever remarked on what I say on classification--a part, which
when I wrote it, pleased me. With many thanks to you for sending me your
article, pray believe me,

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, C. DARWIN.

[In the spring of this year (1862) my father read the second volume of
Buckle's 'History of Civilisation." The following strongly expressed
opinion about it may be worth quoting:--

"Have you read Buckle's second volume? It has interested me greatly;
I do not care whether his views are right or wrong, but I should think
they contained much truth. There is a noble love of advancement and
truth throughout; and to my taste he is the very best writer of the
English language that ever lived, let the other be who he may."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, March 15 [1862].

My dear Gray,

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

I believe that your pamphlet has done my book GREAT good; and I thank
you from my heart for myself; and believing that the views are in large
part true, I must think that you have done natural science a good turn.
Natural Selection seems to be making a little progress in England and
on the Continent; a new German edition is called for, and a French (In
June, 1862, my father wrote to Dr. Gray: "I received, 2 or 3 days ago, a
French translation of the 'Origin,' by a Madlle. Royer, who must be one
of the cleverest and oddest women in Europe: is an ardent Deist, and
hates Christianity, and declares that natural selection and the struggle
for life will explain all morality, nature of man, politics, etc. etc.!
She makes some very curious and good hits, and says she shall publish
a book on these subjects." Madlle. Royer added foot-notes to her
translation, and in many places where the author expresses great doubt,
she explains the difficulty, or points out that no real difficulty
exists.) one has just appeared. One of the best men, though at present
unknown, who has taken up these views, is Mr. Bates; pray read his
'Travels in Amazonia,' when they appear; they will be very good, judging
from MS. of the first two chapters.

... Again I say, do not hate me.

Ever yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. 1 Carlton Terrace, Southampton (The house of
his son William.), August 22, [1862].

... I heartily hope that you (I.e. 'The Antiquity of Man.') will be out
in October... you say that the Bishop and Owen will be down on you; the
latter hardly can, for I was assured that Owen in his Lectures this
spring advanced as a new idea that wingless birds had lost their wings
by disuse, also that magpies stole spoons, etc., from a REMNANT of
some instinct like that of the Bower-Bird, which ornaments its
playing-passage with pretty feathers. Indeed, I am told that he hinted
plainly that all birds are descended from one...

Your P.S. touches on, as it seems to me, very difficult points. I am
glad to see [that] in the 'Origin,' I only say that the naturalists
generally consider that low organisms vary more than high; and this I
think certainly is the general opinion. I put the statement this way to
show that I considered it only an opinion probably true. I must own that
I do not at all trust even Hooker's contrary opinion, as I feel pretty
sure that he has not tabulated any result. I have some materials at
home, I think I attempted to make this point out, but cannot remember
the result.

Mere variability, though the necessary foundation of all modifications,
I believe to be almost always present, enough to allow of any amount of
selected change; so that it does not seem to me at all incompatible
that a group which at any one period (or during all successive periods)
varies less, should in the long course of time have undergone more
modification than a group which is generally more variable.

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

I am surprised, but do not pretend to form an opinion at Hooker's
statement that higher species, genera, etc., are best limited. It seems
to me a bold statement.

Looking to the 'Origin,' I see that I state that the productions of the
land seem to change quicker than those of the sea (Chapter X., page 339,
3d edition), and I add there is some reason to believe that organisms
considered high in the scale change quicker than those that are low. I
remember writing these sentences after much deliberation... I remember
well feeling much hesitation about putting in even the guarded sentences
which I did. My doubts, I remember, related to the rate of change of
the Radiata in the Secondary formation, and of the Foraminifera in the
oldest Tertiary beds...

Good night, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, October 1 [1862].

... I found here (On his return from Bournemouth.) a short and very kind
note of Falconer, with some pages of his 'Elephant Memoir,' which will
be published, in which he treats admirably on long persistence of type.
I thought he was going to make a good and crushing attack on me, but
to my great satisfaction, he ends by pointing out a loophole, and
adds (Falconer, "On the American Fossil Elephant," in the 'Nat. Hist.
Review,' 1863, page 81. The words preceding those cited by my father
make the meaning of his quotation clearer. The passage begins as
follows: "The inferences which I draw from these facts are not opposed
to one of the leading propositions of Darwin's theory. With him," etc.
etc.) "with him I have no faith that the mammoth and other extinct
elephants made their appearance suddenly... The most rational view seems
to be that they are the modified descendants of earlier progenitors,
etc." This is capital. There will not be soon one good palaeontologist
who believes in immutability. Falconer does not allow for the
Proboscidean group being a failing one, and therefore not likely to be
giving off new races.

He adds that he does not think Natural Selection suffices. I do not
quite see the force of his argument, and he apparently overlooks that
I say over and over again that Natural Selection can do nothing without
variability, and that variability is subject to the most complex fixed

[In his letters to Sir J.D. Hooker, about the end of this year, are
occasional notes on the progress of the 'Variation of Animals and
Plants.' Thus on November 24th he wrote: "I hardly know why I am a
little sorry, but my present work is leading me to believe rather more
in the direct action of physical conditions. I presume I regret
it, because it lessens the glory of natural selection, and is so
confoundedly doubtful. Perhaps I shall change again when I get all my
facts under one point of view, and a pretty hard job this will be."

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, November 6 [1862].

My dear Gray,

When your note of October 4th and 13th (chiefly about Max Muller)
arrived, I was nearly at the end of the same book ('Lectures on the
Science of Language,' 1st edition 1861.), and had intended recommending
you to read it. I quite agree that it is extremely interesting, but
the latter part about the FIRST origin of language much the least
satisfactory. It is a marvellous problem...[There are] covert sneers at
me, which he seems to get the better of towards the close of the book.
I cannot quite see how it will forward "my cause," as you call it; but I
can see how any one with literary talent (I do not feel up to it) could
make great use of the subject in illustration. (Language was treated
in the manner here indicated by Sir C. Lyell in the 'Antiquity of
Man.' Also by Prof. Schleicher, whose pamphlet was fully noticed in the
"Reader", February 27, 1864 (as I learn from one of Prof. Huxley's 'Lay
Sermons').) What pretty metaphors you would make from it! I wish some
one would keep a lot of the most noisy monkeys, half free, and study
their means of communication!

A book has just appeared here which will, I suppose, make a noise, by
Bishop Colenso ('The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined,'
six parts, 1862-71.), who, judging from extracts, smashes most of the
Old testament. Talking of books, I am in the middle of one which pleases
me, though it is very innocent food, viz., Miss Coopers 'Journal of
a Naturalist.' Who is she? She seems a very clever woman, and gives a
capital account of the battle between OUR and YOUR weeds. Does it not
hurt your Yankee pride that we thrash you so confoundedly? I am sure
Mrs. Gray will stick up for your own weeds. Ask her whether they are not
more honest, downright good sort of weeds. The book gives an extremely
pretty picture of one of your villages; but I see your autumn, though
so much more gorgeous than ours, comes on sooner, and that is one

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.W. BATES. Down, November 20 [1862].

Dear Bates,

I have just finished, after several reads, your paper. (This refers
to Mr. Bates's paper, "Contributions to an Insect Fauna of the Amazons
Valley" ('Linn. Soc. Trans.' xxiii., 1862), in which the now familiar
subject of mimicry was founded. My father wrote a short review of it in
the 'Natural History Review,' 1863, page 219, parts of which occur in
this review almost verbatim in the later editions of the 'Origin of
Species.' A striking passage occurs 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 enquiry. 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? Prof. Agassiz,
indeed, would think nothing of this difficulty; for he believes that
not only each species and each variety, but that groups of individuals,
though identically the same, when inhabiting distinct countries, have
been all separately created in due proportional numbers to the wants
of each land. Not many naturalists will be content thus to believe that
varieties and individuals have been turned out all ready made, almost as
a manufacturer turns out toys according to the temporary demand of the
market.") 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 fully appreciate it. How gets on your book?
Keep your spirits up. A book is no light labour. I have been better
lately, and working hard, but my health is very indifferent. How is your
health? Believe me, dear Bates,

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.




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

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

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

"Dr. Brinton has been here (recommended by Busk); he does not believe my
brain or heart are primarily affected, but I have been so steadily going
down hill, I cannot help 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

The minor works in this year were a short paper in the 'Natural
History Review' (N.S. vol. iii. page 115), entitled "On the so-called
'Auditor-Sac' of Cirripedes," and one in the 'Geological Society's
Journal' (vol. xix), on the "Thickness of the Pampaean Formation
near Buenos Ayres." The paper on Cirripedes was called forth by
the criticisms of a German naturalist Krohn (Krohn stated that the
structures described by my father as ovaries were in reality salivary
glands, also that the oviduct runs down to the orifice described in the
'Monograph of the Cirripedia' as the auditory meatus.), and is of some
interest in illustration of my father's readiness to admit an error.

With regard to the spread of a belief in Evolution, it could not yet be
said that the battle was won, but the growth of belief was undoubtedly
rapid. So that, for instance, Charles Kingsley could write to F.D.
Maurice (Kingsley's 'Life,' ii, page 171.):

"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

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 pence each, under
the title, 'Our Knowledge of the Causes of Organic Nature.' When
published they were read with interest by my father, who thus refers to
them in a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I am very glad you like Huxley's lectures. I have been very much
struck with them, especially with the 'Philosophy of Induction.' I have
quarrelled with him for overdoing sterility and ignoring cases from
Gartner and Kolreuter about sterile varieties. His Geology is obscure;
and I rather doubt about man's mind and language. But it seems to
me ADMIRABLY done, and, as you say, "Oh my," about the praise of the
'Origin.' I can't help liking it, which makes me rather ashamed of

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. November 5 [1864].

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

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

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

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

My dear Huxley, Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

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

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

The series of letters will continue the history of the year 1863.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, January 3 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I am burning with indignation and must exhale... I could not get to sleep
till past 3 last night for indignation (It would serve no useful purpose
if I were to go into the matter which so strongly roused my father's
anger. It was a question of literary dishonesty, in which a friend was
the sufferer, but which in no way affected himself.)...

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

... Notwithstanding the very pleasant reason you give for our not
enjoying a holiday, namely, that we have no vices, it is a horrid bore.
I have been trying for health's sake to be idle, with no success. What I
shall now have to do, will be to erect a tablet in Down Church, "Sacred
to the Memory, etc.," and officially die, and then publish books, "by
the late Charles Darwin," for I cannot think what has come over me of
late; I always suffered from the excitement of talking, but now it has
become ludicrous. I talked lately 1 1/2 hours (broken by tea by myself)
with my nephew, and I was [ill] half the night. It is a fearful evil for
self and family.

Good-night. Ever yours. C. DARWIN.

[The following letter to Sir Julius von Haast (Sir Julius von Haast was
a German by birth, but had long been resident in New Zealand. He was,
in 1862, Government Geologist to the Province of Canterbury.), is an
example of the sympathy which he felt with the spread and growth of
science in the colonies. It was a feeling not expressed once only, but
was frequently present in his mind, and often found utterance. When we,
at Cambridge, had the satisfaction of receiving Sir J. von Haast into
our body as a Doctor of Science (July 1886), I had the opportunity of
hearing from him of the vivid pleasure which this, and other letters
from my father, gave him. It was pleasant to see how strong had been
the impression made by my father's warm-hearted sympathy--an impression
which seemed, after more than twenty years, to be as fresh as when it
was first received:]


Dear Sir,

I thank you most sincerely for sending me your Address and the
Geological Report. (Address to the 'Philosophical Institute of
Canterbury (N.Z.).' The "Report" is given in "The New Zealand Government
Gazette, Province of Canterbury", October 1862.) I have seldom in my
life read anything more spirited and interesting than your address. The
progress of your colony makes one proud, and it is really admirable to
see a scientific institution founded in so young a nation. I thank
you for the very honourable notice of my 'Origin of Species.' You will
easily believe how much I have been interested by your striking facts
on the old glacial period, and I suppose the world might be searched in
vain for so grand a display of terraces. You have, indeed, a noble
field for scientific research and discovery. I have been extremely
much interested by what you say about the tracks of supposed [living]
mammalia. Might I ask, if you succeed in discovering what the creatures
are, you would have the great kindness to inform me? Perhaps they may
turn out something like the Solenhofen bird creature, with its long
tail and fingers, with claws to its wings! I may mention that in South
America, in completely uninhabited regions, I found spring rat-traps,
baited with CHEESE, were very successful in catching the smaller
mammals. I would venture to suggest to you to urge on some of the
capable members of your institution to observe annually the rate and
manner of spreading of European weeds and insects, and especially to
observe WHAT NATIVE PLANTS MOST FAIL; this latter point has never been
attended to. Do the introduced hive-bees replace any other insect? etc.
All such points are, in my opinion, great desiderata in science. What an
interesting discovery that of the remains of prehistoric man!

Believe me, dear Sir, With the most cordial respect and thanks, Yours
very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO CAMILLE DARESTE. (Professor Dareste is a well-known
worker in Animal Teratology. He was in 1863 living at Lille, but has
since then been called to Paris. My father took a special interest in
Dareste's work on the production of monsters, as bearing on the causes
of variation.) Down, February 16 [1863].

Dear and respected Sir,

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

Yours faithfully and obliged, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 24 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I am astonished at your note, I have not seen the "Athenaeum" (In the
'Antiquity of Man,' first edition, page 480, Lyell criticised somewhat
severely Owen's account of the difference between the Human and Simian
brains. The number of the "Athenaeum" here referred to (1863, page 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. Prof. Huxley ("Medical Times", October 25,
1862, quoted in 'Man's Place in Nature,' page 117) spoke of the "two
years during which this preposterous controversy has dragged its weary
length." And this no doubt expressed a very general feeling.) 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 certainty
struck me as a compilation, but of the highest class, for when possible
the facts have been verified on the spot, making it almost an original
work. The Glacial chapters seem to me best, and in parts magnificent. I
could hardly judge about Man, as all the gloss of novelty was 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 (The italics are not
Lyell's.) be rendered highly probable that species change by variation
and natural selection," etc., etc. I had hoped he would have guided the
public as far as his own belief went... One thing does please me on this
subject, that he seems to appreciate your work. No doubt the public or a
part may be induced to think that as he gives to us a larger space than
to Lamarck, he must think there is something in our 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!) I have taken you
at your word, and scribbled at great length. If I get the "Athenaeum"
to-morrow, I will add my impression of Owen's letter.

... The Lyells are coming here on Sunday evening to stay till Wednesday.
I dread it, but I must say how much disappointed I am that he has not
spoken out on species, still less on man. And the best of the joke is
that he thinks he has acted with the courage of a martyr of old. I
hope I may have taken an exaggerated view of his timidity, and shall
PARTICULARLY be glad of your opinion on this head. (On this subject
my father wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker: "Cordial thanks for your deeply
interesting letters about Lyell, Owen, and Co. I cannot say how glad
I am to hear that I have not been unjust about the species-question
towards Lyell. I feared I had been unreasonable.") 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


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

... Lyell's memory plays him false when he says all anatomists were
astonished at Owen's paper ("On the Characters, etc., of the Class
Mammalia." 'Linn. Soc. Journal,' ii, 1858.); it was often quoted
with approbation. I WELL remember Lyell's admiration at this new
classification! (Do not repeat this.) I remember it, because, though
I knew nothing whatever about the brain, I felt a conviction that a
classification thus founded on a single character would break down,
and it seemed to me a great error not to separate more completely the

What an accursed evil it is that there should be all this quarrelling
within, what ought to be, the peaceful realms of science. I will go
to my own present subject of inheritance and forget it all for a time.
Farewell, my dear old friend,


CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, February 23 [1863].

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

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

I read Cairns's excellent Lecture (Prof. J.E. Cairns, 'The Slave Power,
etc.: an attempt to explain the real issues involved in the American
contest.' 1862.), which shows so well how your quarrel arose from
Slavery. It made me for a time wish honestly for the North; but I could
never help, though I tried, all the time thinking how we should be
bullied and forced into a war by you, when you were triumphant. But I do
most truly think it dreadful that the South, with its accursed slavery,
should triumph, and spread the evil. I think if I had power, which thank
God, I have not, I would let you conquer the border States, and all west
of the Mississippi, and then force you to acknowledge the cotton States.
For do you not now begin to doubt whether you can conquer and hold them?
I have inflicted a long tirade on you.

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

Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, March 6, [1863].

... I have been of course deeply interested by your book. ('Antiquity
of Man.') 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.

(After speculating on the sudden appearance of individuals far above the
average of the human race, Lyell asks if such leaps upwards in the
scale of intellect may not "have cleared at one bound the space which
separated the higher stage of the unprogressive intelligence of the
inferior animals from the first and lowest form of improvable reason
manifested by man.") page 505--A sentence at the top of the page makes
me groan...

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

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

[Mr. Huxley has quoted (vol. i. page 546) some passages from Lyell's
letters which show his state of mind at this time. The following
passage, from a letter of March 11th to my father, is also of much

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, 12 [March, 1863].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you for your very interesting and kind, I may say, charming
letter. I feared you might be huffed for a little time with me. I know
some men would have been so. I have hardly any more criticisms, anyhow,
worth writing. But I may mention that I felt a little surprise that
old B. de Perthes (1788-1868. See footnote below.) was not rather more
honourably mentioned. I would suggest whether you could not leave out
some references to the 'Principles;' one for the real student is as
good as a hundred, and it is rather irritating, and gives a feeling
of incompleteness to the general reader to be often referred to other
books. As you say that you have gone as far as you believe on the
species question, I have not a word to say; but I must feel convinced
that at times, judging from conversation, expressions, letters, etc.,
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 (pages 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 views that if species were not created separately
they must have descended from other species, and I can see nothing
else in common between the 'Origin' and Lamarck. I believe this way
of putting the case is very injurious to its acceptance, as it implies
necessary progression, and closely connects Wallace's and my views with
what I consider, after two deliberate readings, as a wretched book, and
one from which (I well remember my surprise) I gained nothing. But I
know you rank it higher, which is curious, as it did not in the least
shake your belief. But enough, and more than enough. Please remember you
have brought it all down on yourself!!!

I am very sorry to hear about Falconer's "reclamation." ("Falconer, whom
I referred to oftener than to any other author, says I have not done
justice to the part he took in resuscitating the cave 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. page 364.) I hate the
very word, and have a sincere affection for him.

Did you ever read anything so wretched as the "Athenaeum" reviews of
you, and of Huxley ('Man's Place in Nature,' 1863.) especially. Your
OBJECT to make man old, and Huxley's OBJECT to degrade him. The wretched
writer has not a glimpse what the discovery of scientific truth means.
How splendid some pages are in Huxley, but I fear the book will not be

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [March 13, 1863].

I should have thanked you sooner for the "Athenaeum" and very pleasant
previous note, but I have been busy, and not a little uncomfortable from
frequent uneasy feeling of fullness, slight pain and tickling about
the heart. But as I have no other symptoms of heart complaint I do not
suppose it is affected... I have had a most kind and delightfully candid
letter from Lyell, who says he spoke out as far as he believes. I have
no doubt his belief failed him as he wrote, for I feel sure that at
times he no more believed in Creation than you or I. I have grumbled a
bit in my answer to him at his ALWAYS classing my work as a modification
of Lamarck's, which it is no more than any author who did not believe in
immutability of species, and did believe in descent. I am very sorry to
hear from Lyell that Falconer is going to publish a formal reclamation
of his own claims...

It is cruel to think of it, but we must go to Malvern in the middle of
April; it is ruin to me. (He went to Hartfield in Sussex, on April 27,
and to Malvern in the autumn.)...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, March 17 [1863].

My dear Lyell,

I have been much interested by your letters and enclosure, and thank you
sincerely for giving me so much time when you must be so busy. What a
curious letter from B. de P. [Boucher de Perthes]. He seems perfectly
satisfied, and must be a very amiable man. I know something about his
errors, and looked at his book many years ago, and am ashamed to
think that I concluded the whole was rubbish! Yet he has done for
man something like what Agassiz did for glaciers. (In his 'Antiquites
Celtiques' (1847), Boucher de Perthes described the flint tools found
at Abbeville with bones of rhinoceros, hyaena, etc. "But the scientific
world had no faith in the statement that works of art, however rude,
had been met with in undisturbed beds of such antiquity." ('Antiquity of
Man,' first edition, page 95).)

I cannot say that I agree with Hooker about the public not liking to
be told what to conclude, IF COMING FROM ONE IN YOUR POSITION. But I am
heartily sorry that I was led to make complaints, or something very like
complaints, on the manner in which you have treated the subject, and
still more so anything about myself. I steadily ENDEAVOUR never to
forget my firm belief that no one can at all judge about his own work.
As for Lamarck, as you have such a man as Grove with you, you are
triumphant; not that I can alter my opinion that to me it was an
absolutely useless book. Perhaps this was owing to my always searching
books for facts, perhaps from knowing my grandfather's earlier and
identically the same speculation. I will only further say that if I can
analyse my own feelings (a very doubtful process), it is nearly as much
for your sake as for my own, that I so much wish that your state of
belief could have permitted you to say boldly and distinctly out that
species were not separately created. I have generally told you the
progress of opinion, as I have heard it, on the species question. A
first-rate German naturalist (No doubt Haeckel, whose monograph on the
Radiolaria was published in 1862. In the same year Professor W. Preyer
of Jena published a dissertation on Alca impennis, which was one of
the earliest pieces of special work on the basis of the 'Origin of
Species.') (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 palaeontologist (name
forgotten) (The Marquis de Saporta.), 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 lifetimes. The
entomologists are enough to keep the subject back for half a century. I
really pity your having to balance the claims of so many eager aspirants
for notice; it is clearly impossible to satisfy all... Certainly I was
struck with the full and due honour you conferred on Falconer. I have
just had a note from Hooker... I am heartily glad that you have made him
so conspicuous; he is so honest, so candid, and so modest...

I have read --. I could find nothing to lay hold of, which in one sense
I am very glad of, as I should hate a controversy; but in another
sense I am very sorry for, as I long to be in the same boat with all my
friends... I am heartily glad the book is going off so well.

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [March 29, 1863].

... Many thanks for "Athenaeum", received this morning, and to be
returned to-morrow morning. Who would have ever thought of the old
stupid "Athenaeum" taking to Oken-like transcendental philosophy
written in Owenian style! (This refers to a review of Dr. Carpenter's
'Introduction to the study of Foraminifera,' that appeared in the
"Athenaeum" of March 28, 1863 (page 417). The reviewer attacks Dr.
Carpenter's views in as much as they support the doctrine of Descent;
and he upholds spontaneous generation (Heterogeny) in place of what Dr.
Carpenter, naturally enough, believed in, viz. the genetic connection of
living and extinct Foraminifera. In the next number is a letter by Dr.
Carpenter, which chiefly consists of a protest against the reviewer's
somewhat contemptuous classification of Dr. Carpenter and my father
as disciple and master. In the course of the letter Dr. Carpenter
says--page 461:--

"Under the influence of his foregone conclusion that I have accepted
Mr. Darwin as my master, and his hypothesis as my guide, your reviewer
represents me as blind to the significance of the general fact stated by
me, that 'there has been no advance in the foraminiferous type from
the palaeozoic period to the present time.' But for such a foregone
conclusion he would have recognised in this statement the expression of
my conviction that the present state of scientific evidence, instead of
sanctioning the idea that the descendants of the primitive type or
types of Foraminifera can ever rise to any higher grade, justifies the
ANTI-DARWINIAN influence, that however widely they diverge from each
other and from their originals, THEY STILL REMAIN FORAMINIFERA.")... It
will be some time before we see "slime, protoplasm, etc.," generating a
new animal. (On the same subject my father wrote in 1871: "It is often
said that all the conditions for the first production of a living
organism are now present, which could ever have been present. But if
(and oh! what a big if!) we could conceive in some warm little
pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat,
electricity, etc., present, that a proteine compound was chemically
formed ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day
such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not
have been the case before living creatures were formed.") But I
have long regretted that I truckled to public opinion, and used the
Pentateuchal term of creation (This refers to a passage in which the
reviewer of Dr. Carpenter's books speaks of "an operation of force," or
"a concurrence of forces which have now no place in nature," as
being, "a 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.), 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.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, Friday night [April 17, 1863].

My dear Hooker,

I have heard from Oliver that you will be now at Kew, and so I am going
to amuse myself by scribbling a bit. I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed
your tour. I never in my life saw anything like the spring flowers this
year. What a lot of interesting things have been lately published.
I liked extremely your review of De Candolle. What an awfully severe
article that by Falconer on Lyell ("Athenaeum", April 4, 1863, page 459.
The writer asserts that justice has not been done either to himself
or Mr. Prestwich--that Lyell has not made it clear that it was their
original work which supplied certain material for the 'Antiquity
of Man.' Falconer attempts to draw an unjust distinction between a
"philosopher" (here used as a polite word for compiler) like Sir Charles
Lyell, and original observers, presumably such as himself, and Mr.
Prestwich. Lyell's reply was published in the "Athenaeum", April
18, 1863. It ought to be mentioned that a letter from Mr. Prestwich
("Athenaeum", page 555), which formed part of the controversy, though of
the nature of a reclamation, was written in a very different spirit and
tone from Dr. Falconer's.); I am very sorry for it; I think Falconer on
his side does not do justice to old Perthes and Schmerling... I shall
be very curious to see how he [Lyell] answers it t-morrow. (I have been
compelled to take in the "Athenaeum" for a while.) I am very sorry that
Falconer should have written so spitefully, even if there is some truth
in his accusations; I was rather disappointed in Carpenter's letter, no
one could have given a better answer, but the chief object of his letter
seems to me to be to show that though he has touched pitch he is not
defiled. No one would suppose he went so far as to believe all birds
came from one progenitor. I have written a letter to the "Athenaeum"
("Athenaeum", 1863, page 554: "The view given by me on the origin or
derivation of species, whatever its weaknesses may be, connects (as has
been candidly admitted by some of its opponents, such as Pictet, Bronn,
etc.), by an intelligible thread of reasoning, a multitude of facts:
such as the formation of domestic races by man's selection,--the
classification and affinities of all organic beings,--the innumerable
gradations in structure and instincts,--the similarity of pattern in the
hand, wing, or paddle of animals of the same great class,--the existence
of organs become rudimentary by disuse,--the similarity of an embryonic
reptile, bird, and mammal, with the retention of traces of an apparatus
fitted for aquatic respiration; the retention in the young calf of
incisor teeth in the upper jaw, etc.--the distribution of animals and
plants, and their mutual affinities within the same region,--their
general geological succession, and the close relationship of the fossils
in closely consecutive formations and within the same country;
extinct marsupials having preceded living marsupials in Australia, and
armadillo-like animals having preceded and generated armadilloes in
South America,--and many other phenomena, such as the gradual extinction
of old forms and their gradual replacement by new forms better fitted
for their new conditions in the struggle for life. When the advocate of
Heterogeny can thus connect large classes of facts, and not until then,
he will have respectful and patient listeners.") (the first and last
time I shall take such a step) to say, under the cloak of attacking
Heterogeny, a word in my own defence. My letter is to appear next week,
so the Editor says; and I mean to quote Lyell's sentence (See the next
letter.) in his second edition, on the principle if one puffs oneself,
one had better puff handsomely...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, April 18 [1863].

My dear Lyell,

I was really quite sorry that you had sent me a second copy (The second
edition of the 'Antiquity of Man' was published a few months after the
first had appeared.) of your valuable book. But after a few hours
my sorrow vanished for this reason: I have written a letter to the
"Athenaeum", in order, under the cloak of attacking the monstrous
article on Heterogeny, to say a word for myself in answer to Carpenter,
and now I have inserted a few sentences in allusion to your analogous
objection (Lyell objected that the mammalia (e.g. bats and seals) which
alone have been able to reach oceanic islands ought to have become
modified into various terrestrial forms fitted to fill various places
in their new home. My father pointed out in the "Athenaeum" that Sir
Charles has in some measure answered his own objection, and went on to
quote the "amended sentence" ('Antiquity of Man,' 2nd Edition page
469) as showing how far Lyell agreed with the general doctrines of
the "Origin of Species': "Yet we ought by no means to undervalue the
importance of the step which will have been made, should it hereafter
become the generally received opinion of men of science (as I fully
expect it will) that the past changes of the organic world have been
brought about by the subordinate agency of such causes as Variation and
Natural Selection." In the first edition the words (as I fully expect
it will," do not occur.) about bats on islands, and then with infinite
slyness have quoted your amended sentence, with your parenthesis ("as
I fully believe") (My father here quotes Lyell incorrectly; see the
previous foot-note.); I do not think you can be annoyed at my doing
this, and you see, that I am determined as far as I can, that the public
shall see how far you go. This is the first time I have ever said a word
for myself in any journal, and it shall, I think, be the last. My
letter is short, and no great things. I was extremely concerned to see
Falconer's disrespectful and virulent letter. I like extremely your
answer just read; you take a lofty and dignified position, to which you
are so well entitled. (In a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker he wrote: "I
much like Lyell's letter. But all this squabbling will greatly sink
scientific men. I have seen sneers already in the 'Times'.")

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

[In reply to the above-mentioned letter of my father's to the
"Athenaeum", an article appeared in that Journal (May 2nd, 1863, page
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, etc. The writer remarks that, "The different
generalizations cited by Mr. Darwin as being connected by an
intelligible thread of reasoning exclusively through his attempt to
explain specific transmutation are in fact related to it in this wise,
that they have prepared the minds of naturalists for a better reception
of such attempts to explain the way of the origin of species from

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

Down, May 5 [1863].

I hope that you will grant me space to own that your reviewer is quite
correct when he states that any theory of descent will connect, "by an
intelligible thread of reasoning," the several generalizations before
specified. I ought to have made this admission expressly; with the
reservation, however, that, as far as I can judge, no theory so well
explains or connects these several generalizations (more especially
the formation of domestic races in comparison with natural species,
the principles of classification, embryonic resemblance, etc.) as the
theory, or hypothesis, or guess, if the reviewer so likes to call it, of
Natural Selection. Nor has any other satisfactory explanation been ever
offered of the almost perfect adaptation of all organic beings to each
other, and to their physical conditions of life. Whether the naturalist
believes in the views given by Lamarck, by Geoffrey St. Hilaire, by the
author of the 'Vestiges,' by Mr. Wallace and myself, or in any other
such view, signifies extremely little in comparison with the admission
that species have descended from other species, and have not been
created immutable; for he who admits this as a great truth has a wide
field opened to him for further inquiry. I believe, however, from what
I see of the progress of opinion on the Continent, and in this country,
that the theory of Natural Selection will ultimately be adopted, with,
no doubt, many subordinate modifications and improvements.


[In the following, he refers to the above letter to the "Athenaeum:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Leith Hill Place, Saturday [May 11,

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" ("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."); 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. I have
been drawing diagrams, dissecting shoots, and muddling my brains to
a hopeless degree about the divergence of leaves, and have of course
utterly failed. But I can see that the subject is most curious, and
indeed astonishing...

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

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO G. BENTHAM. Down, May 22 [1863].

My dear Bentham,

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

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

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO G. BENTHAM. Down, June 19 [1863].

My dear Bentham,

I have been extremely much pleased and interested by your address,
which you kindly sent me. It seems to be excellently done, with as much
judicial calmness and impartiality as the Lord Chancellor could have
shown. But whether the "immutable" gentlemen would agree with the
impartiality may be doubted, there is too much kindness shown towards
me, Hooker, and others, they might say. Moreover I verily believe that
your address, written as it is, will do more to shake the unshaken and
bring on those leaning to our side, than anything written directly in
favour of transmutation. I can hardly tell why it is, but your address
has pleased me as much as Lyell's book disappointed me, that is, the
part on species, though so cleverly written. I agree with all your
remarks on the reviewers. By the way, Lecoq (Author of 'Geographie
Botanique.' 9 vols. 1854-58.) is a believer in the change of species. I,
for one, can conscientiously declare that I never feel surprised at
any one sticking to the belief of immutability; though I am often not a
little surprised at the arguments advanced on this side. I remember too
well my endless oscillations of doubt and difficulty. It is to me really
laughable when I think of the years which elapsed before I saw what I
believe to be the explanation of some parts of the case; I believe it
was fifteen years after I began before I saw the meaning and cause of
the divergence of the descendants of any one pair. You pay me some most
elegant and pleasing compliments. There is much in your address which
has pleased me much, especially your remarks on various naturalists. I
am so glad that you have alluded so honourably to Pasteur. I have just
read over this note; it does not express strongly enough the interest
which I have felt in reading your address. You have done, I believe, a
real good turn to the RIGHT SIDE. Believe me, dear Bentham,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


[In my father's diary for 1864 is the entry, "Ill all January, February,
March." About the middle of April (seven months after the beginning
of the illness in the previous autumn) his health took a turn for the
better. As soon as he was able to do any work, he began to write his
papers on Lythrum, and on Climbing Plants, so that the work which now
concerns us did not begin until September, when he again set to work on
'Animals and Plants.' A letter to Sir J.D. Hooker gives some account of
the r-commencement of the work: "I have begun looking over my old MS.,
and it is as fresh as if I had never written it; parts are 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 this year 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 (November 30),
the medalist being usually present to receive it, but this the state of
my father's health prevented. He wrote to Mr. Fox on this subject:--

"I was glad to see your hand-writing. The Copley, 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

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

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

He wrote to Mr. Huxley:--

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

Sir Charles Lyell, writing to my father in November 1864 ('Life,' vol.
ii. page 384), speaks of the supposed malcontents as being afraid to
crown anything so unorthodox as the 'Origin.' But he adds that if such
were their feelings "they had the good sense to draw in their horns."
It appears, however, from the same letter, that the proposal to give the
Copley Medal to my father in the previous year failed owing to a similar
want of courage--to Lyell's great indignation.

In the "Reader", December 3, 1864, General Sabine's 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' is praised chiefly as containing "a mass of
observations," etc. It is curious that as in the case of his election
to the French Institution, so in this case, he was honoured not for
the great work of his life, but for his less important work in special
lines. The paragraph in General Sabine's address which refers to the
'Origin of Species,' is as follows:--

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

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

The presentation of the Copley Medal is of interest in another way,
inasmuch as it led to Sir C. Lyell making, in his after-dinner speech, a
"confession of faith as to the 'Origin.'" He wrote to my father ('Life,'
vol. ii. page 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."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, October 3 [1864].

My dear Huxley,

If I do not pour out my admiration of your article ("Criticisms on
the Origin of Species," 'Nat. Hist. Review,' 1864. Republished in 'Lay
Sermons,' 1870, page 328. The work of Professor Kolliker referred to
is 'Ueber die Darwin'sche Schopfungstheorie' (Leipzig, 1864). Toward
Professor Kolliker my father felt not only the respect due to so
distinguished a naturalist (a sentiment well expressed in Professor
Huxley's review), but he had also a personal regard for him, and often
alluded with satisfaction to the visit which Professor Kolliker paid at
Down.) on Kolliker, I shall explode. I never read anything better done.
I had much wished his article answered, and indeed thought of doing so
myself, so that I considered several points. You have hit on all, and on
some in addition, and oh! by Jove, how well you have done it. As I read
on and came to point after point on which I had thought, I could not
help jeering and scoffing at myself, to see how infinitely better you
had done it than I could have done. Well, if any one, who does not
understand Natural Selection, will read this, he will be a blockhead
if it is not as clear as daylight. Old Flourens ('Examen du livre de M.
Darwin sur l'origine des especes.' Par P. Flourens. 8vo. Paris, 1864.)
was hardly worth the powder and shot; but how capitally you bring in
about the Academician, and your metaphor of the sea-sand is INIMITABLE.

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

[In the same article in the 'Natural History Review,' Mr. Huxley speaks
of the book above alluded to by Flourens, the Secretaire Perpetuel of
the Academie des Sciences, as one of the two "most elaborate criticisms"
of the 'Origin of Species' of the year. He quotes the following

"M. Darwin continue: 'Aucune distinction absolue n'a ete et ne peut etre
entre les especes et les varietes!' Je vous ai deja dit que vous
vous trompiez; une distinction absolue separe les varietes d'avec les
especes." Mr. Huxley remarks on this, "Being devoid of the blessings of
an 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 page 65 'Je
laisse M. Darwin.'"

On the same subject my father wrote to Mr. Wallace:--

"A great gun, Flourens, has written a little dull book against me which
pleases me much, for it is plain that our good work is spreading in
France. He speaks of the "engouement" about this book [the 'Origin'] "so
full of empty and presumptuous thoughts." The passage here alluded to is
as follows:--

"Enfin l'ouvrage de M. Darwin a paru. On ne peut qu'etre frappe du
talent de l'auteur. Mais que d'idees obscures, que d'idees fausses! Quel
jargon metaphysique jete mal a propos dans l'histoire naturelle, qui
tombe dans le galimatias des qu'elle sort des idees claires, des idees
justes. Quel langage pretentieux et vide! Quelles personifications
pueriles et surannees! O lucidite! O solidite de l'esprit francais, que


[This was again a time of much ill-health, but towards the close of the
year he began to recover under the care of the late Dr. Bence-Jones,
who dieted him severely, and as he expressed it, "half-starved him to
death." He was able to work at 'Animals and Plants' until nearly the end
of April, and from that time until December he did practically no work,
with the exception of looking over the 'Origin of Species' for a second
French edition. He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--"I am, as it were, reading
the 'Origin' for the first time, for I am correcting for a second French
edition: and upon my life, my dear fellow, it is a very good book, but
oh! my gracious, it is tough reading, and I wish it were done." (Towards
the end of the year my father received the news of a new convert to
his views, in the person of the distinguished American naturalist
Lesquereux. He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker: "I have had an enormous letter
from Leo Lesquereux (after doubts, I did not think it worth sending you)
on Coal Flora. He wrote some excellent articles in 'Silliman' against
'Origin' views; but he says now, after repeated reading of the book, he
is a convert!")

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, January 22, [1865].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you for your very interesting letter. I have the true English
instinctive reverence for rank, and therefore liked to hear about the
Princess Royal. ("I had... an animated conversation on Darwinism with the
Princess Royal, who is a worthy daughter of her father, in the reading
of good books, and thinking of what she reads. She was very much au fait
at the 'Origin,' and Huxley's book, the 'Antiquity,' etc."--(Lyell's
'Life,' vol. ii. page 385.) You ask what I think of the Duke's address,
and I shall be glad to tell you. It seems to me EXTREMELY clever, like
everything I have read of his; but I am not shaken--perhaps you will
say that neither gods nor men could shake me. I demur to the Duke
reiterating his objection that the brilliant plumage of the male
humming-bird could not have been acquired through selection, at the same
time entirely ignoring my discussion (page 93, 3rd edition) on beautiful
plumage being acquired through SEXUAL selection. The duke may think this
insufficient, but that is another question. All analogy makes me quite
disagree with the Duke that the difference in the beak, wing and tail,
are not of importance to the several species. In the only two species
which I have watched, the difference in flight and in the use of the
tail was conspicuously great.

The Duke, who knows my Orchid book so well, might have learnt a lesson
of caution from it, with respect to his doctrine of differences for mere
variety or beauty. It may be confidently said that no tribe of plants
presents such grotesque and beautiful differences, which no one until
lately, conjectured were of any use; but now in almost every case I have
been able to show their important service. It should be remembered that
with humming birds or orchids, a modification in one part will cause
correlated changes in other parts. I agree with what you say about
beauty. I formerly thought a good deal on the subject, and was led quite
to repudiate the doctrine of beauty being created for beauty's sake. I
demur also to the Duke's expression of "new births." That may be a very
good theory, but it is not mine, unless indeed he calls a bird born with
a beak 1/100th of an inch longer than usual "a new birth;" but this is
not the sense in which the term would usually be understood. The more
I work the more I feel convinced that it is by the accumulation of
such extremely slight variations that new species arise. I do not plead
guilty to the Duke's charge that I forget that natural selection
means only the preservation of variations which independently arise.
("Strictly speaking, therefore, Mr. Darwin's theory is not a theory on
the Origin of Species at all, but only a theory on the causes which lead
to the relative success and failure of such new forms as may be born
into the world."--"Scotsman", December 6, 1864.) I have expressed this
in as strong language as I could use, but it would have been infinitely
tedious had I on every occasion thus guarded myself. I will cry
"peccavi" when I hear of the Duke or you attacking breeders for saying
that man has made his improved shorthorns, or pouter pigeons,
or bantams. And I could quote still stronger expressions used by
agriculturists. Man does make his artificial breeds, for his selective
power is of such importance relatively to that of the slight spontaneous
variations. But no one will attack breeders for using such expressions,
and the rising generation will not blame me.

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

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

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

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

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

"Here is a really curious thing, considering that Brewster is President
and Balfour Secretary. I have been elected Honorary Member of the Royal
Society of Edinburgh. And this leads me to a third question. Does the
Berlin Academy of Sciences send their Proceedings to Honorary Members?
I want to know, to ascertain whether I am a member; I suppose not, for
I think it would have made some impression on me; yet I distinctly
remember receiving some diploma signed by Ehrenberg. I have been so
careless; I have lost several diplomas, and now I want to know what
Societies I belong to, as I observe every [one] tacks their titles to
their names in the catalogue of the Royal Soc."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, February 21 [1865].

My dear Lyell,

I have taken a long time to thank you very much for your present of the

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

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

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

I want to make a suggestion to you. I found the weight of your volume
intolerable, especially when lying down, so with great boldness cut
it into two pieces, and took it out of its cover; now could not Murray
without any other change add to his advertisement a line saying, "if
bound in two volumes, one shilling or one shilling and sixpence extra."
You thus might originate a change which would be a blessing to all
weak-handed readers.

Believe me, my dear Lyell, Yours most sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

Originate a second REAL BLESSING and have the edges of the sheets cut
like a bound book. (This was a favourite reform of my father's. He wrote
to the "Athenaeum" on the subject, February 5, 1867, pointing out how
that a book cut, even carefully, with a paper knife collects dust on its
edges far more than a machine-cut book. He goes on to quote the case of
a lady of his acquaintance who was in the habit of cutting books with
her thumb, and finally appeals to the "Athenaeum" to earn the gratitude
of children "who have to cut through dry and pictureless books for the
benefit of their elders." He tried to introduce the reform in the case
of his own books, but found the conservatism of booksellers too strong
for him. The presentation copies, however, of all his later books were
sent out with the edges cut.)


My dear Lubbock,

The latter half of your book ('Prehistoric Times,' 1865.) has been
read aloud to me, and the style is so clear and easy (we both think it
perfection) that I am now beginning at the beginning. I cannot resist
telling you how excellently well, in my opinion, you have done the very
interesting chapter on savage life. Though you have necessarily only
compiled the materials the general result is most original. But I ought
to keep the term original for your last chapter, which has struck me as
an admirable and profound discussion. It has quite delighted me, for now
the public will see what kind of man you are, which I am proud to think
I discovered a dozen years ago.

I do sincerely wish you all success in your election and in politics;
but after reading this last chapter, you must let me say: oh, dear! oh,
dear! oh dear!

Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--You pay me a superb compliment ('Prehistoric Times,' page 487,
where the words, "the discoveries of a Newton or a Darwin," occur.),
but I fear you will be quizzed for it by some of your friends as too

[The following letter refers to Fritz Muller's book, 'Fur Darwin,' which
was afterwards translated, at my father's suggestion, by Mr. Dallas. It
is of interest as being the first of the long series of letters which my
father wrote to this distinguished naturalist. They never met, but the
correspondence with Muller, 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 Muller was the one for whom he had the
strongest regard. Fritz Muller is the brother of another distinguished
man, the late Hermann Muller, the author of 'Die Befruchtung der
Blumen,' and of much other valuable work:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, August 10 [1865].

My dear Sir,

I have been for a long time so ill that I have only just finished
hearing read aloud your work on species. And now you must permit me to
thank you cordially for the great interest with which I have read it.
You have done admirable service in the cause in which we both believe.
Many of your arguments seem to me excellent, and many of your facts
wonderful. Of the latter, nothing has surprised me so much as the
two forms of males. I have lately investigated the cases of dimorphic
plants, and I should much like to send you one or two of my papers if
I knew how. I did send lately by post a paper on climbing plants, as an
experiment to see whether it would reach you. One of the points which
has struck me most in your paper is that on the differences in the
air-breathing apparatus of the several forms. This subject appeared to
me very important when I formerly considered the electric apparatus of
fishes. Your observations on Classification and Embryology seem to me
very good and original. They show what a wonderful field there is for
enquiry on the development of crustacea, and nothing has convinced me so
plainly what admirable results we shall arrive at in Natural History
in the course of a few years. What a marvellous range of structure the
crustacea present, and how well adapted they are for your enquiry! Until
reading your book I knew nothing of the Rhizocephala; pray look at my
account and figures of Anelasma, for it seems to me that this latter
cirripede is a beautiful connecting link with the Rhizocephala.

If ever you have any opportunity, as you are so skilful a dissector, I
much wish that you would look to the orifice at the base of the first
pair of cirrhi in cirripedes, and at the curious organ in it, and
discover what its nature is; I suppose I was quite in error, yet I
cannot feel fully satisfied at Krohn's (See vol. ii., pages 138, 187.)
observations. Also if you ever find any species of Scalpellum, pray
look for complemental males; a German author has recently doubted my
observations for no reason except that the facts appeared to him so

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

Believe me, dear Sir, with sincere respect, Yours very faithfully, CH.

P.S.--I do not know whether you care at all about plants, but if so,
I should much like to send you my little work on the 'Fertilization of
Orchids,' and I think I have a German copy.

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, Thursday, 27th [September, 1865].

My dear Hooker,

I had intended writing this morning to thank Mrs. Hooker most sincerely
for her last and several notes about you, and now your own note in your
hand has rejoiced me. To walk between five and six miles is splendid,
with a little patience you must soon be well. I knew you had been very
ill, but I hardly knew how ill, until yesterday, when Bentham (from
the Cranworths (Robert Rolfe, Lord Cranworth, and Lord Chancellor of
England, lived at Holwood, near Down.)) called here, and I was able to
see him for ten minutes. He told me also a little about the last days of
your father (Sir William Hooker; 1785-1865. He took charge of the Royal
Gardens at Kew, in 1840, when they ceased to be the private gardens
of the Royal Family. In doing so, he gave up his professorship at
Glasgow--and with it half of his income. He founded the herbarium and
library, and within ten years he succeeded in making the gardens the
first in the world. It is, thus, not too much to say that the creation
of the establishment at Kew is due to the abilities and self-devotion of
Sir William Hooker. While, for the subsequent development of the gardens
up to their present magnificent condition, the nation must thank Sir
Joseph Hooker, in whom the same qualities are so conspicuous.); I wish
I had known your father better, my impression is confined to his
remarkably cordial, courteous, and frank bearing. I fully concur and
understand what you say about the difference of feeling in the loss of
a father and child. I do not think any one could love a father much
more than I did mine, and I do not believe three or four days ever pass
without my still thinking of him, but his death at eight-four caused me
nothing of that insufferable grief (I may quote here a passage from a
letter of November, 1863. It was written to a friend who had lost his
child: "How well I remember your feeling, when we lost Annie. It was my
greatest comfort that I had never spoken a harsh word to her. Your grief
has made me shed a few tears over our poor darling; but believe me that
these tears have lost that unutterable bitterness of former days.")
which the loss of our poor dear Annie caused. And this seems to me
perfectly natural, for one knows for years previously that one's
father's death is drawing slowly nearer and nearer, while the death of
one's child is a sudden and dreadful wrench. What a wonderful deal you
read; it is a horrid evil for me that I can read hardly anything, for
it makes my head almost immediately begin to sing violently. My good
womenkind read to me a great deal, but I dare not ask for much science,
and am not sure that I could stand it. I enjoyed Tylor ('Researches into
the Early History of Mankind,' by E.B. Tylor. 1865.) EXTREMELY, and
the first part of Lecky 'The Rise of Rationalism in Europe,' by W.E.H.
Lecky. 1865.); but I think the latter is often vague, and gives a false
appearance of throwing light on his subject by such phrases as "spirit
of the age," "spread of civilization," etc. I confine my reading to a
quarter or half hour per day in skimming through the back volumes of the
Annals and Magazine of Natural History, and find much that interests me.
I miss my climbing plants very much, as I could observe them when very

I did not enjoy the 'Mill on the Floss' so much as you, but from what
you say we will read it again. Do you know 'Silas Marner'? it is a
charming little story; if you run short, and like to have it, we could
send it by post... We have almost finished the first volume of Palgrave
(William Gifford Palgrave's 'Travels in Arabia,' published in 1865.),
and I like it much; but did you ever see a book so badly arranged? The
frequency of the allusions to what will be told in the future are quite
laughable... By the way, I was very much pleased with the foot-note (The
passage which seems to be referred to occurs in the text (page 479) of
'Prehistoric Times.' It expresses admiration of Mr. Wallace's paper in
the 'Anthropological Review' (May, 1864), and speaks of the author's
"characteristic unselfishness" in ascribing the theory of Natural
Selection "unreservedly to Mr. Darwin." about Wallace in Lubbock's
last chapter. I had not heard that Huxley had backed up Lubbock about
Parliament... Did you see a sneer some time ago in the "Times" about how
incomparably more interesting politics were compared with science even
to scientific men? Remember what Trollope says, in 'Can you Forgive
her,' about getting into Parliament, as the highest earthly ambition.
Jeffrey, in one of his letters, I remember, says that making an
effective speech in Parliament is a far grander thing than writing the
grandest history. All this seems to me a poor short-sighted view.
I cannot tell you how it has rejoiced me once again seeing your
handwriting-- my best of old friends.

Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

[In October he wrote Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"Talking of the 'Origin,' a Yankee has called my attention to a paper
attached to Dr. Wells's famous 'Essay on Dew,' which was read in 1813
to the Royal Society, 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'!"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F.W. FARRAR. (Canon of Westminster.) Down, November 2

Dear Sir,

As I have never studied the science of language, it may perhaps seem
presumptuous, but I cannot resist the pleasure of telling you what
interest and pleasure I have derived from hearing read aloud your volume
('Chapters on Language,' 1865.)

I formerly read Max Muller, and thought his theory (if it deserves to be
called so) both obscure and weak; and now, after hearing what you say,
I feel sure that this is the case, and that your cause will ultimately
triumph. My indirect interest in your book has been increased from Mr.
Hensleigh Wedgwood, whom you often quote, being my brother-in-law.

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

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

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

Pray believe me, dear Sir, yours very sincerely obliged, C. DARWIN.


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

"Continued correcting chapters of 'Domestic Animals.'

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

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

November 21st.--Finished 'Pangenesis.'

December 21st.--Finished re-going over all chapters, and sent them to

December 22nd.--Began concluding chapter of book."

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

There seems to have been a gradual mending in his health; thus he wrote
to Mr. Wallace (January 1866):--"My health is so far improved that I am
able to work one or two hours a day."

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

"The new edition of the 'Origin' has caused me two great vexations. I
forgot Bates's paper on variation (This appears to refer to "Notes on
South American Butterflies," Trans. Entomolog. Soc., vol. v. (N.S.).),
but I remembered in time his mimetic work, and now, strange to say, I
find I have forgotten your Arctic paper! I know how it arose; I indexed
for my bigger work, and never expected that a new edition of the
'Origin' would be wanted.

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

In connection with his work on 'The Variation of Animals and Plants,' I
give here extracts from three letters addressed to Mr. Huxley, which
are of interest as giving some idea of the development of the theory of
'Pangenesis,' ultimately published in 1868 in the book in question:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, May 27, [1865?].

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

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

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

July 12, [1865?].

My dear Huxley,

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


My dear Huxley,

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

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

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, July 5 [1866].

My dear Wallace,

I have been much interested by your letter, which is as clear as
daylight. I fully agree with all that you say on the advantages of
H. Spencer's excellent expression of "the survival of the fittest."
(Extract from a letter of Mr. Wallace's, July 2, 1866: "The term
'survival of the fittest' is the plain expression of the fact; 'natural
selection' is a metaphorical expression of it, and to a certain degree
indirect and incorrect, since... Nature... does not so much select special
varieties as exterminate the most unfavourable ones.") This, however,
had not occurred to me till reading your letter. It is, however, a great
objection to this term that it cannot be used as a substantive governing
a verb; and that this is a real objection I infer from H. Spencer
continually using the words, natural selection. I formerly thought,
probably in an exaggerated degree, that it was a great advantage to
bring into connection natural and artificial selection; this indeed led
me to use a term in common, and I still think it some advantage. I wish
I had received your letter two months ago, for I would have worked in
"the survival, etc.," often in the new edition of the 'Origin,' which is
now almost printed off, and of which I will of course send you a copy. I
will use the term in my next book on Domestic Animals, etc., from which,
by the way, I plainly see that you expect MUCH, too much. The term
Natural Selection has now been so largely used abroad and at home, that
I doubt whether it could be given up, and with all its faults I should
be sorry to see the attempt made. Whether it will be rejected must now
depend "on the survival of the fittest." As in time the term must grow
intelligible the objections to its use will grow weaker and weaker.
I doubt whether the use of any term would have made the subject
intelligible to some minds, clear as it is to others; for do we not see
even to the present day Malthus on Population absurdly misunderstood?
This reflection about Malthus has often comforted me when I have been
vexed at the misstatement of my views. As for M. Janet (This no doubt
refers to Janet's 'Materialisme Contemporain.'), he is a metaphysician,
and such gentlemen are so acute that I think they often misunderstand
common folk. Your criticism on the double sense ("I find you use
'Natural Selection' in two senses. 1st, for the simple preservation of
favourable and rejection of unfavourable variations, in which case it is
equivalent to the 'survival of the fittest,'--and 2ndly, for the effect
or CHANGE produced by this preservation." Extract from Mr. Wallace's
letter above quoted.) in which I have used Natural Selection is new
to me and unanswerable; but my blunder has done no harm, for I do not
believe that any one, excepting you, has ever observed it. Again, I
agree that I have said too much about "favourable variations;" but I am
inclined to think that you put the opposite side too strongly; if every
part of every being varied, I do not think we should see the same end,
or object, gained by such wonderfully diversified means.

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

Believe me, my dear Wallace, yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, August 30 [1866].

My dear Hooker,

I was very glad to get your note and the Notts. Newspaper. I have seldom
been more pleased in my life than at hearing how successfully your
lecture (At the Nottingham meeting of the British Association,
August 27, 1866. The subject of the lecture was 'Insular Floras.' See
"Gardeners' Chronicle", 1866.) went off. Mrs. H. Wedgwood sent us an
account, saying that you read capitally, and were listened to with
profound attention and great applause. She says, when your final
allegory (Sir Joseph Hooker allegorized the Oxford meeting of the
British Association as the gathering of a tribe of savages who believed
that the new moon was created afresh each month. The anger of the
priests and medicine man at a certain heresy, according to which the new
moon is but the offspring of the old one, is excellently given.) began,
"for a minute or two we were all mystified, and then came such bursts
of applause from the audience. It was thoroughly enjoyed amid roars of
laughter and noise, making a most brilliant conclusion."

I am rejoiced that you will publish your lecture, and felt sure that
sooner or later it would come to this, indeed it would have been a
sin if you had not done so. I am especially rejoiced as you give the
arguments for occasional transport, with such perfect fairness; these
will now receive a fair share of attention, as coming from you a
professed botanist. Thanks also for Grove's address; as a whole it
strikes me as very good and original, but I was disappointed in the part
about Species; it dealt in such generalities that it would apply to any
view or no view in particular...

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

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The next letter is of interest, as giving the beginning of the
connection which arose between my father and Professor Victor Carus. The
translation referred to is the third German edition made from the
fourth English one. From this time forward Professor Carus continued
to translate my father's books into German. The conscientious care with
which this work was done was of material service, and I well
remember the admiration (mingled with a tinge of vexation at his
own short-comings) with which my father used to receive the lists of
oversights, etc., 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.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO VICTOR CARUS. Down, November 10, 1866.

My dear Sir,

I thank you for your extremely kind letter. I cannot express too
strongly my satisfaction that you have undertaken the revision of the
new edition, and I feel the honour which you have conferred on me. I
fear that you will find the labour considerable, not only on account of
the additions, but I suspect that Bronn's translation is very defective,
at least I have heard complaints on this head from quite a large number
of persons. It would be a great gratification to me to know that the
translation was a really good one, such as I have no doubt you will
produce. According to our English practice, you will be fully justified
in entirely omitting Bronn's Appendix, and I shall be very glad of its
omission. A new edition may be looked at as a new work... You could
add anything of your own that you liked, and I should be much pleased.
Should you make any additions or append notes, it appears to me that
Nageli "Entstehung und Begriff," etc. ('Entstehung und Begriff der
Naturhistorischen Art.' An address given at a public meeting of the
'R. Academy of Sciences' at Munich, March 28, 1865.), would be worth
noticing, as one of the most able pamphlets on the subject. I am,
however, far from agreeing with him that the acquisition of certain
characters which appear to be of no service to plants, offers any great
difficulty, or affords a proof of some innate tendency in plants towards
perfection. If you intend to notice this pamphlet, I should like to
write hereafter a little more in detail on the subject.

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

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

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

I remain, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--I should be VERY MUCH pleased to possess your photograph, and I
send mine in case you should like to have a copy.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. NAGELI. (Professor of Botany at Munich.) Down, June
12 [1866].

Dear Sir,

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

Many of your criticisms on my views are the best which I have met with,
but I could answer some, at least to my own satisfaction; and I regret
extremely that I had not read your pamphlet before printing my new
edition. On one or two points, I think, you have a little misunderstood
me, though I dare say I have not been cautious in expressing myself. The
remark which has struck me most, is that on the position of the leaves
not having been acquired through natural selection, from not being of
any special importance to the plant. I well remember being formerly
troubled by an analogous difficulty, namely, the position of the ovules,
their anatropous condition, etc. It was owing to forgetfulness that
I did not notice this difficulty in the 'Origin.' (Nageli's Essay is
noticed in the 5th edition.) Although I can offer no explanation of such
facts, and only hope to see that they may be explained, yet I hardly see
how they support the doctrine of some law of necessary development,
for it is not clear to me that a plant, with its leaves placed at some
particular angle, or with its ovules in some particular position, thus
stands higher than another plant. But I must apologise for troubling you
with these remarks.

As I much wish to possess your photograph, I take the liberty of
enclosing my own, and with sincere respect I remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

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

TO DR. FALCONER. August 26 [1863].

"Do you remember telling me that I ought to study Phyllotaxy? Well I
have often wished you at the bottom of the sea; for I could not resist,
and I muddled my brains with diagrams, etc., and specimens, and made
out, as might have been expected, nothing. Those angles are a most
wonderful problem and I wish I could see some one give a rational
explanation of them."

TO DR. ASA GRAY. May 11 [1861].

"If you wish to save me from a miserable death, do tell me why the
angles 1/2, 1/3, 2/5, 3/8, etc, series occur, and no other angles. It
is enough to drive the quietest man mad. Did you and some mathematician
(Probably my father was thinking of Chauncey Wright's work on
Phyllotaxy, in Gould's 'Astronomical Journal,' No.99, 1856, and in the
'Mathematical Monthly,' 1859. These papers are mentioned in the "Letters
of Chauncey Wright.' Mr. Wright corresponded with my father on the
subject.) publish some paper on the subject? Hooker says you did; where
is it?

TO DR. ASA GRAY. [May 31, 1863?].

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

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

We now return to the year 1866.

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

"You will shriek at me when you hear that I have just subscribed to the
Jamaica Committee." (He subscribed 10 pounds.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I have always remembered the following little incident as a good
example of Mr. Darwin's extreme solicitude on the score of accuracy. One
evening at Down there was a general conversation upon the difficulty of
explaining the evolution of some of the distinctively human emotions,
especially those appertaining to the recognition of beauty in natural
scenery. I suggested a view of my own upon the subject, which, depending
upon the principle of association, required the supposition that a long
line of ancestors should have inhabited regions, the scenery of which is
now regarded as beautiful. Just as I was about to observe that the chief
difficulty attaching to my hypothesis arose from feelings of the sublime
(seeing that these are associated with awe, and might therefore be
expected not to be agreeable), Mr. Darwin anticipated the remark, by
asking how the hypothesis was to meet the case of these feelings. In the
conversation which followed, he said the occasion in his own life, when
he was most affected by the emotions of the sublime was when he stood
upon one of the summits of the Cordillera, and surveyed the magnificent
prospect all around. It seemed, as he quaintly observed, as if
his nerves had become fiddle strings, and had all taken to rapidly
vibrating. This remark was only made incidentally, and the conversation
passed into some other branch. About an hour afterwards Mr. Darwin
retired to rest, while I sat up in the smoking-room with one of his
sons. We continued smoking and talking for several hours, when at
about one o'clock in the morning the door gently opened and Mr.
Darwin appeared, in his slippers and dressing-gown. As nearly as I can
remember, the following are the words he used:--

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

"This was all he had come to say, and it was evident that he had come to
do so, because he thought that the fact of his feeling 'most sublime in
forests' was more in accordance with the hypothesis which we had been
discussing, than the fact which he had previously stated. Now, as no one
knew better than Mr. Darwin the difference between a speculation and a
fact, I thought this little exhibition of scientific conscientiousness
very noteworthy, where the only question concerned was of so highly
speculative a character. I should not have been so much impressed if he
had thought that by his temporary failure of memory he had put me on a
wrong scent in any matter of fact, although even in such a case he is
the only man I ever knew who would care to get out of bed at such a time
at night in order to make the correction immediately, instead of waiting
till next morning. But as the correction only had reference to a flimsy
hypothesis, I certainly was very much impressed by this display of

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, December 10 [1866].

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

... I am HEARTILY glad you are taking up the Distribution of Plants in
New Zealand, and suppose it will make part of your new book. Your view,
as I understand it, that New Zealand subsided and formed two or
more small islands, and then rose again, seems to me extremely
probable... When I puzzled my brains about New Zealand, I remember I came
to the conclusion, as indeed I state in the 'Origin,' that its flora, as
well as that of other southern lands, had been tinctured by an Antarctic
flora, which must have existed before the Glacial period. I concluded
that New Zealand never could have been closely connected with Australia,
though I supposed it had received some few Australian forms by
occasional means of transport. Is there any reason to suppose that New
Zealand could have been more closely connected with South Australia
during the glacial period, when the Eucalypti, etc., might have been
driven further North? Apparently there remains only the line, which
I think you suggested, of sunken islands from New Caledonia. Please
remember that the Edwardsia was certainly drifted there by the sea.

I remember in old days speculating on the amount of life, i.e. of
organic chemical change, at different periods. There seems to me one
very difficult element in the problem, namely, the state of development
of the organic beings at each period, for I presume that a Flora and
Fauna of cellular cryptogamic plants, of Protozoa and Radiata would lead
to much less chemical change than is now going on. But I have scribbled

Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

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

It may find a place here in illustration of the manner of my father's
intercourse with those "whose avocations in life had to do with the
rearing or use of living things" ("Mr. Dyer in 'Charles Darwin,'"
"Nature Series", 1882, page 39.)--an intercourse which bore such good
fruit in the 'Variation of Animals and Plants.' Mr. Dyer has some
excellent remarks on the unexpected value thus placed on apparently
trivial facts disinterred from weekly journals, or amassed by
correspondence. He adds: "Horticulturists who had... moulded plants
almost at their will at the impulse of taste or profit were at once
amazed and charmed to find that they had been doing scientific work and
helping to establish a great theory."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T. RIVERS. (The late Mr. Rivers was an eminent
horticulturist and writer on horticulture.) Down, December 28 [1866?].

My dear Sir,

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

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

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

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


JANUARY 1867, TO JUNE 1868.

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

"I cannot tell you how sorry I am to hear of the enormous size of my
book. (On January 9 he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker: "I have been these last
few days vexed and annoyed to a foolish degree by hearing that my MS.
on Dom. An. and Cult. Plants will make 2 volumes, both bigger than
the 'Origin.' The volumes will have to be full-sized octavo, so I have
written to Murray to suggest details to be printed in small type. But I
feel that the size is quite ludicrous in relation to the subject. I am
ready to swear at myself and at every fool who writes a book.") I fear
it can never pay. But I cannot shorten it now; nor, indeed, if I had
foreseen its length, do I see which parts ought to have been omitted.

"If you are afraid to publish it, say so at once, I beg you, and I will
consider your note as cancelled. If you think fit, get any one whose
judgment you rely on, to look over some of the more legible chapters,
namely, the Introduction, and on dogs and plants, the latter chapters
being in my opinion, the dullest in the book... The list of chapters, and
the inspection of a few here and there, would give a good judge a fair
idea of the whole book. Pray do not publish blindly, as it would vex me
all my life if I led you to heavy loss."

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

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

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

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

"I began this book [in the] beginning of 1860 (and then had some MS.),
but owing to interruptions from my illness, and illness of children;
from various editions of the 'Origin,' and Papers, especially Orchis
book and Tendrils, I have spent four years and two months over it."

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

In 1867 he received the distinction of being made a knight of the
Prussian Order "Pour le Merite." (The Order "Pour le Merite" was
founded in 1740 by Frederick II. by the re-christening of an "Order
of Generosity," founded in 1665. It was at one time strictly military,
having been previously both civil and military, and in 1840 the Order
was again opened to civilians. The order consists of thirty members of
German extraction, but distinguished foreigners are admitted to a kind
of extraordinary membership. Faraday, Herschel, and Thomas Moore, have
belonged to it in this way. From the thirty members a chancellor is
elected by the king (the first officer of this kind was Alexander v.
Humboldt); and it is the duty of the chancellor to notify a vacancy in
the Order to the remainder of the thirty, who then elect by vote the new
member--but the king has technically the appointment in his own hands.)
He seems not to have known how great the distinction was, for in June
1868 he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"What a man you are for sympathy. I was made "Eques" some months ago,
but did not think much about it. Now, by Jove, we all do; but you, in
fact, have knighted me."

The letters may now take up the story.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 8 [1867].

My dear Hooker,

I am heartily glad that you have been offered the Presidentship of the
British Association, for it is a great honour, and as you have so
much work to do, I am equally glad that you have declined it. I feel,
however, convinced that you would have succeeded very well; but if I
fancy myself in such a position, it actually makes my blood run cold. I
look back with amazement at the skill and taste with which the Duke of
Argyll made a multitude of little speeches at Glasgow. By the way,
I have not seen the Duke's book ('The Reign of Law,' 1867.), but I
formerly thought that some of the articles which appeared in periodicals
were very clever, but not very profound. One of these was reviewed
in the "Saturday Review" ("Saturday Review", November 15, 1862, 'The
"Edinburgh Review" on the Supernatural.' Written by my cousin, Mr.
Henry Parker.) some years ago, and the fallacy of some main argument
was admirably exposed, and I sent the article to you, and you agreed
strongly with it... There was the other day a rather good review of the
Duke's book in the "Spectator", and with a new explanation, either by
the Duke or the reviewer (I could not make out which), of rudimentary
organs, namely, that economy of labour and material was a great guiding
principle with God (ignoring waste of seed and of young monsters, etc.),
and that making a new plan for the structure of animals was thought, and
thought was labour, and therefore God kept to a uniform plan, and left
rudiments. This is no exaggeration. In short, God is a man, rather
cleverer than us... I am very much obliged for the "Nation" (returned by
this post); it is ADMIRABLY good. You say I always guess wrong, but I do
not believe any one, except Asa Gray, could have done the thing so well.
I would bet even, or three to two, that it is Asa Gray, though one or
two passages staggered me.

I finish my book on 'Domestic Animals,' etc., by a single paragraph,
answering, or rather throwing doubt, in so far as so little space
permits, on Asa Gray's doctrine that each variation has been specially
ordered or led along a beneficial line. It is foolish to touch such
subjects, but there have been so many allusions to what I think about
the part which God has played in the formation of organic beings (Prof.
Judd allows me to quote from some notes which he has kindly given
me:--"Lyell once told me that he had frequently been asked if Darwin was
not one of the most unhappy of men, it being suggested that his outrage
upon public opinion should have filled him with remorse." Sir Charles
Lyell must have been able, I think, to give a satisfactory answer on
this point. Professor Judd continues:--

"I made a note of this and other conversations of Lyell's at the time.
At the present time such statements must appear strange to any one
who does not recollect the revolution in opinion which has taken place
during the last 23 years [1882]."), that I thought it shabby to evade
the question... I have even received several letters on the subject... I
overlooked your sentence about Providence, and suppose I treated it as
Buckland did his own theology, when his Bridgewater Treatise was read
aloud to him for correction...

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

Dear Sir,

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

Do you consider the holding of your theory of Natural Selection, in its
fullest and most unreserved sense, to be inconsistent--I do not say with
any particular scheme of theological doctrine--but with the following
belief, namely:--

That knowledge is given to man by the direct inspiration of the Spirit
of God.

That God is a personal and Infinitely good Being.

That the effect of the action of the Spirit of God on the brain of man
is especially a moral effect.

And that each individual man has within certain limits a power of choice
as to how far he will yield to his hereditary animal impulses, and how
far he will rather follow the guidance of the Spirit, who is educating
him into a power of resisting those impulses in obedience to moral

The reason why I ask you is this: my own impression has always been, not
only that your theory was perfectly COMPATIBLE with the faith to which
I have just tried to give expression, but that your books afforded me
a clue which would guide me in applying that faith to the solution of
certain complicated psychological problems which it was of practical
importance to me as a mother to solve. I felt that you had supplied one
of the missing links--not to say THE missing link--between the facts of
science and the promises of religion. Every year's experience tends to
deepen in me that impression.

But I have lately read remarks on the probable bearing of your theory on
religious and moral questions which have perplexed and pained me sorely.
I know that the persons who make such remarks must be cleverer and wiser
than myself. I cannot feel sure that they are mistaken, unless you will
tell me so. And I think--I cannot know for certain--but I THINK--that if
I were an author, I would rather that the humblest student of my works
should apply to me directly in a difficulty, than that she should puzzle
too long over adverse and probably mistaken or thoughtless criticisms.

At the same time I feel that you have a perfect right to refuse to
answer such questions as I have asked you. Science must take her
path, and Theology hers, and they will meet when and where and how God
pleases, and you are in no sense responsible for it if the meeting-point
should still be very far off. If I receive no answer to this letter I
shall infer nothing from your silence, except that you felt I had no
right to make such enquiries of a stranger.

[My father replied as follows:]

Down, December 14, [1866].

Dear Madam,

It would have gratified me much if I could have sent satisfactory
answers to your questions, or, indeed, answers of any kind. But I cannot
see how the belief that all organic beings, including man, have been
genetically derived from some simple being, instead of having been
separately created, bears on your difficulties. These, as it seems to
me, can be answered only by widely different evidence from science, or
by the so-called "inner consciousness." My opinion is not worth more
than that of any other man who has thought on such subjects, and it
would be folly in me to give it. I may, however, remark that it has
always appeared to me more satisfactory to look at the immense amount of
pain and suffering in this world as the inevitable result of the natural
sequence of events, i.e. general laws, rather than from the direct
intervention of God, though I am aware this is not logical with
reference to an omniscient Deity. Your last question seems to resolve
itself into the problem of free will and necessity, which has been found
by most persons insoluble. I sincerely wish that this note had not been
as utterly valueless as it is. I would have sent full answers, though I
have little time or strength to spare, had it been in my power. I have
the honour to remain, dear Madam,

Yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--I am grieved that my views should incidentally have caused trouble
to your mind, but I thank you for your judgment, and honour you for it,
that theology and science should each run its own course, and that in
the present case I am not responsible if their meeting-point should
still be far off.

[The next letter discusses the 'Reign of Law,' referred to a few pages

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, June 1 [1867].

... I am at present reading the Duke, and am VERY MUCH interested by him;
yet I cannot but think, clever as the whole is, that parts are weak, as
when he doubts whether each curvature of the beak of humming-birds is of
service to each species. He admits, perhaps too fully, that I have shown
the use of each little ridge and shape of each petal in orchids, and how
strange he does not extend the view to humming-birds. Still odder, it
seems to me, all that he says on beauty, which I should have thought a
nonentity, except in the mind of some sentient being. He might have as
well said that love existed during the secondary or Palaeozoic periods.
I hope you are getting on with your book better than I am with mine,
which kills me with the labour of correcting, and is intolerably dull,
though I did not think so when I was writing it. A naturalist's life
would be a happy one if he had only to observe, and never to write.

We shall be in London for a week in about a fortnight's time, and I
shall enjoy having a breakfast talk with you.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

[The following letter refers to the new and improved translation of the
'Origin,' undertaken by Professor Carus:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. VICTOR CARUS. Down, February 17 [1867].

My dear Sir,

I have read your preface with care. It seems to me that you have treated
Bronn with complete respect and great delicacy, and that you have
alluded to your own labour with much modesty. I do not think that any of
Bronn's friends can complain of what you say and what you have done. For
my own sake, I grieve that you have not added notes, as I am sure that
I should have profited much by them; but as you have omitted Bronn's
objections, I believe that you have acted with excellent judgment and
fairness in leaving the text without comment to the independent verdict
of the reader. I heartily congratulate you that the main part of your
labour is over; it would have been to most men a very troublesome task,
but you seem to have indomitable powers of work, judging from those two
wonderful and most useful volumes on zoological literature ('Bibliotheca
Zoologica,' 1861.) edited by you, and which I never open without
surprise at their accuracy, and gratitude for their usefulness. I cannot
sufficiently tell you how much I rejoice that you were persuaded to
superintend the translation of the present edition of my book, for I
have now the great satisfaction of knowing that the German public can
judge fairly of its merits and demerits...

With my cordial and sincere thanks, believe me,

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The earliest letter which I have seen from my father to Professor
Haeckel, was written in 1865, and from that time forward they
corresponded (though not, I think, with any regularity) up to the end of
my father's life. His friendship with Haeckel was not nearly growth of
correspondence, as was the case with some others, for instance, Fritz
Muller. 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 ('Charles Darwin und sein Verhaltniss zu Deutschland,'
1885.) has given a good account of Professor Haeckel's services to 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 Coryphaeus of the Darwinian movement in Germany. Of his 'Generelle
Morphologie,' "an attempt to work out the practical application" of the
doctrine of Evolution to their final results, he says that it has the
"force and suggestiveness, and... systematising power of Oken without his
extravagance." Professor Huxley also testifies to the value of Haeckel's
'Schopfungs-Geschichte' as an exposition of the 'Generelle Morphologie'
"for an educated public."

Again, in his 'Evolution in Biology' (An article in the 'Encyclopaedia
Britannica,' 9th edition, reprinted in 'Science and Culture,' 1881, page
298.), 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

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 (page 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 'Schopfungs-Geschichte,' all the hatred and
bitterness which Evolution excited in certain quarters," so that, "in
a surprisingly short time it became the fashion in Germany that Haeckel
alone should be abused, while Darwin was held up as the ideal of
forethought and moderation."]


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
(In October 1867 he wrote to Mr. Wallace:--"Mr. Warrington has lately
read an excellent and spirited abstract of the 'Origin' before the
Victoria Institute, and as this is a most orthodox body, he has gained
the name of the Devil's Advocate. The discussion which followed during
three consecutive meetings is very rich from the nonsense talked. If you
would care to see the number I could send it you."), 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 working away at my new book, but make very slow
progress, and the work tries my health, which is much the same as when
you were here.

Victor Carus is going to translate it, but whether it is worth
translation, I am rather doubtful. I am very glad to hear that there is
some chance of your visiting England this autumn, and all in this house
will be delighted to see you here.

Believe me, my dear Haeckel, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, July 31 [1867].

My dear Sir,

I received a week ago your letter of June 2, full as usual of valuable
matter and specimens. It arrived at exactly the right time, for I was
enabled to give a pretty full abstract of your observations on the
plant's own pollen being poisonous. I have inserted this abstract in the
proo-sheets in my chapter on sterility, and it forms the most striking
part of my whole chapter. (In 'The Variation of Animals and Plants.') I
thank you very sincerely for the most interesting observations, which,
however, I regret that you did not publish independently. I have been
forced to abbreviate one or two parts more than I wished... Your letters
always surprise me, from the number of points to which you attend. I
wish I could make my letters of any interest to you, for I hardly ever
see a naturalist, and live as retired a life as you in Brazil. With
respect to mimetic plants, I remember Hooker many years ago saying he
believed that there were many, but I agree with you that it would
be most difficult to distinguish between mimetic resemblance and the
effects of peculiar conditions. Who can say to which of these causes to
attribute the several plants with heath-like foliage at the Cape of Good
Hope? Is it not also a difficulty that quadrupeds appear to recognise
plants more by their [scent] than their appearance? What I have just
said reminds me to ask you a question. Sir J. Lubbock brought me the
other day what appears to be a terrestrial Planaria (the first ever
found in the northern hemisphere) and which was coloured exactly like
our dark-coloured slugs. Now slugs are not devoured by birds, like
the shell-bearing species, and this made me remember that I found the
Brazilian Planariae actually together with striped Vaginuli which I
believe were similarly coloured. Can you throw any light on this? I wish
to know, because I was puzzled some months ago how it would be possible
to account for the bright colours of the Planariae in reference to
sexual selection. By the way, I suppose they are hermaphrodites.

Do not forget to aid me, if in your power, with answers to ANY of my
questions on expression, for the subject interests me greatly. With
cordial thanks for your never-failing kindness, believe me,

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, July 18 [1867].

My dear Lyell,

Many thanks for your long letter. I am sorry to hear that you are in
despair about your book (The 2nd volume of the 10th Edition of the
'Principles.'); I well know that feeling, but am now getting out of the
lower depths. I shall be very much pleased, if you can make the least
use of my present book, and do not care at all whether it is published
before yours. Mine will appear towards the end of November of this year;
you speak of yours as not coming out till November, 1868, which I
hope may be an error. There is nothing about Man in my book which can
interfere with you, so I will order all the completed clean sheets to be
sent (and others as soon as ready) to you, but please observe you will
not care for the first volume, which is a mere record of the amount
of variation; but I hope the second will be somewhat more interesting.
Though I fear the whole must be dull.

I rejoice from my heart that you are going to speak out plainly about
species. My book about Man, if published, will be short, and a large
portion will be devoted to sexual selection, to which subject I alluded
in the 'Origin' as bearing on Man...

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, August 22 [1867].

My dear Lyell,

I thank you cordially for your last two letters. The former one did me
REAL good, for I had got so wearied with the subject that I could hardly
bear to correct the proofs (The proofs of 'Animals and Plants,' which
Lyell was then reading.), and you gave me fresh heart. I remember
thinking that when you came to the Pigeon chapter you would pass it over
as quite unreadable. Your last letter has interested me in very many
ways, and I have been glad to hear about those horrid unbelieving
Frenchmen. I have been particularly pleased that you have noticed
Pangenesis. I do not know whether you ever had the feeling of having
thought so much over a subject that you had lost all power of judging
it. This is my case with Pangenesis (which is 26 or 27 years old), but I
am inclined to think that if it be admitted as a probable hypothesis it
will be a somewhat important step in Biology.

I cannot help still regretting that you have ever looked at the slips,
for I hope to improve the whole a good deal. It is surprising to me,
and delightful, that you should care in the least about the plants.
Altogether you have given me one of the best cordials I ever had in my
life, and I heartily thank you. I despatched this morning the French
edition. (Of the 'Origin.' It appears that my father was sending a copy
of the French edition to Sir Charles. The introduction was by Mdlle.
Royer, who translated the book.) The introduction was a complete
surprise to me, and I dare say has injured the book in France;
nevertheless... it shows, I think, that the woman is uncommonly clever.
Once again many thanks for the renewed courage with which I shall attack
the horrid proof-sheets.

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--A Russian who is translating my new book into Russian has been
here, and says you are immensely read in Russia, and many editions--how
many I forget. Six editions of Buckle and four editions of the 'Origin.'

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, October 16 [1867].

My dear Gray,

I send by this post clean sheets of Volume I. up to page 336, and there
are only 411 pages in this volume. I am VERY glad to hear that you are
going to review my book; but if the "Nation" (The book was reviewed by
Dr. Gray in the "Nation", March 19, 1868.) is a newspaper I wish it
were at the bottom of the sea, for I fear that you will thus be stopped
reviewing me in a scientific journal. The first volume is all details,
and you will not be able to read it; and you must remember that the
chapters on plants are written for naturalists who are not botanists.
The last chapter in Volume I. is, however, I think, a curious
compilation of facts; it is on bu-variation. In Volume II. some of the
chapters are more interesting; and I shall be very curious to hear your
verdict on the chapter on close inte-breeding. The chapter on what I
call Pangenesis will be called a mad dream, and I shall be pretty well
satisfied if you think it a dream worth publishing; but at the bottom of
my own mind I think it contains a great truth. I finish my book with a
semi-theological paragraph, in which I quote and differ from you; what
you will think of it, I know not...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, November 17 [1867].

My dear Hooker,

Congratulate me, for I have finished the last revise of the last sheet
of my book. It has been an awful job: seven and a half months correcting
the press: the book, from much small type, does not look big, but is
really very big. I have had hard work to keep up to the mark, but during
the last week only few revises came, so that I have rested and feel more
myself. Hence, after our long mutual silence, I enjoy myself by writing
a note to you, for the sake of exhaling, and hearing from you. On
account of the index (The index was made by Mr. W.S. Dallas; I have
often heard my father express his admiration of this excellent piece of
work.), I do not suppose that you will receive your copy till the middle
of next month. I shall be intensely anxious to hear what you think
about Pangenesis; though I can see how fearfully imperfect, even in mere
conjectural conclusions, it is; yet it has been an infinite satisfaction
to me somehow to connect the various large groups of facts, which I
have long considered, by an intelligible thread. I shall not be at all
surprised if you attack it and me with unparalleled ferocity. It will
be my endeavour to do as little as possible for some time, but [I] shall
soon prepare a paper or two for the Linnean Society. In a short time we
shall go to London for ten days, but the time is not yet fixed. Now I
have told you a deal about myself, and do let me hear a good deal
about your own past and future doings. Can you pay us a visit, early in
December?... I have seen no one for an age, and heard no news.

... About my book I will give you a bit of advice. Skip the WHOLE of
Volume I., except the last chapter (and that need only be skimmed) and
skip largely in the 2nd volume; and then you will say it is a very good


['The Variation of Animals and Plants' was, as already mentioned,
published on January 30, 1868, and on that day he sent a copy to Fritz
Muller, and wrote to him:--

"I send by this post, by French packet, my new book, the publication of
which has been much delayed. The greater part, as you will see, is not
meant to be read; but I should very much like to hear what you think
of 'Pangenesis,' though I fear it will appear to EVERY ONE far too

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. February 3 [1868].

... I am very much pleased at what you say about my Introduction; after
it was in type I was as near as possible cancelling the whole. I have
been for some time in despair about my book, and if I try to read a few
pages I feel fairly nauseated, but do not let this make you praise it;
for I have made up my mind that it is not worth a fifth part of the
enormous labour it has cost me. I assure you that all that is worth your
doing (if you have time for so much) is glancing at Chapter VI., and
reading parts of the later chapters. The facts on self-impotent plants
seem to me curious, and I have worked out to my own satisfaction the
good from crossing and evil from interbreeding. I did read Pangenesis
the other evening, but even this, my beloved child, as I had fancied,
quite disgusted me. The devil take the whole book; and yet now I am at
work again as hard as I am able. It is really a great evil that from
habit I have pleasure in hardly anything except Natural History, for
nothing else makes me forget my eve-recurrent uncomfortable sensations.
But I must not howl any more, and the critics may say what they like;
I did my best, and man can do no more. What a splendid pursuit Natural
History would be if it was all observing and no writing!...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 10 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

What is the good of having a friend, if one may not boast to him? I
heard yesterday that 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" (February 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, February 17:--

"Nowhere has the author a word that could wound the most sensitive
sel-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 & Elder for the information that these
articles were written by Mr. G.H. Lewes.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 23 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

I have had almost as many letters to write of late as you can have, viz.
from 8 to 10 per diem, chiefly getting up facts on sexual selection,
therefore I have felt no inclination to write to you, and now I mean to
write solely about my book for my own satisfaction, and not at all for
yours. The first edition was 1500 copies, and now the second is
printed off; sharp work. Did you look at the review in the "Athenaeum"
("Athenaeum", February 15, 1868. My father quoted Pouchet's assertion
that "variation under domestication throws no light on the natural
modification of species." The reviewer quotes the end of a passage
in which my father declares that he can see no force in Pouchet's
arguments, or rather assertions, and then goes on: "We are sadly
mistaken if there are not clear proofs in the pages of the book before
us that, on the contrary, Mr. Darwin has perceived, felt, and yielded to
the force of the arguments or assertions of his French antagonist." The
following may serve as samples of the rest of the review:--

"Henceforth the rhetoricians will have a better illustration of
anti-climax than the mountain which brought forth a mouse,... in the
discoverer of the origin of species, who tried to explain the variation
of pigeons!

"A few summary words. On the 'Origin of Species' Mr. Darwin has
nothing, and is never likely to have anything, to say; but on the vastly
important subject of inheritance, the transmission of peculiarities
once acquired through successive generations, this work is a valuable
store-house of facts for curious students and practical breeders."),
showing profound contempt of me?... It is a shame that he should have
said that I have taken much from Pouchet, without acknowledgment; for I
took literally nothing, there being nothing to take. There is a capital
review in the "Gardeners' Chronicle" which will sell the book if
anything will. I don't quite see whether I or the writer is in a
muddle about man CAUSING variability. If a man drops a bit of iron into
sulphuric acid he does not cause the affinities to come into play, yet
he may be said to make sulphate of iron. I do not know how to avoid

After what the "Pall Mall Gazette" and the "Chronicle" have said I do
not care a d--.

I fear Pangenesis is stillborn; Bates says he has read it twice, and
is not sure that he understands it. H. Spencer says the view is quite
different from his (and this is a great relief to me, as I feared to be
accused of plagiarism, but utterly failed to be sure what he meant, so
thought it safest to give my view as almost the same as his), and he
says he is not sure he understands it... Am I not a poor devil? yet I
took such pains, I must think that I expressed myself clearly. Old Sir
H. Holland says he has read it twice, and thinks it very tough; but
believes that sooner or later "some view akin to it" will be accepted.

You will think me very self-sufficient, when I declare that I feel SURE
if Pangenesis is now stillborn it will, thank God, at some future time
reappear, begotten by some other father, and christened by some other

Have you ever met with any tangible and clear view of what takes place
in generation, whether by seeds or buds, or how a long-lost character
can possibly reappear; or how the male element can possibly affect
the mother plant, or the mother animal, so that her future progeny are
affected? Now all these points and many others are connected together,
whether truly or falsely is another question, by Pangenesis. You see I
die hard, and stick up for my poor child.

This letter is written for my own satisfaction, and not for yours. So
bear it.

Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. NEWTON. (Prof. of Zoology at Cambridge.) Down,
February 9 [1870].

Dear Newton,

I suppose it would be universally held extremely wrong for a defendant
to write to a Judge to express his satisfaction at a judgment in his
favour; and yet I am going thus to act. I have just read what you
have said in the 'Record' ('Zoological Record.' The volume for 1868,
published December 1869.) 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 "Athenaeum"
was very unjust; but now I feel amply repaid, and I cordially thank you
for your sympathy and too warm praise. What labour you have bestowed on
your part of the 'Record'! I ought to be ashamed to speak of my amount
of work. I thoroughly enjoyed the Sunday, which you and the others spent
here, and

I remain, dear Newton, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, February 27 [1868].

My dear Wallace,

You cannot well imagine how much I have been pleased by what you say
about 'Pangenesis.' None of my friends will speak out... Hooker, as far
as I understand him, which I hardly do at present, seems to think that
the hypothesis is little more than saying that organisms have such
and such potentialities. What you say exactly and fully expresses my
feeling, viz. that it is a relief to have some feasible explanation
of the various facts, which can be given up as soon as any better
hypothesis is found. It has certainly been an immense relief to my mind;
for I have been stumbling over the subject for years, dimly seeing that
some relation existed between the various classes of facts. I now hear
from H. Spencer that his views quoted in my foot-note refer to something
quite distinct, as you seem to have perceived.

I shall be very glad to hear at some future day your criticisms on
the "causes of variability." Indeed I feel sure that I am right about
sterility and natural selection... I do not quite understand your case,
and we think that a word or two is misplaced. I wish sometime you would
consider the case under the following point of view:--If sterility is
caused or accumulated through natural selection, than as every degree
exists up to absolute barrenness, natural selection must have the power
of increasing it. Now take two species, A and B, and assume that they
are (by any means) half-sterile, i.e. produce half the full number of
offspring. Now try and make (by natural selection) A and B absolutely
sterile when crossed, and you will find how difficult it is. I grant
indeed, it is certain, that the degree of sterility of the individuals A
and B will vary, but any such extra-sterile individuals of, we will
say A, if they should hereafter breed with other individuals of A, will
bequeath no advantage to their progeny, by which these families will
tend to increase in number over other families of A, which are not more
sterile when crossed with B. But I do not know that I have made this any
clearer than in the chapter in my book. It is a most difficult bit of
reasoning, which I have gone over and over again on paper with diagrams.

... Hearty thanks for your letter. You have indeed pleased me, for I had
given up the great god Pan as a stillborn deity. I wish you could be
induced to make it clear with your admirable powers of elucidation in
one of the scientific journals...

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 28 [1868].

My dear Hooker,

I have been deeply interested by your letter, and we had a good laugh
over Huxley's remark, which was so deuced clever that you could not
recollect it. I cannot quite follow your train of thought, for in the
last page you admit all that I wish, having apparently denied all, or
thought all mere words in the previous pages of your note; but it may be
my muddle. I see clearly that any satisfaction which Pan may give will
depend on the constitution of each man's mind. If you have arrived
already at any similar conclusion, the whole will of course appear stale
to you. I heard yesterday from Wallace, who says (excuse horrid vanity),
"I can hardly tell you how much I admire the chapter on 'Pangenesis.'
It is a POSITIVE COMFORT to me to have any feasible explanation of a
difficulty that has always been haunting me, and I shall never be able
to give it up till a better one supplies its place, and that I think
hardly possible, etc." 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, have the "potentiality" of reproducing
the whole--or "diffuse an influence," these words give me no positive
idea;--but when it is said that the cells of a plant, or stump, include
atoms derived from every other cell of the whole organism and capable of
development, I gain a distinct idea. But this idea would not be worth
a rush, if it applied to one case alone; but it seems to me to apply
to all the forms of reproduction--inheritance--metamorphosis--to the
abnormal transposition of organs--to the direct action of the male
element on the mother plant, etc. Therefore I fully believe that each
cell does ACTUALLY throw off an atom or gemmule of its contents;--but
whether or not, this hypothesis serves as a useful connecting link for
various grand classes of physiological facts, which at present stand
absolutely isolated.

I have touched on the doubtful point (alluded to by Huxley) how far
atoms derived from the same cell may become developed into different
structure accordingly as they are differently nourished; I advanced as
illustrations galls and polypoid excrescences...

It is a real pleasure to me to write to you on this subject, and I
should be delighted if we can understand each other; but you must not
let your good nature lead you on. Remember, we always fight tooth and
nail. We go to London on Tuesday, first for a week to Queen Anne Street,
and afterwards to Miss Wedgwood's, in Regent's Park, and stay the whole
month, which, as my gardener truly says, is a "terrible thing" for my

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE. (Dr. William Ogle, now the Superintendent of
Statistics to the Registrar-General.) Down, March 6 [1868].

Dear Sir,

I thank you most sincerely for your letter, which is very interesting
to me. I wish I had known of these views of Hippocrates before I had
published, for they seem almost identical with mine--merely a change
of terms--and an application of them to classes of facts necessarily
unknown to the old philosopher. The whole case is a good illustration of
how rarely anything is new.

Hippocrates has taken the wind out of my sails, but I care very little
about being forestalled. I advance the views merely as a provisional
hypothesis, but with the secret expectation that sooner or later some
such view will have to be admitted.

... I do not expect the reviewers will be so learned as you: otherwise,
no doubt, I shall be accused of wilfully stealing Pangenesis from
Hippocrates,--for this is the spirit some reviewers delight to show.


... I am very much obliged to you for sending me so frankly your opinion
on Pangenesis, and I am sorry it is unfavourable, but I cannot quite
understand your remark on pangenesis, selection, and the struggle
for life not being more methodical. I am not at all surprised at your
unfavourable verdict; I know many, probably most, will come to the same
conclusion. One English Review says it is much too complicated... Some
of my friends are enthusiastic on the hypothesis... Sir C. Lyell says
to every one, "you may not believe in 'Pangenesis,' but if you once
understand it, you will never get it out of your mind." And with this
criticism I am perfectly content. All cases of inheritance and reversion
and development now appear to me under a new light...

[An extract from a letter to Fritz Muller, though of later date (June),
may be given here:--

"Your letter of April 22 has much interested me. I am delighted that you
approve of my book, for I value your opinion more than that of almost
any one. I have yet hopes that you will think well of Pangenesis. I feel
sure that our minds are somewhat alike, and I find it a great relief
to have some definite, though hypothetical view, when I reflect on the
wonderful transformations of animals,--the re-growth of parts,--and
especially the direct action of pollen on the mother-form, etc. It often
appears to me almost certain that the characters of the parents are
"photographed" on the child, only by means of material atoms derived
from each cell in both parents, and developed in the child."]


My dear Gray,

I have been a most ungrateful and ungracious man not to have written to
you an immense time ago to thank you heartily for the "Nation", and for
all your most kind aid in regard to the American edition [of 'Animals
and Plants']. But I have been of late overwhelmed with letters, which
I was forced to answer, and so put off writing to you. This morning
I received the American edition (which looks capital), with your nice
preface, for which hearty thanks. I hope to heaven that the book will
succeed well enough to prevent you repenting of your aid. This arrival
has put the finishing stroke to my conscience, which will endure its
wrongs no longer.

... Your article in the "Nation" [March 19] seems to me very good, and
you give an excellent idea of Pangenesis--an infant cherished by few as
yet, except his tender parent, but which will live a long life. There
is parental presumption for you! You give a good slap at my concluding
metaphor (A short abstract of the precipice metaphor is given in
Volume I. Dr. Gray's criticism on this point is as follows: "But in Mr.
Darwin's parallel, to meet the case of nature according to his own view
of it, not only the fragments of rock (answering to variation) should
fall, but the edifice (answering to natural selection) should rise,
irrespective of will or choice!" But my father's parallel demands that
natural selection shall be the architect, not the edifice--the question
of design only comes in with regard to the form of the building
materials.): undoubtedly I ought to have brought in and contrasted
natural and artificial selection; but it seems so obvious to me that
natural selection depended on contingencies even more complex than those
which must have determined the shape of each fragment at the base of my
precipice. What I wanted to show was that in reference to pre-ordainment
whatever holds good in the formation of a pouter pigeon holds good in
the formation of a natural species of pigeon. I cannot see that this
is false. If the right variations occurred, and no others, natural
selection would be superfluous. A reviewer in an Edinburgh paper, who
treats me with profound contempt, says on this subject that Professor
Asa Gray could with the greatest ease smash me into little pieces. (The
"Daily Review", April 27, 1868. My father has given rather a highly
coloured version of the reviewer's remarks: "We doubt not that Professor
Asa Gray... could show that natural selection... is simply an instrument
in the hands of an omnipotent and omniscient creator." The reviewer goes
on to say that the passage in question is a "very melancholy one," and
that the theory is the "apotheosis of materialism.")

Believe me, my dear Gray, Your ungrateful but sincere friend, CHARLES

CHARLES DARWIN TO G. BENTHAM. Down, June 23, 1868.

My dear Mr. Bentham,

As your address (Presidential Address to the Linnean Society.) is
somewhat of the nature of a verdict from a judge, I do not know whether
it is proper for me to do so, but I must and will thank you for the
pleasure which you have given me. I am delighted at what you say about
my book. I got so tired of it, that for months together I thought
myself a perfect fool for having given up so much time in collecting
and observing little facts, but now I do not care if a score of common
critics speak as contemptuously of the book as did the "Athenaeum".
I feel justified in this, for I have so complete a reliance on your
judgment that I feel certain that I should have bowed to your judgment
had it been as unfavourable as it is the contrary. What you say about
Pangenesis quite satisfies me, and is as much perhaps as any one is
justified in saying. I have read your whole Address with the greatest
interest. It must have cost you a vast amount of trouble. With cordial
thanks, pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--I fear that it is not likely that you have a superfluous copy
of your Address; if you have, I should much like to send one to Fritz
Muller in the interior of Brazil. By the way let me add that I discussed
bud-variation chiefly from a belief which is common to several persons,
that all variability is related to sexual generation; I wished to show
clearly that this was an error.

[The above series of letters may serve to show to some extent the
reception which the new book received. Before passing on (in the next
chapter) to the 'Descent of Man,' I give a letter referring to the
translation of Fritz Muller's book, 'Fur Darwin,' it was originally
published in 1864, but the English translation, by Mr. Dallas, which
bore the title suggested by Sir C. Lyell, of 'Facts and Arguments for
Darwin,' did not appear until 1869:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, March 16 [1868].

My dear Sir,

Your brother, as you will have heard from him, felt so convinced that
you would not object to a translation of 'Fur Darwin' (In a letter to
Fritz Muller, my father wrote:--"I am vexed to see that on the title my
name is more conspicuous than yours, which I especially objected to, and
I cautioned the printers after seeing one proof."), that I have ventured
to arrange for a translation. Engelmann has very liberally offered me
cliches of the woodcuts for 22 thalers; Mr. Murray has agreed to bring
out a translation (and he is our best publisher) on commission, for he
would not undertake the work on his own risk; and I have agreed with Mr.
W.S. Dallas (who has translated Von Siebold on Parthenogenesis, and many
German works, and who writes very good English) to translate the book.
He thinks (and he is a good judge) that it is important to have some
few corrections or additions, in order to account for a translation
appearing so lately [i.e. at such a long interval of time] after the
original; so that I hope you will be able to send some...

[Two letters may be placed here as bearing on the spread of Evolutionary
ideas in France and Germany:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. GAUDRY. Down, January 21 [1868].

Dear Sir,

I thank you for your interesting essay on the influence of the
Geological features of the country on the mind and habits of the Ancient
Athenians (This appears to refer to M. Gaudry's paper translated in the
'Geol. Mag.,' 1868, page 372.), and for your very obliging letter. I am
delighted to hear that you intend to consider the relations of fossil
animals in connection with their genealogy; it will afford you a
fine field for the exercise of your extensive knowledge and powers of
reasoning. Your belief will I suppose, at present, lower you in the
estimation of your countrymen; but judging from the rapid spread in all
parts of Europe, excepting France, of the belief in the common descent
of allied species, I must think that this belief will before long
become universal. How strange it is that the country which gave birth to
Buffon, the elder Geoffroy, and especially to Lamarck, should now cling
so pertinaciously to the belief that species are immutable creations.

My work on Variation, etc., under domestication, will appear in a French
translation in a few months' time, and I will do myself the pleasure
and honour of directing the publisher to send a copy to you to the same
address as this letter.

With sincere respect, I remain, dear sir, Yours very faithfully, CHARLES

[The next letter is of especial interest, as showing how high a value my
father placed on the support of the younger German naturalists:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. PREYER. (Now Professor of Physiology at Jena.)
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...



[In the autobiographical chapter in Volume I., my father gives the
circumstances which led to his writing the 'Descent of Man.' He states
that his collection of facts, begun in 1837 or 1838, was continued for
many years without any definite idea of publishing on the subject. The
following letter to Mr. Wallace shows that in the period of ill-health
and depression about 1864 he despaired of ever being able to do so:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, [May?] 28 [1864].

Dear Wallace,

I am so much better that I have just finished a paper for Linnean
Society (On the three forms, etc., of Lythrum.); but I am not yet at
all strong, I felt much disinclination to write, and therefore you must
forgive me for not having sooner thanked you for your paper on 'Man'
('Anthropological Review,' March 1864.), received on the 11th. But first
let me say that I have hardly ever in my life been more struck by any
paper than that on 'Variation,' etc. etc., in the "Reader". ('"Reader",
April 16, 1864. "On the Phenomena of Variation," etc. Abstract of a
paper read before the Linnean Society, March 17, 1864.) I feel sure
that such papers will do more for the spreading of our views on the
modification of species than any separate Treatises on the simple
subject itself. It is really admirable; but you ought not in the Man
paper to speak of the theory as mine; it is just as much yours as mine.
One correspondent has already noticed to me your "high-minded" conduct
on this head. But now for your Man paper, about which I should like to
write more than I can. The great leading idea is quite new to me, viz.
that during late ages, the mind will have been modified more than the
body; yet I had got as far as to see with you that the struggle between
the races of man depended entirely on intellectual and MORAL qualities.
The latter part of the paper I can designate only as grand and most
eloquently done. I have shown your paper to two or three persons who
have been here, and they have been equally struck with it. I am not
sure that I go with you on all minor points: when reading Sir G. Grey's
account of the constant battles of Australian savages, I remember
thinking that natural selection would come in, and likewise with the
Esquimaux, with whom the art of fishing and managing canoes is said to
be hereditary. I rather differ on the rank, under a classificatory point
of view, which you assign to man; I do not think any character simply in
excess ought ever to be used for the higher divisions. Ants would not be
separated from other hymenopterous insects, however high the instinct of
the one, and however low the instincts of the other. With respect to the
differences of race, a conjecture has occurred to me that much may
be due to the correlation of complexion (and consequently hair) with
constitution. Assume that a dusky individual best escaped miasma, and
you will readily see what I mean. I persuaded the Director-General of
the Medical Department of the Army to send printed forms to the surgeons
of all regiments in tropical countries to ascertain this point, but I
dare say I shall never get any returns. Secondly, I suspect that a sort
of sexual selection has been the most powerful means of changing
the races of man. I can show that the different races have a widely
different standard of beauty. Among savages the most powerful men will
have the pick of the women, and they will generally leave the most
descendants. I have collected a few notes on man, but I do not suppose
that I shall ever 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.

Believe me, dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--Our aristocracy is handsomer (more hideous according to a Chinese
or Negro) than the middle classes, from (having the) pick of the women;
but oh, what a scheme is primogeniture for destroying natural selection!
I fear my letter will be barely intelligible to you.

[In February 1867, when the manuscript of 'Animals and Plants' had been
sent to Messrs. Clowes to be printed, and before the proofs began to
come in, he had an interval of spare time, and began a "chapter on Man,"
but he soon found it growing under his hands, and determined to publish
it separately as a "very small volume."

The work was interrupted by the necessity of correcting the proofs of
'Animals and Plants,' and by some botanical work, but was resumed in the
following year, 1868, the moment he could give himself up to it.

He recognized with regret the gradual change in his mind that rendered
continuous work more and more necessary to him as he grew older. This is
expressed in a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker, June 17, 1868, which repeats
to some extent what is expressed in the Autobiography:--

"I am glad you were at the 'Messiah,' it is the one thing that I should
like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to
appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it
is a horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf
for every subject except Science. It sometimes makes me hate Science,
though God knows I ought to be thankful for such a perennial interest,
which makes me forget for some hours every day my accursed stomach."

The work on Man was interrupted by illness in the early summer of 1868,
and he left home on July 16th for Freshwater, in the Isle of Wight,
where he remained with his family until August 21st. Here he made
the acquaintance of Mrs. Cameron. She received the whole family with
open-hearted kindness and hospitality, and my father always retained a
warm feeling of friendship for her. She made an excellent photograph of
him, which was published with the inscription written by him: "I like
this photograph very much better than any other which has been taken of
me." Further interruption occurred in the autumn so that continuous work
on the 'Descent of Man' did not begin until 1869. The following letters
give some idea of the earlier work in 1867:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, February 22, [1867?].

My dear Wallace,

I am hard at work on sexual selection, and am driven half mad by the
number of collateral points which require investigation, such as the
relative number of the two sexes, and especially on polygamy. Can you
aid me with respect to birds which have strongly marked secondary sexual
characters, such as birds of paradise, humming-birds, the Rupicola, or
any other such cases? Many gallinaceous birds certainly are polygamous.
I suppose that birds may be known not to be polygamous if they are seen
during the whole breeding season to associate in pairs, or if the male
incubates or aids in feeding the young. Will you have the kindness to
turn this in your mind? But it is a shame to trouble you now that, as I
am HEARTILY glad to hear, you are at work on your Malayan travels. I am
fearfully puzzled how far to extend your protective views with respect
to the females in various classes. The more I work the more important
sexual selection apparently comes out.

Can butterflies be polygamous! i.e. will one male impregnate more than
one female? Forgive me troubling you, and I dare say I shall have to ask
forgiveness again...

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, February 23 [1867].

Dear Wallace,

I much regretted that I was unable to call on you, but after Monday I
was unable even to leave the house. On Monday evening I called on Bates,
and put a difficulty before him, which he could not answer, and, as on
some former similar occasion, his first suggestion was, "You had better
ask Wallace." My difficulty is, why are 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? Also I want to know whether your FEMALE mimetic butterfly is more
beautiful and brighter than the male. When next in London I must get you
to show me your kingfishers. My health is a dreadful evil; I failed in
half my engagements during this last visit to London.

Believe me, yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, February 26 [1867].

My dear Wallace,

Bates was quite right; you are the man to apply to in a difficulty. I
never heard anything more ingenious than your suggestion (The
suggestion that conspicuous caterpillars or perfect insects (e.g. white
butterflies), which are distasteful to birds, are protected by being
easily recognised and avoided. See Mr. Wallace's 'Natural Selection,'
2nd edition, page 117.), 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. Jenner Weir's
observations published in the Transactions of the Entomolog. Soc. (1869
and 1870) give strong support to the theory in question.) With respect
to the beauty of male butterflies, I must as yet think it is due to
sexual selection. There is some evidence that dragon-flies are attracted
by bright colours; but what leads me to the above belief is, so many
male Orthoptera and Cicadas having musical instruments. This being the
case, the analogy of birds makes me believe in sexual selection with
respect to colour in insects. I wish I had strength and time to make
some of the experiments suggested by you, but I thought butterflies
would not pair in confinement. I am sure I have heard of some such
difficulty. Many years ago I had a dragon-fly painted with gorgeous
colours, but I never had an opportunity of fairly trying it.

The reason of my being so much interested just at present about sexual
selection is, that I have almost resolved to publish a little essay on
the origin of Mankind, and I still strongly think (though I failed
to convince you, and this, to me, is the heaviest blow possible) that
sexual selection has been the main agent in forming the races of man.

By the way, there is another subject which I shall 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? For in
this case I would send to such person a list of queries. I thank you for
your most interesting letter, and remain,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


My dear Wallace,

I thank you much for your two notes. The case of Julia Pastrana (A
bearded woman having an irregular double set of teeth. 'Animals and
Plants,' volume ii. page 328.) is a splendid addition to my other cases
of correlated teeth and hair, and I will add it in correcting the press
of my present volume. Pray let me hear in the course of the summer if
you get any evidence about the gaudy caterpillars. I should much like
to give (or quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way
supported, as suggested by you. It will, however, be a long time hence,
for I can see that sexual selection is growing into quite a large
subject, which I shall introduce into my essay on Man, supposing that
I ever publish it. I had intended giving a chapter on man, inasmuch as
many call him (not QUITE truly) an eminently domesticated animal, but
I found the subject too large for a chapter. Nor shall I be capable of
treating the subject well, and my sole reason for taking it up is, that
I am pretty well convinced that sexual selection has played an important
part in the formation of races, and sexual selection has always been a
subject which has interested me much. I have been very glad to see your
impression from memory on the expression of Malays. I fully agree with
you that the subject is in no way an important one; it is simply a
"hobby-horse" with me, about twenty-seven years old; and AFTER thinking
that I would write an essay on man, it flashed on me that I could work
in some "supplemental remarks on expression." After the horrid,
tedious, dull work of my present huge, and I fear unreadable, book ['The
Variation of Animals and Plants'], I thought I would amuse myself with
my hobby-horse. The subject is, I think, more curious and more amenable
to scientific treatment than you seem willing to allow. I want, anyhow,
to upset Sir C. Bell's view, given in his most interesting work, 'The
Anatomy of Expression,' that certain muscles have been given to man
solely that he may reveal to other men his feelings. I want to try
and show how expressions have arisen. That is a good suggestion about
newspapers, but my experience tells me that private applications are
generally most fruitful. I will, however, see if I can get the queries
inserted in some Indian paper. I do not know the names or addresses of
any other papers.

... My two female amanuenses are busy with friends, and I fear this
scrawl will give you much trouble to read. With many thanks,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[The following letter may be worth giving, as an example of his sources
of information, and as showing what were the thoughts at this time
occupying him:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, February 22 [1867].

... Many thanks for all the curious facts about the unequal number of the
sexes in Crustacea, but the more I investigate this subject the deeper
I sink in doubt and difficulty. Thanks also for the confirmation of
the rivalry of Cicadae. I have often reflected with surprise on the
diversity of the means for producing music with insects, and still more
with birds. We thus get a high idea of the importance of song in the
animal kingdom. Please to tell me where I can find any account of the
auditory organs in the Orthoptera. Your facts are quite new to me.
Scudder has described an insect in the Devonian strata, furnished with
a stridulating apparatus. I believe he is to be trusted, and, if so, the
apparatus is of astonishing antiquity. After reading Landois's paper I
have been working at the stridulating organ in the Lamellicorn beetles,
in expectation of finding it sexual; but I have only found it as yet in
two cases, and in these it was equally developed in both sexes. I wish
you would look at any of your common lamellicorns, and take hold of
both males and females, and observe whether they make the squeaking or
grating noise equally. If they do not, you could, perhaps, send me a
male and female in a light little box. How curious it is that there
should be a special organ for an object apparently so unimportant as
squeaking. Here is another point; have you any toucans? if so, ask any
trustworthy hunter whether the beaks of the males, or of both sexes, are
more brightly coloured during the breeding season than at other times
of the year... Heaven knows whether I shall ever live to make use of
half the valuable facts which you have communicated to me! Your paper
on Balanus armatus, translated by Mr. Dallas, has just appeared in our
'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' and I have read it with the
greatest interest. I never thought that I should live to hear of a
hybrid Balanus! I am very glad that you have seen the cement tubes; they
appear to me extremely curious, and, as far as I know, you are the first
man who has verified my observations on this point.

With most cordial thanks for all your kindness, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.


My dear Sir,

I return you my SINCERE thanks for your long letter, which I consider a
great compliment, and which is quite full of most interesting facts and
views. Your references and remarks will be of great use should a new
edition of my book ('Variation of Animals and Plants.') be demanded, but
this is hardly probable, for the whole edition was sold within the first
week, and another large edition immediately reprinted, which I should
think would supply the demand for ever. You ask me when I shall publish
on the 'Variation of Species in a State of Nature.' I have had the MS.
for another volume almost ready during several years, but I was so much
fatigued by my last book that I determined to amuse myself by publishing
a short essay on the 'Descent of Man.' I was partly led to do this by
having been taunted that I concealed my views, but chiefly from the
interest which I had long taken in the subject. Now this essay has
branched out into some collateral subjects, and I suppose will take me
more than a year to complete. I shall then begin on 'Species,' but my
health makes me a very slow workman. I hope that you will excuse these
details, which I have given to show that you will have plenty of time to
publish your views first, which will be a great advantage to me. Of all
the curious facts which you mention in your letter, I think that of
the strong inheritance of the scalp-muscles has interested me most. I
presume that you would not object to my giving this very curious case on
your authority. As I believe all anatomists look at the scalp-muscles
as a remnant of the Panniculus carnosus which is common to all the lower
quadrupeds, I should look at the unusual development and inheritance of
these muscles as probably a case of reversion. Your observation on
so many remarkable men in noble families having been illegitimate is
extremely curious; and should I ever meet any one capable of writing an
essay on this subject, I will mention your remarks as a good suggestion.
Dr. Hooker has several times remarked to me that morals and politics
would be very interesting if discussed like any branch of natural
history, and this is nearly to the same effect with your remarks...

CHARLES DARWIN TO L. AGASSIZ. Down, August 19, 1868.

Dear Sir,

I thank you cordially for your very kind letter. I certainly thought
that you had formed so low an opinion of my scientific work that it
might have appeared indelicate in me to have asked for information from
you, but it never occurred to me that my letter would have been shown to
you. I have never for a moment doubted your kindness and generosity, and
I hope you will not think it presumption in me to say, that when we met,
many years ago, at the British Association at Southampton, I felt for
you the warmest admiration.

Your information on the Amazonian fishes has interested me EXTREMELY,
and tells me exactly what I wanted to know. I was aware, through notes
given me by Dr. Gunther, that many fishes differed sexually in colour
and other characters, but I was particularly anxious to learn how far
this was the case with those fishes in which the male, differently from
what occurs with most birds, takes the largest share in the care of
the ova and young. Your letter has not only interested me much, but
has greatly gratified me in other respects, and I return you my sincere
thanks for your kindness. Pray believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, Sunday, August 23 [1868].

My dear old Friend,

I have received your note. I can hardly say how pleased I have been
at the success of your address (Sir Joseph Hooker was President of the
British Association at the Norwich Meeting in 1868.), and of the
whole meeting. I have seen the "Times", "Telegraph", "Spectator", and
"Athenaeum", and have heard of other favourable newspapers, and have
ordered a bundle. There is a "chorus of praise." The "Times" reported
miserably, i.e. as far as errata was concerned; but I was very glad
at the leader, for I thought the way you brought in the megalithic
monuments most happy. (The British Association was desirous of
interesting the Government in certain modern cromlech builders, the
Khasia race of East Bengal, in order that their megalithic monuments
might be efficiently described.) I particularly admired Tyndall's little
speech (Professor Tyndall was President of Section A.)... The "Spectator"
pitches a little into you about Theology, in accordance with its usual

Your great success has rejoiced my heart. I have just carefully read the
whole address in the "Athenaeum"; and though, as you know, I liked it
very much when you read it to me, yet, as I was trying all the time to
find fault, I missed to a certain extent the effect as a whole; and this
now appears to me most striking and excellent. How you must rejoice at
all your bothering labour and anxiety having had so grand an end. I must
say a word about myself; never has such a eulogium been passed on me,
and it makes me very proud. I cannot get over my AMAZEMENT at what you
say about my botanical work. By Jove, as far as my memory goes, you have
strengthened instead of weakened some of the expressions. What is far
more important than anything personal, is the conviction which I feel
that you will have immensely advanced the belief in the evolution of
species. This will follow from the publicity of the occasion, your
position, so responsible, as President, and your own high reputation.
It will make a great step in public opinion, I feel sure, and I had not
thought of this before. The "Athenaeum" takes your snubbing (Sir Joseph
Hooker made some reference to the review of 'Animals and Plants' in the
"Athenaeum" of February 15, 1868.) with the utmost mildness. I certainly
do rejoice over the snubbing, and hope [the reviewer] will feel it a
little. Whenever you have SPARE time to write again, tell me whether
any astronomers (In discussing the astronomer's objection to Evolution,
namely that our globe has not existed for a long enough period to give
time for the assumed transmutation of living beings, Hooker challenged
Whewell's dictum that, astronomy is the queen of sciences--the only
perfect science.) took your remarks in ill part; as they now stand they
do not seem at all too harsh and presumptuous. Many of your sentences
strike me as extremely felicitous and eloquent. That of Lyell's
"under-pinning" (After a eulogium on Sir Charles Lyell's heroic
renunciation of his old views in accepting Evolution, Sir J.D. Hooker
continued, "Well may he be proud of a superstructure, raised on the
foundations of an insecure doctrine, when he finds that he can underpin
it and substitute a new foundation; and after all is finished, survey
his edifice, not only more secure but more harmonious in its proportion
than it was before."), is capital. Tell me, was Lyell pleased? I am so
glad that you remembered my old dedication. (The 'Naturalist's Voyage'
was dedicated to Lyell.) Was Wallace pleased?

How about photographs? Can you spare time for a line to our dear
Mrs. Cameron? She came to see us off, and loaded us with presents of
photographs, and Erasmus called after her, "Mrs. Cameron, there are six
people in this house all in love with you." When I paid her, she cried
out, "Oh what a lot of money!" and ran to boast to her husband.

I must not write any more, though I am in tremendous spirits at your
brilliant success.

Yours ever affectionately, C. DARWIN.

[In the "Athenaeum" of November 29, 1868, appeared an article which was
in fact a reply to Sir Joseph Hooker's remarks at Norwich. He seems to
have consulted my father as to the wisdom of answering the article. My
father wrote on September 1:

"In my opinion Dr. Joseph Dalton Hooker need take no notice of the
attack in the "Athenaeum" in reference to Mr. Charles Darwin. What
an ass the man is to think he cuts one to the quick by giving one's
Christian name in full. How transparently false is the statement that my
sole groundwork is from pigeons, because I state I have worked them
out more fully than other beings! He muddles together two books of

The following letter refers to a paper ('Transactions of the Ottawa
Academy of Natural Sciences,' 1868, by John D. Caton, late Chief Justice
of Illinois.) by Judge Caton, of which my father often spoke with

CHARLES DARWIN TO JOHN D. CATON. Down, September 18, 1868.

Dear Sir,

I beg leave to thank you very sincerely for your kindness in sending me,
through Mr. Walsh, your admirable paper on American Deer.

It is quite full of most interesting observations, stated with the
greatest clearness. I have seldom read a paper with more interest, for
it abounds with facts of direct use for my work. Many of them consist
of little points which hardly any one besides yourself has observed, or
perceived the importance of recording. I would instance the age at which
the horns are developed (a point on which I have lately been in vain
searching for information), the rudiment of horns in the female elk, and
especially the different nature of the plants devoured by the deer and
elk, and several other points. With cordial thanks for the pleasure and
instruction which you have afforded me, and with high respect for your
power of observation, I beg leave to remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The following extract from a letter (September 24, 1868) to the
Marquis de Saporta, the eminent palaeo-botanist, refers to the growth of
evolutionary views in France (In 1868 he was pleased at being asked to
authorise a French translation of his 'Naturalist's Voyage.':--

"As I have formerly read with great interest many of your papers on
fossil plants, you may believe with what high satisfaction I hear that
you are a believer in the gradual evolution of species. I had supposed
that my book on the 'Origin of Species' had made very little impression
in France, and therefore it delights me to hear a different statement
from you. All the great authorities of the Institute seem firmly
resolved to believe in the immutability of species, and this has always
astonished me... almost the one exception, as far as I know, is M.
Gaudry, and I think he will be soon one of the chief leaders in
Zoological Palaeontology in Europe; and now I am delighted to hear that
in the sister department of Botany you take nearly the same view."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO E. HAECKEL. Down, November 19 [1868].

My dear Haeckel,

I must write to you again, for two reasons. Firstly, to thank you for
your letter about your baby, which has quite charmed both me and
my wife; I heartily congratulate you on its birth. I remember being
surprised in my own case how soon the paternal instincts became
developed, and in you they seem to be unusually strong,... I hope the
large blue eyes and the principles of inheritance will make your child
as good a naturalist as you are; but, judging from my own experience,
you will be astonished to find how the whole mental disposition of your
children changes with advancing years. A young child, and the same when
nearly grown, sometimes differ almost as much as do a caterpillar and

The second point is to congratulate you on the projected translation of
your great work ('Generelle Morphologie,' 1866. No English translation
of this book has appeared.), about which I heard from Huxley last
Sunday. I am heartily glad of it, but how it has been brought about,
I know not, for a friend who supported the supposed translation at
Norwich, told me he thought there would be no chance of it. Huxley tells
me that you consent to omit and shorten some parts, and I am confident
that this is very wise. As I know your object is to instruct the public,
you will assuredly thus get many more readers in England. Indeed, I
believe that almost every book would be improved by condensation. I
have been reading a good deal of your last book ('Die Naturliche
Schopfungs-Geschichte,' 1868. It was translated and published in
1876, under the title, 'The History of Creation.'), and the style is
beautifully clear and easy to me; but why it should differ so much in
this respect from your great work I cannot imagine. I have not yet read
the first part, but began with the chapter on Lyell and myself, which
you will easily believe pleased me VERY MUCH. I think Lyell, who
was apparently much pleased by your sending him a copy, is also much
gratified by this chapter. (See Lyell's interesting letter to Haeckel.
'Life of Sir C. Lyell,' ii. page 435.) 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. Reflect on the monocotyledonous plant just discovered in the
PRIMORDIAL formation in Sweden.

I repeat how glad I am at the prospect of the translation, for I fully
believe that this work and all your works will have a great influence in
the advancement of Science.

Believe me, my dear Haeckel, your sincere friend, CHARLES DARWIN.

[It was in November of this year that he sat for the bust by Mr.
Woolner: he wrote:--

"I should have written long ago, but I have been pestered with stupid
letters, and am undergoing the purgatory of sitting for hours to
Woolner, who, however, is wonderfully pleasant, and lightens as much as
man can, the penance; as far as I can judge, it will make a fine bust."

If I may criticise the work of so eminent a sculptor as Mr. Woolner,
I should say that the point in which the bust fails somewhat as a
portrait, is that it has a certain air, almost of pomposity, which seems
to me foreign to my father's expression.]


[At the beginning of the year he was at work in preparing the fifth
edition of the 'Origin.' This work was begun on the day after Christmas,
1868, and was continued for "forty-six days," as he notes in his diary,
i.e. until February 10th, 1869. He then, February 11th, returned to
Sexual Selection, and continued at this subject (excepting for ten days
given up to Orchids, and a week in London), until June 10th, when he
went with his family to North Wales, where he remained about seven
weeks, returning to Down on July 31st.

Caerdeon, the house where he stayed, is built on the north shore of the
beautiful Barmouth estuary, and is pleasantly placed, in being close
to wild hill country behind, as well as to the picturesque wooded
"hummocks," between the steeper hills and the river. My father was ill
and somewhat depressed throughout this visit, and I think felt saddened
at being imprisoned by his want of strength, and unable even to reach
the hills over which he had once wandered for days 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."

With regard to the fifth edition of the 'Origin,' he wrote to Mr.
Wallace (January 22, 1869):--

"I have been interrupted in my regular work in preparing a new edition
of the 'Origin,' which has cost me much labour, and which I hope I have
considerably improved in two or three important points. I always thought
individual differences more important than single variations, but now I
have come to the conclusion that they are of paramount importance, and
in this I believe I agree with you. Fleeming Jenkin's arguments have
convinced me."

This somewhat obscure sentence was explained, February 2, in another
letter to Mr. Wallace:--

"I must have expressed myself atrociously; I meant to say exactly the
reverse of what you have understood. F. Jenkin argued in the 'North
British Review' against single variations ever being perpetuated, and
has convinced me, though not in quite so broad a manner as here put. I
always thought individual differences more important; but I was blind
and thought that single variations might be preserved much oftener than
I now see is possible or probable. I mentioned this in my former note
merely because I believed that you had come to a similar conclusion, and
I like much to be in accord with you. I believe I was mainly deceived
by single variations offering such simple illustrations, as when man

The late Mr. Fleeming Jenkin's review, on the 'Origin of Species,'
was published in the 'North British Review' for June 1867. It is not a
little remarkable that the criticisms, which my father, as I believe,
felt to be the most valuable ever made on his views should have come,
not from a professed naturalist but from a Professor of Engineering.

It is impossible to give in a short compass an account of Fleeming
Jenkin's argument. My father's copy of the paper (ripped out of the
volume as usual, and tied with a bit of string) is annotated in pencil
in many places. I may quote one passage opposite which my father has
written "good sneers"--but it should be remembered that he used the word
"sneer" in rather a special sense, not as necessarily implying a feeling
of bitterness in the critic, but rather in the sense of "banter."
Speaking of the 'true believer,' Fleeming Jenkin says, page 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 page xviii.). He thus practically gave
up the difficult task of understanding whether or no Sir R. Owen claims
to have discovered the principle of Natural Selection. Adding, "As
far as the mere enunciation of the principle of Natural Selection is
concerned, it is quite immaterial whether or not Professor Owen preceded
me, for both of us... were long ago preceded by Dr. Wells and Mr.

A somewhat severe critique on the fifth edition, by Mr. John Robertson,
appeared in the "Athenaeum", August 14, 1869. The writer comments with
some little bitterness on the success of the 'Origin:' "Attention is not
acceptance. Many editions do not mean real success. The book has sold;
the guess has been talked over; and the circulation and discussion sum
up the significance of the editions." Mr. Robertson makes the true, but
misleading statement: "Mr. Darwin prefaces his fifth English edition
with an Essay, which he calls 'An Historical Sketch,' etc." As a matter
of fact the Sketch appeared in the third edition in 1861.

Mr. Robertson goes on to say that the Sketch ought to be called a
collection of extracts anticipatory or corroborative of the hypothesis
of Natural Selection. "For no account is given of any hostile opinions.
The fact is very significant. This historical sketch thus resembles the
histories of the reign of Louis XVIII., published after the Restoration,
from which the Republic and the Empire, Robespierre and Buonaparte were

The following letter to Prof. Victor Carus gives an idea of the
character of the new edition of the 'Origin:']


... I have gone very carefully through the whole, trying to make
some parts clearer, and adding a few discussions and facts of some
importance. The new edition is only two pages at the end longer than
the old; though in one part nine pages in advance, for I have condensed
several parts and omitted some passages. The translation I fear will
cause you a great deal of trouble; the alterations took me six weeks,
besides correcting the press; you ought to make a special agreement with
M. Koch [the publisher]. Many of the corrections are only a few words,
but they have been made from the evidence on various points appearing to
have become a little stronger or weaker.

Thus I have been led to place somewhat more value on the definite and
direct action of external conditions; to think the lapse of time, as
measured by years, not quite so great as most geologists have thought;
and to infer that single variations are of even less importance, in
comparison with individual differences, than I formerly thought. I
mention these points because I have been thus led to alter in many
places A FEW WORDS; and unless you go through the whole new edition, one
part will not agree with another, which would be a great blemish...

[The desire that his views might spread in France was always strong with
my father, and he was therefore justly annoyed to find that in 1869
the Editor of the first 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 into French.

He wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I must enjoy myself and tell you about Mdlle. C. Royer, who translated
the 'Origin' into French, and for whose second edition I took infinite
trouble. She has now just brought out a third edition without informing
me, so that all the corrections, etc., 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 pick-pocket
for Pangenesis, which of course has no relation to the 'Origin.' So
I wrote to Paris; and Reinwald agrees to bring out at once a new
translation from the fifth English edition, in competition with her
third edition... This fact shows that "evolution of species" must at last
be spreading in France."

With reference to the spread of Evolution among the orthodox, the
following letter is of some interest. In March he received, from the
author, a copy of a lecture by Rev. T.R.R. Stebbing, given before the
Torquay Natural History Society, February 1, 1869, bearing the title
"Darwinism." My father wrote to Mr. Stebbing:]

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in sending me your
spirited and interesting lecture; if a layman had delivered the same
address, he would have done good service in spreading what, as I
hope and believe, is to a large extent the truth; but a clergyman in
delivering such an address does, as it appears to me, much more good
by his power to shake ignorant prejudices, and by setting, if I may be
permitted to say so, an admirable example of liberality.

With sincere respect, I beg leave to remain, Dear Sir, yours faithfully
and obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The references to the subject of expression in the following letter are
explained by the fact that my father's original intention was to give
his essay on this subject as a chapter in the 'Descent of Man,' which
in its turn grew, as we have seen, out of a proposed chapter in 'Animals
and Plants:']

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, February 22 [1869?].

... Although you have aided me to so great an extent in many ways, I am
going to beg for any information on two other subjects. I am preparing
a discussion on "Sexual Selection," and I want much to know how low down
in the animal scale sexual selection of a particular kind extends.
Do you know of any lowly organised animals, in which the sexes are
separated, and in which the male differs from the female in arms of
offence, like the horns and tusks of male mammals, or in gaudy plumage
and ornaments, as with birds and butterflies? I do not refer to
secondary sexual characters, by which the male is able to discover
the female, like the plumed antennae of moths, or by which the male is
enabled to seize the female, like the curious pincers described by you
in some of the lower Crustaceans. But what I want to know is, how low
in the scale sexual differences occur which require some degree of
self-consciousness in the males, as weapons by which they fight for the
female, or ornaments which attract the opposite sex. Any differences
between males and females which follow different habits of life would
have to be excluded. I think you will easily see what I wish to learn.
A priori, it would never have been anticipated that insects would have
been attracted by the beautiful colouring of the opposite sex, or by
the sounds emitted by the various musical instruments of the male
Orthoptera. I know no one so likely to answer this question as yourself,
and should be grateful for any information, however small.

My second subject refers to expression of countenance, to which I
have long attended, and on which I feel a keen interest; but to which,
unfortunately, I did not attend when I had the opportunity of observing
various races of man. It has occurred to me that you might, without much
trouble, make a FEW observations for me, in the course of some months,
on Negroes, or possibly on native South Americans, though I care most
about Negroes; accordingly I enclose some questions as a guide, and if
you could answer me even one or two I should feel truly obliged. I am
thinking of writing a little essay on the Origin of Mankind, as I
have been taunted with concealing my opinions, and I should do this
immediately after the completion of my present book. In this case I
should add a chapter on the cause or meaning of expression...

[The remaining letters of this year deal chiefly with the books,
reviews, etc., which interested him.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO H. THIEL. Down, February 25, 1869.

Dear Sir,

On my return home after a short absence, I found your very courteous
note, and the pamphlet ('Ueber einige Formen der Landwirthschaftlichen
Genossenschaften.' by Dr. H. Thiel, then of the Agricultural Station
at Poppelsdorf.), and I hasten to thank you for both, and for the very
honourable mention which you make of my name. You will readily believe
how much interested I am in observing that you apply to moral and social
questions analogous views to those which I have used in regard to the
modification of species. It did not occur to me formerly that my
views could be extended to such widely different, and most important,
subjects. With much respect, I beg leave to remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully and obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, March 19 [1869].

My dear Huxley,

Thanks for your 'Address.' (In his 'Anniversary Address' to the
Geological Society, 1869, Mr. Huxley criticised Sir William Thomson's
paper ('Trans. Geol. Soc., Glasgow,' volume iii.) "On Geological Time.")
People complain of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it is a much
greater shame and injustice that any one man should have the power to
write so many brilliant essays as you have lately done. There is no one
who writes like you... If I were in your shoes, I should tremble for my
life. I agree with all you say, except that I must think that you
draw too great a distinction between the evolutionists and the

I find that the few sentences which I have sent to press in the 'Origin'
about the age of the world will do fairly well...

Ever yours, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, March 22 [1869].

My dear Wallace,

I have finished your book ('The Malay Archipelago,' etc., 1869.); it
seems to me excellent, and at the same time most pleasant to read. That
you ever returned alive is wonderful after all your risks from illness
and sea voyages, especially that most interesting one to Waigiou and
back. Of all the impressions which I have received from your book, the
strongest is that your perseverance in the cause of science was heroic.
Your descriptions of catching the splendid butterflies have made me
quite envious, and at the same time have made me feel almost young
again, so vividly have they brought before my mind old days when
I collected, though I never made such captures as yours. Certainly
collecting is the best sport in the world. I shall be astonished if
your book has not a great success; and your splendid generalizations on
Geographical Distribution, with which I am familiar from your papers,
will be new to most of your readers. I think I enjoyed most the Timor
case, as it is best demonstrated; but perhaps Celebes is really the
most valuable. I should prefer looking at the whole Asiatic continent
as having formerly been more African in its fauna, than admitting the
former existence of a continent across the Indian Ocean...

[The following letter refers to Mr. Wallace's article in the April
number of the 'Quarterly Review' (My father wrote to Mr. Murray: "The
article by Wallace is inimitably good, and it is a great triumph that
such an article should appear in the 'Quarterly,' and will make the
Bishop of Oxford and --gnash their teeth."), 1869, which to a large
extent deals with the tenth edition of Sir Charles Lyell's 'Principles,'
published in 1867 and 1868. The review contains a striking passage
on Sir Charles Lyell's confession of evolutionary faith in the tenth
edition of his 'Principles,' which is worth quoting: "The history of
science hardly 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."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, April 14, 1869.

My dear Wallace,

I have been wonderfully interested by your article, and I should think
Lyell will be much gratified by it. I declare if I had been editor, and
had the power of directing you, I should have selected for discussion
the very points which you have chosen. I have often said to younger
geologists (for I began in the year 1830) that they did not know what a
revolution Lyell had effected; nevertheless, your extracts from Cuvier
have quite astonished me. Though not able really to judge, I am inclined
to put more confidence in Croll than you seem to do; but I have been
much struck by many of your remarks on degradation. Thomson's views of
the recent age of the world have been for some time one of my sorest
troubles, and so I have been glad to read what you say. Your exposition
of Natural Selection seems to me inimitably good; there never lived a
better expounder than you. I was also much pleased at your discussing
the difference between our views and Lamarck's. One sometimes sees the
odious expression, "Justice to myself compels me to say," etc., but
you are the only man I ever heard of who persistently does himself an
injustice, and never demands justice. Indeed, you ought in the review to
have alluded to your paper in the 'Linnean Journal,' and I feel sure all
our friends will agree in this. But you cannot "Burke" yourself, however
much you may try, as may be seen in half the articles which appear. I
was asked but the other day by a German professor for your paper,
which I sent him. Altogether I look at your article as appearing in the
'Quarterly' as an immense triumph for our cause. I presume that your
remarks on Man are those to which you alluded in your note. If you had
not told me I should have thought that they had been added by some one
else. As you expected, I differ grievously from you, and I am very
sorry for it. I can see no necessity for calling in an additional and
proximate cause in regard to man. (Mr. Wallace points out that any
one acquainted merely with the "unaided productions of nature," might
reasonably doubt whether a dray-horse, for example, could have been
developed by the power of man directing the "action of the laws of
variation, multiplication, and survival, for his own purpose. We know,
however, that this has been done, and we must therefore admit the
possibility that in the development of the human race, a higher
intelligence has guided the same laws for nobler ends.") But the subject
is too long for a letter. I have been particularly glad to read your
discussion because I am now writing and thinking much about man.

I hope that your Malay book sells well; I was extremely pleased with
the article in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science,' inasmuch as it is
thoroughly appreciative of your work: alas! you will probably agree with
what the writer says about the uses of the bamboo.

I hear that there is also a good article in the "Saturday Review", but
have heard nothing more about it. Believe me my dear Wallace,

Yours ever sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, May 4 [1869].

My dear Lyell,

I have been applied to for some photographs (carte de visite) to be
copied to ornament the diplomas of honorary members of a new Society
in Servia! Will you give me one for this purpose? I possess only a
full-length one of you in my own album, and the face is too small, I
think, to be copied.

I hope that you get on well with your work, and have satisfied yourself
on the difficult point of glacier lakes. Thank heaven, I have finished
correcting the new edition of the 'Origin,' and am at my old work of
Sexual Selection.

Wallace's article struck me as ADMIRABLE; how well he brought out the
revolution which you effected some 30 years ago. I thought I had fully
appreciated the revolution, but I was astounded at the extracts from
Cuvier. What a good sketch of natural selection! but I was dreadfully
disappointed about Man, it seems to me incredibly strange...; and had I
not known to the contrary, would have sworn it had been inserted by some
other hand. But I believe that you will not agree quite in all this.

My dear Lyell, ever yours sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.L.A. DE QUATREFAGES. Down, May 28 [1869 or 1870].

Dear Sir,

I have received and read your volume (Essays reprinted from the 'Revue
des Deux Mondes,' under the title 'Histoire Naturelle Generale,' etc.,
1869.), and am much obliged for your present. The whole strikes me as a
wonderfully clear and able discussion, and I was much interested by it
to the last page. It is impossible that any account of my views could be
fairer, or, as far as space permitted, fuller, than that which you
have given. The way in which you repeatedly mention my name is most
gratifying to me. When I had finished the second part, I thought that
you had stated the case so favourably that you would make more converts
on my side than on your own side. On reading the subsequent parts I
had to change my sanguine view. In these latter parts many of your
strictures are severe enough, but all are given with perfect courtesy
and fairness. I can truly say I would rather be criticised by you in
this manner than praised by many others. I agree with some of your
criticisms, but differ entirely from the remainder; but I will not
trouble you with any remarks. I may, however, say, that you must have
been deceived by the French translation, as you infer that I believe
that the Parus and the Nuthatch (or Sitta) are related by direct
filiation. I wished only to show by an imaginary illustration, how
either instincts or structures might first change. If you had seen Canis
Magellanicus alive you would have perceived how foxlike its appearance
is, or if you had heard its voice, I think that you would never have
hazarded the idea that it was a domestic dog run wild; but this does
not much concern me. It is curious how nationality influences opinion; a
week hardly passes without my hearing of some naturalist in Germany
who supports my views, and often puts an exaggerated value on my works;
whilst in France I have not heard of a single zoologist, except M.
Gaudry (and he only partially), who supports my views. But I must have
a good many readers as my books are translated, and I must hope,
notwithstanding your strictures, that I may influence some embryo
naturalists in France.

You frequently speak of my good faith, and no compliment can be more
delightful to me, but I may return you the compliment with interest, for
every word which you write bears the stamp of your cordial love for the
truth. Believe me, dear Sir, with sincere respect,

Yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, October 14 [1869].

My dear Huxley,

I have been delighted to see your review of Haeckel (A review of
Haeckel's 'Schopfungs-Geschichte.' The "Academy", 1869. Reprinted in
'Critiques and Addresses,' page 303.), and as usual you pile honours
high on my head. But I write now (REQUIRING NO ANSWER) to groan a
little over what you have said about rudimentary organs. (In discussing
Teleology and Haeckel's "Dysteleology," Prof. Huxley says:--"Such cases
as the existence of lateral rudiments of toes, in the foot of a horse,
place us in a dilemma. For either these rudiments are of no use to the
animals, in which case... they surely ought to have disappeared; or
they are of some use to the animal, in which case they are of no use as
arguments against Teleology."--('Critiques and Addresses,' page 308.)
Many heretics will take advantage of what you have said. I cannot but
think that the explanation given at page 541 of the last edition of
the 'Origin' of the long retention of rudimentary organs and of their
greater relative size during early life, is satisfactory. Their final
and complete abortion seems to me a much greater difficulty. Do look
in my 'Variations under Domestication,' volume ii. page 397, at what
Pangenesis suggests on this head, though I did not dare to put in the
'Origin.' The passage bears also a little on the struggle between the
molecules or gemmules. ("It is a probable hypothesis, that what the
world is to organisms in general, each organism is to the molecules of
which it is composed. Multitudes of these having diverse tendencies, are
competing with one another for opportunity to exist and multiply; and
the organism, as a whole, is as much the product of the molecules which
are victorious as the Fauna, or Flora, of a country is the product of
the victorious organic beings in it."--('Critiques and Addresses,' page
309.) There is likewise a word or two indirectly bearing on this subject
at pages 394-395. It won't take you five minutes, so do look at these
passages. I am very glad that you have been bold enough to give your
idea about Natural Selection amongst the molecules, though I can not
quite follow you.


[My father wrote in his Diary:--"The whole of this year [1870] at work
on the 'Descent of Man.'... Went to Press August 30, 1870."

The letters are again of miscellaneous interest, dealing, not only with
his work, but also serving to indicate the course of his reading.]


My dear Sir,

I do not know whether you will consider me a very troublesome man, but
I have just finished your book ('Comparative Longevity.'), and can not
resist telling you how the whole has much interested me. No doubt, as
you say, there must be much speculation on such a subject, and certain
results can not be reached; but all your views are highly suggestive,
and to my mind that is high praise. I have been all the more interested
as I am now writing on closely allied though not quite identical points.
I was pleased to see you refer to my much despised child, 'Pangenesis,'
who I think will some day, under some better nurse, turn out a fine
stripling. It has also pleased me to see how thoroughly you appreciate
(and I do not think that this is general with the men of science) H.
Spencer; I suspect that hereafter he will be looked at as by far the
greatest living philosopher in England; perhaps equal to any that have
lived. But I have no business to trouble you with my notions. With
sincere thanks for the interest which your work has given me,

I remain, yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The next letter refers to Mr. Wallace's 'Natural Selection' (1870), a
collection of essays reprinted with certain alterations of which a list
is given in the volume:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, April 20 [1870].

My dear Wallace,

I have just received your book, and read the preface. There never has
been passed on me, or indeed on any one, a higher eulogium than yours.
I wish that I fully deserved it. Your modesty and candour are very far
from new to me. I hope it is a satisfaction to you to reflect--and very
few things in my life have been more satisfactory to me--that we have
never felt any jealousy towards each other, though in one sense rivals.
I believe that I can say this of myself with truth, and I am absolutely
sure that it is true of you.

You have been a good Christian to give a list of your additions, for
I want much to read them, and I should hardly have had time just at
present to have gone through all your articles. Of course I shall
immediately read those that are new or greatly altered, and I will
endeavour to be as honest as can reasonably be expected. Your book looks
remarkably well got up.

Believe me, my dear Wallace, to remain, Yours very cordially, CH.

[Here follow one or two letters indicating the progress of the 'Descent
of Man;' the woodcuts referred to were being prepared for that work:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. GUNTHER. (Dr. Gunther, Keeper of Zoology in the
British Museum.) March 23, [1870?].

Dear Gunther,

As I do not know Mr. Ford's address, will you hand him this note, which
is written solely to express my unbounded admiration of the woodcuts.
I fairly gloat over them. The only evil is that they will make all
the other woodcuts look very poor! They are all excellent, and for the
feathers I declare I think it the most wonderful woodcut I ever saw; I
can not help touching it to make sure that it is smooth. How I wish to
see the two other, and even more important, ones of the feathers, and
the four [of] reptiles, etc. Once again accept my very sincere thanks
for all your kindness. I am greatly indebted to Mr. Ford. Engravings
have always hitherto been my greatest misery, and now they are a real
pleasure to me.

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--I thought I should have been in press by this time, but my subject
has branched off into sub-branches, which have cost me infinite time,
and heaven knows when I shall have all my MS. ready, but I am never


My dear Dr. Gunther,

Sincere thanks. Your answers are wonderfully clear and complete. I have
some analogous questions on reptiles, etc., which I will send in a few
days, and then I think I shall cause no more trouble. I will get the
books you refer me to. The case of the Solenostoma (In most of the
Lophobranchii the male has a marsupial sack in which the eggs are
hatched, and in these species the male is slightly brighter coloured
than the female. But in Solenostoma the female is the hatcher, and
is also the more brightly coloured.--'Descent of Man,' ii. 21.) is
magnificent, so exactly analogous to that of those birds in which the
female is the more gay, but ten times better for me, as she is the
incubator. As I crawl on with the successive classes I am astonished to
find how similar the rules are about the nuptial or "wedding dress" of
all animals. The subject has begun to interest me in an extraordinary
degree; but I must try not to fall into my common error of being too
speculative. But a drunkard might as well say he would drink a little
and not too much! My essay, as far as fishes, batrachians and reptiles
are concerned, will be in fact yours, only written by me. With hearty

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[The following letter is of interest, as showing the excessive care and
pains which my father took in forming his opinion on a difficult point:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, September 23 [undated].

My dear Wallace,

I am very much obliged for all your trouble in writing me your long
letter, which I will keep by me and ponder over. To answer it would
require at least 200 folio pages! If you could see how often I have
re-written some pages you would know how anxious I am to arrive as near
as I can to the truth. I lay great stress on what I know takes place
under domestication; I think we start with different fundamental notions
on inheritance. I find it is most difficult, but not I think impossible,
to see how, for instance, a few red feathers appearing on the head of a
male bird, and which ARE AT FIRST TRANSMITTED TO BOTH SEXES, could come
to be transmitted to males alone. It is not enough that females should
be produced from the males with red feathers, which should be destitute
of red feathers; but these females must have a LATENT TENDENCY to
produce such feathers, otherwise they would cause deterioration in the
red head-feathers of their male offspring. Such latent tendency would be
shown by their producing the red feathers when old, or diseased in their
ovaria. But I have no difficulty in making the whole head red if the
few red feathers in the male from the first tended to be sexually
transmitted. I am quite willing to admit that the female may have been
modified, either at the same time or subsequently, for protection by the
accumulation of variations limited in their transmission to the female
sex. I owe to your writings the consideration of this latter point. But
I cannot yet persuade myself that females ALONE have often been modified
for protection. Should you grudge the trouble briefly to tell me whether
you believe that the plainer head and less bright colours of a female
chaffinch, the less red on the head and less clean colours of the female
goldfinch, the much less red on the breast of the female bull-finch, the
paler crest of golden-crested wren, etc., have been acquired by them for
protection. I cannot think so any more than I can that the considerable
differences between female and male house sparrow, or much greater
brightness of the male Parus coeruleus (both of which build under cover)
than of the female Parus, are related to protection. I even mis-doubt
much whether the less blackness of the female blackbird is for

Again, can you give me reasons for believing that the moderate
differences between the female pheasant, the female Gallus bankiva,
the female black grouse, the pea-hen, the female partridge, [and their
respective males,] have all special references to protection under
slightly different conditions? I, of course, admit that they are all
protected by dull colours, derived, as I think, from some dull-ground
progenitor; and I account partly for their difference by partial
transference of colour from the male and by other means too long to
specify; but I earnestly wish to see reason to believe that each is
specially adapted for concealment to its environment.

I grieve to differ from you, and it actually terrifies me and makes me
constantly distrust myself. I fear we shall never quite understand each
other. I value the cases of bright-coloured, incubating male fishes, and
brilliant female butterflies, solely as showing that one sex may be made
brilliant without any necessary transference of beauty to the other sex;
for in these cases I cannot suppose that beauty in the other sex was
checked by selection.

I fear this letter will trouble you to read it. A very short answer
about your belief in regard to the female finches and gallinaceae would

Believe me, my dear Wallace, Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, May 25 [1870].

... Last Friday we all went to the Bull Hotel at Cambridge to see the
boys, and for a little rest and enjoyment. The backs of the Colleges are
simply paradisaical. On Monday I saw Sedgwick, who was most cordial and
kind; in the morning I thought his brain was enfeebled; in the evening
he was brilliant and quite himself. His affection and kindness charmed
us all. My visit to him was in one way unfortunate; for after a long
sit he proposed to take me to the museum, and I could not refuse, and
in consequence he utterly prostrated me; so that we left Cambridge
next morning, and I have not recovered the exhaustion yet. Is it not
humiliating to be thus killed by a man of eighty-six, who evidently
never dreamed that he was killing me? As he said to me, "Oh, I consider
you as a mere baby to me!" I saw Newton several times, and several nice
friends of F.'s. But Cambridge without dear Henslow was not itself; I
tried to get to the two old houses, but it was too far for me...

CHARLES DARWIN TO B.J. SULIVAN. (Admiral Sir James Sulivan was a
lieutenant on board the "Beagle".) Down, June 30 [1870].

My dear Sulivan,

It was very good of you to write to me so long a letter, telling me much
about yourself and your children, which I was extremely glad to hear.
Think what a benighted wretch I am, seeing no one and reading but little
in the newspapers, for I did not know (until seeing the paper of your
Natural History Society) that you were a K.C.B. Most heartily glad I am
that the Government have at last appreciated your most just claim for
this high distinction. On the other hand, I am sorry to hear so poor an
account of your health; but you were surely very rash to do all that you
did and then pass through so exciting a scene as a ball at the Palace.
It was enough to have tired a man in robust health. Complete rest will,
however, I hope, quite set you up again. As for myself, I have been
rather better of late, and if nothing disturbs me I can do some hours'
work every day. I shall this autumn publish another book partly on man,
which I dare say many will decry as very wicked. I could have travelled
to Oxford, but could no more have withstood the excitement of a
commemoration (This refers to an invitation to receive the honorary
degree of D.C.L. He was one of those nominated for the degree by Lord
Salisbury on assuming the office of Chancellor of the University of
Oxford. The fact that the honour was declined on the score of ill-health
was published in the "Oxford University Gazette", June 17, 1870.) than
I could a ball at Buckingham Palace. Many thanks for your kind remarks
about my boys. Thank God, all give me complete satisfaction; my fourth
stands second at Woolwich, and will be an Engineer Officer at Christmas.
My wife desires to be very kindly remembered to Lady Sulivan, in which
I very sincerely join, and in congratulation about your daughter's
marriage. We are at present solitary, for all our younger children are
gone a tour in Switzerland. I had never heard a word about the success
of the T. del Fuego mission. It is most wonderful, and shames me, as
I always prophesied utter failure. It is a grand success. I shall feel
proud if your Committee think fit to elect me an honorary member of your
society. With all good wishes and affectionate remembrances of ancient

Believe me, my dear Sulivan, Your sincere friend, CH. DARWIN.

[My father's connection with the South American Mission, which is
referred to in the above letter, has given rise to some public comment,
and has been to some extent misunderstood. The Archbishop of Canterbury,
speaking at the annual meeting of the South American Missionary Society,
April 21st, 1885 (I quote a 'Leaflet,' published by the Society.), said
that the Society "drew the attention of Charles Darwin, and made him, in
his pursuit of the wonders of the kingdom of nature, realise that there
was another kingdom just as wonderful and more lasting." Some discussion
on the subject appeared in the "Daily News" of April 23rd, 24th, 29th,
1885, and finally Admiral Sir James Sulivan, on April 24th, wrote to the
same journal, giving a clear account of my father's connection with the

"Your article in the "Daily News" of yesterday induces me to give you
a correct statement of the connection between the South American
Missionary Society and Mr. Charles Darwin, my old friend and shipmate
for five years. I have been closely connected with the Society from
the time of Captain Allen Gardiner's death, and Mr. Darwin has often
expressed to me his conviction that it was utterly useless to send
Missionaries to such a set of savages as the Fuegians, probably the very
lowest of the human race. I had always replied that I did not believe
any human beings existed too low to comprehend the simple message of the
Gospel of Christ. After many years, I think about 1869 (It seems to have
been in 1867.), but I cannot find the letter, he wrote to me that the
recent accounts of the Mission proved to him that he had been wrong and
I right in our estimates of the native character, and the possibility of
doing them good through Missionaries; and he requested me to forward
to the Society an enclosed cheque for 5 pounds, as a testimony of the
interest he took in their good work. On June 6th, 1874, he wrote: 'I
am very glad to hear so good an account of the Fuegians, and it is
wonderful.' On June 10th, 1879: 'The progress of the Fuegians is
wonderful, and had it not occurred would have been to me quite
incredible.' On January 3rd, 1880: 'Your extracts' [from a journal]
'about the Fuegians are extremely curious, and have interested me much.
I have often said that the progress of Japan was the greatest wonder in
the world, but I declare that the progress of Fuegia is almost equally
wonderful. On March 20th, 1881: 'The account of the Fuegians interested
not only me, but all my family. It is truly wonderful what you have
heard from Mr. Bridges about their honesty and their language. I
certainly should have predicted that not all the Missionaries in the
world could have done what has been done.' On December 1st, 1881,
sending me his annual subscription to the Orphanage at the Mission
Station, he wrote: 'Judging from the "Missionary Journal", the Mission
in Tierra del Fuego seems going on quite wonderfully well.'"]


My dear Lubbock,

As I hear that the Census will be brought before the House to-morrow, I
write to say how much I hope that you will express your opinion on the
desirability of queries in relation to consanguineous marriages being
inserted. As you are aware, I have made experiments on the subject
case the marriages of cousins might be discouraged. If the proper
queries are inserted, the returns would show whether married cousins
have in their households on the night of the census as many children as
have parents of who are not related; and should the number prove fewer,
we might safely infer either lessened fertility in the parents, or which
is more probable, lessened vitality in the offspring.

It is, moreover, much to be wished that the truth of the often repeated
assertion that consanguineous marriages lead to deafness, and dumbness,
blindness, etc., should be ascertained; and all such assertions could be
easily tested by the returns from a single census.

Believe me, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[When the Census Act was passing through the House of Commons, Sir John
Lubbock and Dr. Playfair attempted to carry out this suggestion. The
question came to a division, which was lost, but not by many votes.

The subject of cousin marriages was afterwards investigated by my
brother. ("Marriages between First Cousins in England, and their
Effects.' By George Darwin. 'Journal of the Statistical Society,' June,
1875.) The results of this laborious piece of work were negative; the
author sums up in the sentence:--

"My paper is far from giving any thing like a satisfactory solution of
the question as to the effects of consanguineous marriages, but it does,
I think, show that the assertion that this question has already been set
at rest, cannot be substantiated."]




[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,' etc., 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 5000 more before the end of the year. My father notes that he
received for this edition 1470 pounds. The letters given in the present
chapter deal with its reception, and also with the progress of the work
on Expression. The letters are given, approximately, in chronological
order, an arrangement which necessarily separates letters of kindred
subjec-matter, but gives perhaps a truer picture of the mingled
interests and labours of my father's life.

Nothing can give a better idea (in small compass) of the growth of
Evolutionism and its position at this time, than a quotation from Mr.
Huxley ('Contemporary Review,' 1871.):--

"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
has done so, "because, in the words of Helmholtz, it contains 'an
essentially new creative thought.' And, as time has slipped by, a happy
change has come over Mr. Darwin's critics. The mixture of ignorance and
insolence which at first characterised a large proportion of the
attacks with which he was assailed, is no longer the sad distinction of
anti-Darwinian criticism."

A passage in the Introduction to the 'Descent of Man' shows that the
author recognised clearly this improvement in the position of Evolution.
"When a naturalist like Carl Vogt ventures to say in his address, as
President of the National Institution of Geneva (1869), 'personne en
Europe au moins, n'ose plus soutenir la creation independante et de
toutes pieces, des especes,' it is manifest that at least a large number
of naturalists must admit that species are the 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

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" (it must have been at the end of February,
within a week after the publication of the book.), 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' (July 1871. An adverse criticism.
The reviewer sums up by saying that: "Never perhaps in the history of
philosophy have such wide generalisations been derived from such a small
basis of fact."): "On every side it is raising a storm of mingled wrath,
wonder, and admiration."

With regard to the subsequent reception of the 'Descent of Man,' my
father wrote to Dr. Dohrn, February 3, 1872:--

"I did not know until reading your article (In 'Das Ausland.'), that my
'Descent of Man' had excited so much furore in Germany. It has had an
immense circulation in this country and in America, but has met the
approval of hardly any naturalists as far as I know. Therefore I suppose
it was a mistake on my part to publish it; but, anyhow, it will pave the
way for some better work."

The book on the 'Expression of the Emotions' was begun on January 17th,
1871, the last proof of the 'Descent of Man' having been finished on
January 15th. The rough copy was finished by April 27th, and shortly
after this (in June) the work was interrupted by the preparation of a
sixth edition of the 'Origin.' In November and December the proofs of
the 'Expression' book were taken in hand, and occupied him until the
following year, when the book was published.

Some references to the work on Expression have occurred in letters
already given, showing that the foundation of the book was, to some
extent, laid down for some years before he began to write it. Thus he
wrote to Dr. Asa Gray, April 15, 1867:--

"I have been lately getting up and looking over my old notes on
Expression, and fear that I shall not make so much of my hobby-horse as
I thought I could; nevertheless, it seems to me a curious subject which
has been strangely neglected."

It should, however, be remembered that the subject had been before his
mind, more or less, from 1837 or 1838, as I judge from entries in
his early note-books. It was in December, 1839, that he began to make
observations on children.

The work required much correspondence, not only with missionaries and
others living among savages, to whom he sent his printed queries, but
among physiologists and physicians. He obtained much information from
Professor Donders, Sir W. Bowman, Sir James Paget, Dr. W. Ogle, Dr.
Crichton Browne, as well as from other observers.

The first letter refers to the 'Descent of Man.']

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, January 30 [1871].

My dear Wallace,

(In the note referred to, dated January 27, Mr. Wallace wrote:--

"Many thanks for your first volume which I have just finished reading
through with the greatest pleasure and interest; and I have also to
thank you for the great tenderness with which you have treated me and my

The heresy is the limitation of natural selection as applied to man.
My father wrote ('Descent of Man,' i. page 137):--"I cannot therefore
understand how it is that Mr. Wallace maintains that 'natural selection
could only have endowed the savage with a brain a little superior to
that of an ape.'" In the above quoted letter Mr. Wallace wrote:--"Your
chapters on 'Man' are of intense interest, but as touching my special
heresy not as yet altogether convincing, though of course I fully agree
with every word and every argument which goes to prove the evolution or
development of man out of a lower form.")

Your note has given me very great pleasure, chiefly because I was
so anxious not to treat you with the least disrespect, and it is so
difficult to speak fairly when differing from any one. If I had offended
you, it would have grieved me more than you will readily believe.
Secondly, I am greatly pleased to hear that Volume I. interests you; I
have got so sick of the whole subject that I felt in utter doubt about
the value of any part. I intended, when speaking of females not having
been specially modified for protection, to include the prevention of
characters acquired by the male being transmitted to the female; but I
now see it would have been better to have said "specially acted on," or
some such term. Possibly my intention may be clearer in Volume II. Let
me say that my conclusions are chiefly founded on the consideration of
all animals taken in a body, bearing in mind how common the rules of
sexual differences appear to be in all classes. The first copy of the
chapter on Lepidoptera agreed pretty closely with you. I then worked
on, came back to Lepidoptera, and thought myself compelled to
alter it--finished Sexual Selection and for the last time went over
Lepidoptera, and again I felt forced to alter it. I hope to God there
will be nothing disagreeable to you in Volume II., and that I have
spoken fairly of your views; I am fearful on this head, because I have
just read (but not with sufficient care) Mivart's book ('The Genesis of
Species,' by St. G. Mivart, 1871.), and I feel ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that
he meant to be fair (but he was stimulated by theological fervour); yet
I do not think he has been quite fair... The part which, I think, will
have most influence is where he gives the whole series of cases like
that of the whalebone, in which we cannot explain the gradational steps;
but such cases have no weight on my mind--if a few fish were extinct,
who on earth would have ventured even to conjecture that lungs had
originated in a swi-bladder? In such a case as the Thylacine, I think he
was bound to say that the resemblance of the jaw to that of the dog
is superficial; the number and correspondence and development of teeth
being widely different. I think again when speaking of the necessity of
altering a number of characters together, he ought to have thought
of man having power by selection to modify simultaneously or almost
simultaneously many points, as in making a greyhound or racehorse--as
enlarged upon in my 'Domestic Animals.' Mivart is savage or contemptuous
about my "moral sense," and so probably will you be. I am extremely
pleased that he agrees with my position, AS FAR AS ANIMAL NATURE IS
CONCERNED, of man in the series; or if anything, thinks I have erred in
making him too distinct.

Forgive me for scribbling at such length. You have put me quite in good
spirits; I did so dread having been unintentionally unfair towards your
views. I hope earnestly the second volume will escape as well. I care
now very little what others say. As for our not quite agreeing, really
in such complex subjects, it is almost impossible for two men who arrive
independently at their conclusions to agree fully, it would be unnatural
for them to do so.

Yours ever, very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[Professor Haeckel seems to have been one of the first to write to my
father about the 'Descent of Man.' I quote from his reply:--

"I must send you a few words to thank you for your 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. (In the
introduction to the 'Descent of Man' the author wrote:--

"This last naturalist [Haeckel]... has recently... published his
'Naturliche Schopfungs-geschichte,' in which he fully discusses the
genealogy of man. If this work had appeared before my 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.")
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."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, March 16, 1871.

My dear Wallace,

I have just read your grand review. ("Academy", March 15, 1871.) It is
in every way as kindly expressed towards myself as it is excellent in
matter. The Lyells have been here, and Sir C. remarked that no one wrote
such good scientific reviews as you, and as Miss Buckley added, you
delight in picking out all that is good, though very far from blind to
the bad. In all this I most entirely agree. I shall always consider
your review as a great honour; and however much my book may hereafter
be abused, as no doubt it will be, your review will console me,
notwithstanding that we differ so greatly. I will keep your objections
to my views in my mind, but I fear that the latter are almost
stereotyped in my mind. I thought for long weeks about the inheritance
and selection difficulty, and covered quires of paper with notes in
trying to get out of it, but could not, though clearly seeing that it
would be a great relief if I could. I will confine myself to two or
three remarks. I have been much impressed with what you urge against
colour (Mr. Wallace says that the pairing of butterflies is probably
determined by the fact that one male is stronger-winged, or more
pertinacious than the rest, rather than by the choice of the females.
He quotes the case of caterpillars which are brightly coloured and yet
sexless. Mr. Wallace also makes the good criticism that the 'Descent
of Man' consists of two books mixed together.) in the case of insects,
having been acquired through sexual selection. I always saw that the
evidence was very weak; but I still think, if it be admitted that
the musical instruments of insects have been gained through sexual
selection, that there is not the least improbability in colour having
been thus gained. Your argument with respect to the denudation of
mankind and also to insects, that taste on the part of one sex would
have to remain nearly the same during many generations, in order that
sexual selection should produce any effect, I agree to; and I think this
argument would be sound if used by one who denied that, for instance,
the plumes of birds of Paradise had been so gained. I believe you admit
this, and if so I do not see how your argument applies in other cases. I
have recognized for some short time that I have made a great omission in
not having discussed, as far as I could, the acquisition of taste, its
inherited nature, and its permanence within pretty close limits for long

[With regard to the success of the 'Descent of Man,' I quote from a
letter to Professor Ray Lankester (March 22, 1871):--

"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 'Athenaeum'."

As to reviews that struck him he wrote to Mr. Wallace (March 24,

"There is a very striking second article on my book in the 'Pall Mall'.
The articles in the "Spectator" ("Spectator", March 11 and 18, 1871.
With regard to the evolution of conscience the reviewer thinks that my
father comes much nearer to the "kernel of the psychological problem"
than many of his predecessors. The second article contains a good
discussion of the bearing of the book on the question of design, and
concludes by finding in it a vindication of Theism more wonderful than
that in Paley's 'Natural Theology.') have also interested me much."

On March 20 he wrote to Mr. Murray:--

"Many thanks for the "Nonconformist" [March 8, 1871]. I like to see all
that is written, and it is of some real use. If you hear of reviewers
in out-of-the-way papers, especially the religious, as "Record",
"Guardian", "Tablet", kindly inform me. It is wonderful that there has
been no abuse ("I feel a full conviction that my chapter on man will
excite attention and plenty of abuse, and I suppose abuse is as good as
praise for selling a book."--(from a letter to Mr. Murray, January
31, 1867.) as yet, but I suppose I shall not escape. On the whole, the
reviews have been highly favourable."

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Murray (April 13, 1871)
refers to a review in the "Times". ("Times", April 7 and 8, 1871. The
review is not only unfavourable as regards the book under discussion,
but also as regards Evolution in general, as the following citation will
show: "Even had it been rendered highly probable, which we doubt, that
the animal creation has been developed into its numerous and widely
different varieties by mere evolution, it would still require an
independent investigation of overwhelming force and completeness to
justify the presumption that man is but a term in this self-evolving

"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 review of the 'Descent of Man,' which my father spoke of as "capital,"
appeared in the "Saturday Review" (March 4 and 11, 1871). A passage from
the first notice (March 4) may be quoted in illustration of the broad
basis as regards general acceptance, on which the doctrine of Evolution
now stood: "He claims to have brought man himself, his origin and
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

The infolded point of the human ear, discovered by Mr. Woolner, and
described in the 'Descent of Man,' seems especially to have struck the
popular imagination; my father wrote to Mr. Woolner:--

"The tips to the ears have become quite celebrated. One reviewer
('Nature') says they ought to be called, as I suggested in joke, Angulus
Woolnerianus. ('Nature' April 6, 1871. The term suggested is Angulus
Woolnerii.) A German is very proud to find that he has the tips well
developed, and I believe will send me a photograph of his ears."]

Brodie, formerly Vicar of Down.) Down, May 29 [1871].

My dear Innes,

I have been very glad to receive your pleasant letter, for to tell you
the truth, I have sometimes wondered whether you would not think me
an outcast and a reprobate after the publication of my last book
['Descent']. (In a former letter of my father's to Mr. Innes:--"We often
differed, but you are one of those rare mortals from whom one can differ
and yet feel no shade of animosity, and that is a thing which I should
feel very proud of, if any one could say it of me.") I do not wonder at
all at your not agreeing with me, for a good many professed naturalists
do not. Yet when I see in how extraordinary a manner the judgment of
naturalists has changed since I published the 'Origin,' I feel convinced
that there will be in ten years quite as much unanimity about man, as
far as his corporeal frame is concerned...

[The following letters addressed to Dr. Ogle deal with the progress of
the work on expression.]

Down, March 12 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

I have received both your letters, and they tell me all that I wanted
to know in the clearest possible way, as, indeed, all your letters have
ever done. I thank you cordially. I will give the case of the murderer
('Expression of the Emotions,' page 294. The arrest of a murderer,
as witnessed by Dr. Ogle in a hospital.) in my hobby-horse essay on
expression. I fear that the Eustachian tube question must have cost
you a deal of labour; it is quite a complete little essay. It is pretty
clear that the mouth is not opened under surprise merely to improve the
hearing. Yet why do deaf men generally keep their mouths open? The other
day a man here was mimicking a deaf friend, leaning his head forward
and sideways to the speaker, with his mouth well open; it was a lifelike
representation of a deaf man. Shakespeare somewhere says: "Hold your
breath, listen" or "hark," I forget which. Surprise hurries the breath,
and it seems to me one can breathe, at least hurriedly, much quieter
through the open mouth than through the nose. I saw the other day
you doubted this. As objection is your province at present, I think
breathing through the nose ought to come within it likewise, so do pray
consider this point, and let me hear your judgment. Consider the nose to
be a flower to be fertilised, and then you will make out all about it.
(Dr. Ogle had corresponded with my father on his own observations on the
fertilisation of flowers.) I have had to allude to your paper on 'Sense
of Smell' (Medico-chirurg. Trans. liii.); is the paging right, namely,
1, 2, 3? If not, I protest by all the gods against the plan followed
by some, of having presentation copies falsely paged; and so does
Rolleston, as he wrote to me the other day. In haste.

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE. Down, March 25 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

You will think me a horrid bore, but I beg you, IN RELATION TO A NEW
POINT FOR OBSERVATION, to imagine as well as you can that you suddenly
come across some dreadful object, and act with a sudden little start, a
SHUDDER OF HORROR; please do this once or twice, and observe yourself as
well as you can, and AFTERWARDS read the rest of this note, which I have
consequently pinned down. I find, to my surprise, whenever I act thus
my platysma contracts. Does yours? (N.B.--See what a man will do for
science; I began this note with a horrid fib, namely, that I want you to
attend to a new point. (The point was doubtless described as a new one,
to avoid the possibility of Dr. Ogle's attention being directed to the
platysma, a muscle which had been the subject of discussion in other
letters.)) I will try and get some persons thus to act who are so lucky
as not to know that they even possess this muscle, so troublesome for
any one making out about expression. Is a shudder akin to the rigor or
shivering before fever? If so, perhaps the platysma could be observed
in such cases. Paget told me that he had attended much to shivering, and
had written in MS. on the subject, and been much perplexed about it. He
mentioned that passing a catheter often causes shivering. Perhaps I will
write to him about the platysma. He is always most kind in aiding me in
all ways, but he is so overworked that it hurts my conscience to trouble
him, for I have a conscience, little as you have reason to think so.
Help me if you can, and forgive me. Your murderer case has come in
splendidly as the acme of prostration from fear.

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO DR. OGLE. Down, April 29 [1871].

My dear Dr. Ogle,

I am truly obliged for all the great trouble which you have so kindly
taken. I am sure you have no cause to say that you are sorry you can
give me no definite information, for you have given me far more than I
ever expected to get. The action of the platysma is not very important
for me, but I believe that you will fully understand (for I have always
fancied that our minds were very similar) the intolerable desire I had
not to be utterly baffled. Now I know that it sometimes contracts from
fear and from shuddering, but not apparently from a prolonged state of
fear such as the insane suffer...

[Mr. Mivart's 'Genesis of Species,'--a contribution to the literature of
Evolution, which excited much attention--was published in 1871, before
the appearance of the 'Descent of Man.' To this book the following
letter (June 21, 1871) from the late Chauncey Wright to my father
refers. (Chauncey Wright was born at Northampton, Massachusetts,
September 20, 1830, and came of a family settled in that town since
1654. He became in 1852 a computer in the Nautical Almanac office at
Cambridge, Mass., and lived a quiet uneventful life, supported by the
small stipend of his office, and by what he earned from his occasional
articles, as well as by a little teaching. He thought and read much on
metaphysical subjects, but on the whole with an outcome (as far as the
world was concerned) not commensurate to the power of his mind. He seems
to have been a man of strong individuality, and to have made a lasting
impression on his friends. He died in September, 1875.)]:

"I send... revised proofs of an article which will be published in the
July number of the 'North American Review,' sending it in the hope that
it will interest or even be of greater value to you. Mr. Mivart's book
['Genesis of Species'] of which this article is substantially a
review, seems to me a very good background from which to present the
considerations which I have endeavoured to set forth in the article, in
defence and illustration of the theory of Natural Selection. My special
purpose has been to contribute to the theory by placing it in its proper
relations to philosophical enquiries in general." ('Letters of Chauncey
Wright,' by J.B. Thayer. Privately printed, 1878, page 230.)

With regard to the proofs received from Mr. Wright, my father wrote to
Mr. Wallace:]

Down, July 9 [1871].

My dear Wallace,

I send by this post a review by Chauncey Wright, as I much want your
opinion of it as soon as you can send it. I consider you an incomparably
better critic than I am. The article, though not very clearly written,
and poor in parts from want of knowledge, seems to me admirable.
Mivart's book is producing a great effect against Natural Selection,
and more especially against me. Therefore if you think the article
even somewhat good I will write and get permission to publish it as a
shilling pamphlet, together with the MS. additions (enclosed), for which
there was not room at the end of the review...

I am now at work at a new and cheap edition of the 'Origin,' and shall
answer several points in Mivart's book, and introduce a new chapter for
this purpose; but I treat the subject so much more concretely, and I
dare say less philosophically, than Wright, that we shall not interfere
with each other. You will think me a bigot when I say, after studying
Mivart, I was never before in my life so convinced of the GENERAL (i.e.
not in detail) truth of the views in the 'Origin.' I grieve to see the
omission of the words by Mivart, detected by Wright. ('North American
Review,' volume 113, pages 83, 84. Chauncey Wright points out that the
words omitted are "essential to the point on which he [Mr. Mivart] cites
Mr. Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that the passage from
which words are omitted is not given within inverted commas by Mr.
Mivart.) I complained to Mivart that in two cases he quotes only the
commencement of sentences by me, and thus modifies my meaning; but I
never supposed he would have omitted words. There are other cases of
what I consider unfair treatment. I conclude with sorrow that though he
means to be honourable he is so bigoted that he cannot act fairly...


My dear Sir,

I have hardly ever in my life read an article which has given me so much
satisfaction as the review which you have been so kind as to send me.
I agree to almost everything which you say. Your memory must be
wonderfully accurate, for you know my works as well as I do myself,
and your power of grasping other men's thoughts is something quite
surprising; and this, as far as my experience goes, is a very rare
quality. As I read on I perceived how you have acquired this power, viz.
by thoroughly analyzing each word.

... Now I am going to beg a favour. Will you provisionally give me
permission to reprint your article as a shilling pamphlet? I ask only
provisionally, as I have not yet had time to reflect on the subject. It
would cost me, I fancy, with advertisements, some 20 or 30 pounds; but
the worst is that, as I hear, pamphlets never will sell. And this makes
me doubtful. Should you think it too much trouble to send me a title FOR
THE CHANCE? The title ought, I think, to have Mr. Mivart's name on it.

... If you grant permission and send a title, you will kindly understand
that I will first make further enquiries whether there is any chance of
a pamphlet being read.

Pray believe me yours very sincerely obliged, CH. DARWIN.

[The pamphlet was published in the autumn, and on October 23 my father
wrote to Mr. Wright:--

"It pleases me much that you are satisfied with the appearance of your
pamphlet. I am sure it will do our cause good service; and this same
opinion Huxley has expressed to me. ('Letters of Chauncey Wright,' page

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, July 12 [1871].

... 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. Farewell.

... There is a most cutting review of me in the 'Quarterly' (July 1871.);
I have only read a few pages. The skill and style make me think of
Mivart. I shall soon be viewed as the most despicable of men. This
'Quarterly Review' tempts me to republish Ch. Wright, even if not read
by any one, just to show some one will say a word against Mivart, and
that his (i.e. Mivart's) remarks ought not to be swallowed without some
reflection... God knows whether my strength and spirit will last out to
write a chapter versus Mivart and others; I do so hate controversy and
feel I shall do it so badly.

[The above-mentioned 'Quarterly' review was the subject of an article
by Mr. Huxley in the November number of the 'Contemporary Review.' Here,
also, are discussed Mr. 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 being 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 my
father has "with needless opposition, set at naught the first principles
of both philosophy and religion." Mr. Huxley passes from the 'Quarterly'
reviewer's further statement, that there is no necessary opposition
between evolution and religion, to the more definite position taken by
Mr. Mivart, that the orthodox authorities of the Roman Catholic Church
agree in distinctly asserting derivative creation, so that "their
teachings harmonise 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 (The learned Jesuit on whom Mr. Mivart mainly relies.), in a
dozen big folios. Among these I dived, to the great astonishment of the
librarian, and looking into them 'as the careful robin eyes the delver's
toil' (vide '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

It will be seen that the two following letters were written before the
publication of Mr. Huxley's article.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, September 21 [1871].

My dear Huxley,

Your letter has pleased me in many ways, to a wonderful degree... What
a wonderful man you are to grapple with those old metaphysico-divinity
books. It quite delights me that you are going to some extent to answer
and attack Mivart. His book, as you say, has produced a great effect;
yesterday I perceived the reverberations from it, even from Italy. It
was this that made me ask Chauncey Wright to publish at my expense his
article, which seems to me very clever, though ill-written. He has not
knowledge enough to grapple with Mivart in detail. I think there can
be no shadow of doubt that he is the author of the article in the
'Quarterly Review'... I am preparing a new edition of the 'Origin,' and
shall introduce a new chapter in answer to miscellaneous objections, and
shall give up the greater part to answer Mivart's cases of difficulty of
incipient structures being of no use: and I find it can be done easily.
He never states his case fairly, and makes wonderful blunders... The
pendulum is now swinging against our side, but I feel positive it will
soon swing the other way; and no mortal man will do half as much as you
in giving it a start in the right direction, as you did at the first
commencement. God forgive me for writing so long and egotistical a
letter; but it is your fault, for you have so delighted me; I never
dreamed that you would have time to say a word in defence of the cause
which you have so often defended. It will be a long battle, after we are
dead and gone... Great is the power of misrepresentation...

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, September 30 [1871].

My dear Huxley,

It was very good of you to send the proof-sheets, for I was VERY anxious
to read your article. I have been delighted with it. How you do smash
Mivart's theology: it is almost equal to your article versus Comte
('Fortnightly Review,' 1869. With regard to the relations of Positivism
to Science my father wrote to Mr. Spencer in 1875: "How curious and
amusing it is to see to what an extent the Positivists hate all men of
science; I fancy they are dimly conscious what laughable and
gigantic blunders their prophet made in predicting the course
of science."),--that never can be transcended... But I have been
preeminently glad to read your discussion on [the 'Quarterly'
reviewer's] metaphysics, especially about reason and his definition of
it. I felt sure he was wrong, but having only common observation and
sense to trust to, I did not know what to say in my second edition of
my 'Descent.' Now a footnote and reference to you will do the work... For
me, this is one of the most IMPORTANT parts of the review. But for
PLEASURE, I have been particularly glad that my few words ('Descent of
Man,' volume i. page 87. A discussion on the question whether an
act done impulsively or instinctively can be called moral.) on the
distinction, if it can be so called, between Mivart's two forms of
morality, caught your attention. I am so pleased that you take the same
view, and give authorities for it; but I searched Mill in vain on this
head. How well you argue the whole case. I am mounting climax on climax;
for after all there is nothing, I think, better in your whole review
than your arguments v. Wallace on the intellect of savages. I must tell
you what Hooker said to me a few years ago. "When I read Huxley, I feel
quite infantile in intellect." By Jove I have felt the truth of this
throughout your review. What a man you are. There are scores of splendid
passages, and vivid flashes of wit. I have been a good deal more than
merely pleased by the concluding part of your review; and all the more,
as I own I felt mortified by the accusation of bigotry, arrogance, etc.,
in the 'Quarterly Review.' But I assure you, he may write his worst, and
he will never mortify me again.

My dear Huxley, yours gratefully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Haredene, Albury, August 2 [1871].

My dear Sir,

Your last letter has interested me greatly; it is wonderfully rich in
facts and original thoughts. First, let me say that I have been much
pleased by what you say about my book. It has had a VERY LARGE sale; but
I have been much abused for it, especially for the chapter on the moral
sense; and most of my reviewers consider the book as a poor affair. God
knows what its merits may really be; all that I know is that I did my
best. With familiarity I think naturalists will accept sexual selection
to a greater extent than they now seem inclined to do. I should very
much like to publish your letter, but I do not see how it could be
made intelligible, without numerous coloured illustrations, but I will
consult Mr. Wallace on this head. I earnestly hope that you keep notes
of all your letters, and that some day you will publish a book: 'Notes
of a Naturalist in S. Brazil,' or some such title. Wallace will hardly
admit the possibility of sexual selection with Lepidoptera, and no doubt
it is very improbable. Therefore, I am very glad to hear of your cases
(which I will quote in the next edition) of the two sets of Hesperiadae,
which display their wings differently, according to which surface
is coloured. I cannot believe that such display is accidental and

No fact of your letter has interested me more than that about mimicry.
It is a capital fact about the males pursuing the wrong females. You put
the difficulty of the first steps in imitation in a most striking and
CONVINCING manner. Your idea of sexual selection having aided protective
imitation interests me greatly, for the same idea had occurred to me in
quite different cases, viz. the dulness of all animals in the Galapagos
Islands, Patagonia, etc., and in some other cases; but I was afraid
even to hint at such an idea. Would you object to my giving some such
sentence as follows: "F. Muller suspects that sexual selection may
have come into play, in aid of protective imitation, in a very peculiar
manner, which will appear extremely improbable to those who do not fully
believe in sexual selection. It is that the appreciation of certain
colour is developed in those species which frequently behold other
species thus ornamented." Again let me thank you cordially for your most
interesting letter...

CHARLES DARWIN TO E.B. TYLOR. Down, [September 24, 1871].

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will allow me to have the pleasure of telling you how
greatly I have been interested by your 'Primitive Culture,' now that
I have finished it. It seems to me a most profound work, which will
be certain to have permanent value, and to be referred to for years to
come. It is wonderful how you trace animism from the lower races up
to the religious belief of the highest races. It will make me for the
future look at religion--a belief in the soul, etc.--from a new point
of view. How curious, also, are the survivals or rudiments of old
customs... You will perhaps be surprised at my writing at so late
a period, but I have had the book read aloud to me, and from much
ill-health of late could only stand occasional short reads. The
undertaking must have cost you gigantic labour. Nevertheless, I
earnestly hope that you may be induced to treat morals in the same
enlarged yet careful manner, as you have animism. I fancy from the last
chapter that you have thought of this. No man could do the work so well
as you, and the subject assuredly is a most important and interesting
one. You must now possess references which would guide you to a sound
estimation of the morals of savages; and how writers like Wallace,
Lubbock, etc., etc., do differ on this head. Forgive me for troubling
you, and believe me, with much respect,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


[At the beginning of the year the sixth edition of the 'Origin,' which
had been begun in June, 1871, was nearly completed. The last sheet was
revised on January 10, 1872, and the book was published in the course of
the month. This volume differs from the previous ones in appearance and
size--it consists of 458 pages instead of 596 pages and is a few ounces
lighter; it is printed on bad paper, in small type, and with the
lines unpleasantly close together. It had, however, one advantage over
previous editions, namely that it was issued at a lower price. It is
to be regretted that this the final edition of the 'Origin' should have
appeared in so unattractive a form; a form which has doubtless kept off
many readers from the book.

The discussion suggested by the 'Genesis of Species' was perhaps the
most important addition to the book. The objection that incipient
structures cannot be of use was dealt with in some detail, because it
seemed to the author that this was the point in Mr. Mivart's book which
has struck most readers in England.

It is a striking proof of how wide and general had become the acceptance
of his views that my father found it necessary to insert (sixth edition,
page 424), the sentence: "As a record of a former state of things, I
have retained in the foregoing paragraphs and also elsewhere, several
sentences which imply that naturalists believe in the separate creation
of each species; and I have been much censured for having thus expressed
myself. But undoubtedly this was the general belief when the first
edition of the present work appeared... Now things are wholly changed,
and almost every naturalist admits the great principle of evolution."

A small correction introduced into this sixth edition is connected with
one of his minor papers: "Note on the habits of the Pampas Woodpecker."
(Zoolog. Soc. Proc. 1870.) In the fifth edition of the 'Origin,' page
220, he wrote:--

"Yet as I can assert not only from my own observation, but from that of
the accurate Azara, it [the ground woodpecker] never climbs a tree." The
paper in question was a reply to Mr. Hudson's remarks on the woodpecker
in a previous number of the same journal. The last sentence of my
father's paper is worth quoting for its temperate tone: "Finally, I
trust that Mr. Hudson is mistaken when he says that any one acquainted
with the habits of this bird might be induced to believe that I 'had
purposely wrested the truth' in order to prove my theory. He exonerates
me from this charge; but I should be loath to think that there are many
naturalists who, without any evidence, would accuse a fellow-worker
of telling a deliberate falsehood to prove his theory." In the sixth
edition, page 142, the passage runs "in certain large districts it does
not climb trees." And he goes on to give Mr. Hudson's statement that in
other regions it does frequent trees.

One of the additions in the sixth edition (page 149), was a reference
to Mr. A. Hyatt's and Professor Cope's theory of "acceleration." With
regard to this he wrote (October 10, 1872) in characteristic words to
Mr. Hyatt:--

"Permit me to take this opportunity to express my sincere regret at
having committed two grave errors in the last edition of my 'Origin
of Species,' in my allusion to yours and Professor Cope's views
on acceleration and retardation of development. I had thought that
Professor Cope had preceded you; but I now well remember having formerly
read with lively interest, and marked, a paper by you somewhere in my
library, on fossil Cephalapods with remarks on the subject. It seems
also that I have quite misrepresented your joint view. This has vexed me
much. I confess that I have never been able to grasp fully what you wish
to show, and I presume that this must be owing to some dulness on my

Lastly, it may be mentioned that this cheap edition being to some extent
intended as a popular one, was made to include a glossary of technical
terms, "given because several readers have complained... that some of the
terms used were unintelligible to them." The glossary was compiled by
Mr. Dallas, and being an excellent collection of clear and sufficient
definitions, must have proved useful to many readers.]


My dear Sir,

I am much obliged for your very kind letter and exertions in my favour.
I had thought that the publication of my last book ['Descent of Man']
would have destroyed all your sympathy with me, but though I estimated
very highly your great liberality of mind, it seems that I underrated

I am gratified to hear that M. Lacaze-Duthiers will vote (He was not
elected as a corresponding member of the French Academy until 1878.) for
me, for I have long honoured his name. I cannot help regretting that you
should expend your valuable time in trying to obtain for me the honour
of election, for I fear, judging from the last time, that all your
labour will be in vain. Whatever the result may be, I shall always
retain the most lively recollection of your sympathy and kindness, and
this will quite console me for my rejection.

With much respect and esteem, I remain, dear Sir,

Yours truly obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--With respect to the great stress which you lay on man walking on
two legs, whilst the quadrumana go on all fours, permit me to remind you
that no one much values the great difference in the mode of locomotion,
and consequently in structure, between seals and the terrestrial
carnivora, or between the almost biped kangaroos and other marsupials.

CHARLES DARWIN TO AUGUST WEISMANN. (Professor of Zoology in Freiburg.)
Down, April 5, 1872.

My dear Sir,

I have now read your essay ('Ueber den Einfluss der Isolirung auf die
Artbildung.' Leipzig, 1872.) with very great interest. Your view of the
'Origin' of local races through "Amixie," is altogether new to me,
and seems to throw an important light on an obscure problem. There
is, however, something strange about the periods or endurance of
variability. I formerly endeavoured to investigate the subject, not
by looking to past time, but to species of the same genus widely
distributed; and I found in many cases that all the species, with
perhaps one or two exceptions, were variable. It would be a very
interesting subject for a conchologist to investigate, viz., whether
the species of the same genus were variable during many successive
geological formations. I began to make enquiries on this head, but
failed in this, as in so many other things, from the want of time and
strength. In your remarks on crossing, you do not, as it seems to
me, lay nearly stress enough on the increased vigour of the offspring
derived from parents which have been exposed to different conditions. I
have during the last five years been making experiments on this subject
with plants, and have been astonished at the results, which have not yet
been published.

In the first part of your essay, I thought that you wasted (to use an
English expression) too much powder and shot on M. Wagner (Prof. Wagner
has written two essays on the same subject. 'Die Darwin'sche Theorie
und das Migrationsgesetz, in 1868, and 'Ueber den Einfluss der
Geographischen Isolirung, etc.,' an address to the Bavarian Academy
of Sciences at Munich, 1870.); but I changed my opinion when I saw how
admirably you treated the whole case, and how well you used the
facts about the Planorbis. I wish I had studied this latter case more
carefully. The manner in which, as you show, the different varieties
blend together and make a constant whole, agrees perfectly with my
hypothetical illustrations.

Many years ago the late E. Forbes described three closely consecutive
beds in a secondary formation, each with representative forms of the
same fres-water shells: the case is evidently analogous with that
of Hilgendorf ("Ueber Planorbis multiformis im Steinheimer
Susswasser-kalk." Monatsbericht of the Berlin Academy, 1866.), but the
interesting connecting varieties or links were here absent. I rejoice
to think that I formerly said as emphatically as I could, that neither
isolation nor time by themselves do anything for the modification
of species. Hardly anything in your essay has pleased me so much
personally, as to find that you believe to a certain extent in sexual
selection. As far as I can judge, very few naturalists believe in this.
I may have erred on many points, and extended the doctrine too far,
but I feel a strong conviction that sexual selection will hereafter be
admitted to be a powerful agency. I cannot agree with what you say about
the taste for beauty in animals not easily varying. It may be suspected
that even the habit of viewing differently coloured surrounding objects
would influence their taste, and Fritz Muller even goes so far as to
believe that the sight of gaudy butterflies might influence the taste
of distinct species. There are many remarks and statements in your essay
which have interested me greatly, and I thank you for the pleasure which
I have received from reading it.

With sincere respect, I remain, My dear Sir, yours very faithfully,

P.S.--If you should ever be induced to consider the whole doctrine of
sexual selection, I think that you will be led to the conclusion, that
characters thus gained by one sex are very commonly transferred in a
greater or less degree to the other sex.

[With regard to Moritz Wagner's first Essay, my father wrote to that
naturalist, apparently in 1868:]

Dear and respected Sir,

I thank you sincerely for sending me your 'Migrationsgesetz, etc.,' and
for the very kind and most honourable notice which you have taken of my
works. That a naturalist who has travelled into so many and such distant
regions, and who has studied animals of so many classes, should, to a
considerable extent, agree with me, is, I can assure you, the highest
gratification of which I am capable... Although I saw the effects of
isolation in the case of islands and mountain-ranges, and knew of a few
instances of rivers, yet the greater number of your facts were quite
unknown to me. I now see that from the want of knowledge I did not make
nearly sufficient use of the views which you advocate; and I almost wish
I could believe in its importance to the same extent with you; for you
well show, in a manner which never occurred to me, that it removes many
difficulties and objections. But I must still believe that in many large
areas all the individuals of the same species have been slowly modified,
in the same manner, for instance, as the English race-horse has
been improved, that is by the continued selection of the fleetest
individuals, without any separation. But I admit that by this process
two or more new species could hardly be found within the same limited
area; some degree of separation, if not indispensable, would be highly
advantageous; and here your facts and views will be of great value...

[The following letter bears on the same subject. It refers to Professor
M. Wagner's Essay, published in "Das Ausland", May 31, 1875:]


Dear Sir,

I have now finished reading your essays, which have interested me in a
very high degree, notwithstanding that I differ much from you on various
points. For instance, several considerations make me doubt whether
species are much more variable at one period than at another, except
through the agency of changed conditions. I wish, however, that I
could believe in this doctrine, as it removes many difficulties. But
my strongest objection to your theory is that it does not explain the
manifold adaptations in structure in every organic being--for instance
in a Picus for climbing trees and catching insects--or in a Strix for
catching animals at night, and so on ad infinitum. No theory is in the
least satisfactory to me unless it clearly explains such adaptations. I
think that you misunderstand my views on isolation. I believe that all
the individuals of a species can be slowly modified within the same
district, in nearly the same manner as man effects by what I have called
the process of unconscious selection... I do not believe that one species
will give birth to two or more new species as long as they are mingled
together within the same district. Nevertheless I cannot doubt that many
new species have been simultaneously developed within the same large
continental area; and in my 'Origin of Species' I endeavoured to
explain how two new species might be developed, although they met and
intermingled on the BORDERS of their range. It would have been a strange
fact if I had overlooked the importance of isolation, seeing that it was
such cases as that of the Galapagos Archipelago, which chiefly led me
to study the origin of species. In my opinion the greatest error which
I have committed, has been not allowing sufficient weight to the direct
action of the environment, i.e. food, climate, etc., 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 conditions.

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, and your case of the Saturnia is one of the
most remarkable of which I have heard. Although we differ so greatly,
I hope that you will permit me to express my respect for your
long-continued and successful labours in the good cause of natural

I remain, dear Sir, yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The two following letters are also of interest as bearing on my
father's views on the action of isolation as regards the origin of new

CHARLES DARWIN TO K. SEMPER. Down, November 26, 1878.

My dear Professor Semper,

When I published the sixth edition of the 'Origin,' I thought a
good deal on the subject to which you refer, and the opinion therein
expressed was my deliberate conviction. I went as far as I could,
perhaps too far in agreement with Wagner; since that time I have seen no
reason to change my mind, but then I must add that my attention has been
absorbed on other subjects. There are two different classes of cases, as
it appears to me, viz. those in which a species becomes slowly modified
in the same country (of which I cannot doubt there are innumerable
instances) and those cases in which a species splits into two or three
or more new species, and in the latter case, I should think nearly
perfect separation would greatly aid in their "specification," to coin a
new word.

I am very glad that you are taking up this subject, for you will be sure
to throw much light on it. I remember well, long ago, oscillating much;
when I thought of the Fauna and Flora of the Galapagos Islands I was all
for isolation, when I thought of S. America I doubted much. Pray believe

Yours very sincerely,


P.S.--I hope that this letter will not be quite illegible, but I have no
amanuensis at present.

CHARLES DARWIN TO K. SEMPER. Down, November 30, 1878.

Dear Professor Semper,

Since writing I have recalled some of the thoughts and conclusions which
have passed through my mind of late years. In North America, in going
from north to south or from east to west, it is clear that the changed
conditions of life have modified the organisms in the different regions,
so that they now form distinct races or even species. It is further
clear that in isolated districts, however small, the inhabitants almost
always get slightly modified, and how far this is due to the nature of
the slightly different conditions to which they are exposed, and how far
to mere interbreeding, in the manner explained by Weismann, I can
form no opinion. The same difficulty occurred to me (as shown in my
'Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication') with respect to
the aboriginal breeds of cattle, sheep, etc., in the separated districts
of Great Britain, and indeed throughout Europe. As our knowledge
advances, very slight differences, considered by systematists as of
no importance in structure, are continually found to be functionally
important; and I have been especially struck with this fact in the case
of plants to which my observations have of late years been confined.
Therefore it seems to me rather rash to consider the slight differences
between representative species, for instance those inhabiting the
different islands of the same archipelago, as of no functional
importance, and as not in any way due to natural selection. With respect
to all adapted structures, and these are innumerable, I cannot see
how M. Wagner's view throws any light, nor indeed do I see at all more
clearly than I did before, from the numerous cases which he has brought
forward, how and why it is that a long isolated form should almost
always become slightly modified. I do not know whether you will care
about hearing my further opinion on the point in question, for as before
remarked I have not attended much of late years to such questions,
thinking it prudent, now that I am growing old, to work at easier

Believe me, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

I hope and trust that you will throw light on these points.

P.S.--I will add another remark which I remember occurred to me when I
first read M. Wagner. When a species first arrives on a small island,
it will probably increase rapidly, and unless all the individuals change
instantaneously (which is improbable in the highest degree), the slowly,
more or less, modifying offspring must intercross one with another, and
with their unmodified parents, and any offspring not as yet modified.
The case will then be like that of domesticated animals which have
slowly become modified, either by the action of the external conditions
or by the process which I have called the UNCONSCIOUS SELECTION by
man--i.e., in contrast with methodical selection.

[The letters continue the history of the year 1872, which has been
interrupted by a digression on Isolation.]


Dear Sir,

I thank you very sincerely and feel much honoured by the trouble which
you have taken in giving me your reflections on the origin of Man. It
gratifies me extremely that some parts of my work have interested you,
and that we agree on the main conclusion of the derivation of man from
some lower form.

I will reflect on what you have said, but I cannot at present give up my
belief in the close relationship of Man to the higher Simiae. I do not
put much trust in any single character, even that of dentition; but
I put the greatest faith in resemblances in many parts of the whole
organisation, for I cannot believe that such resemblances can be due to
any cause except close blood relationship. That man is closely allied to
the higher Simiae is shown by the classification of Linnaeus, who was
so good a judge of affinity. The man who in England knows most about the
structure of the Simiae, namely, Mr. Mivart, and who is bitterly opposed
to my doctrines about the derivation of the mental powers, yet has
publicly admitted that I have not put man too close to the higher
Simiae, as far as bodily structure is concerned. I do not think the
absence of reversions of structure in man is of much weight; C. Vogt,
indeed, argues that [the existence of] Micr-cephalous idiots is a case
of reversion. No one who believes in Evolution will doubt that the
Phocae are descended from some terrestrial Carnivore. Yet no one would
expect to meet with any such reversion in them. The lesser divergence of
character in the races of man in comparison with the species of Simiadae
may perhaps be accounted for by man having spread over the world at a
much later period than did the Simiadae. I am fully prepared to
admit the high antiquity of man; but then we have evidence, in the
Dryopithecus, of the high antiquity of the Anthropomorphous Simiae.

I am glad to hear that you are at work on your fossil plants, which of
late years have afforded so rich a field for discovery. With my best
thanks for your great kindness, and with much respect, I remain,

Dear Sir, yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

[In April, 1872, he was elected to the Royal Society of Holland, and
wrote to Professor Donders:--

"Very many thanks for your letter. The honour of being elected a foreign
member of your Royal Society has pleased me much. The sympathy of his
fellow workers has always appeared to me by far the highest reward
to which any scientific man can look. My gratification has been not a
little increased by first hearing of the honour from you."]


My dear Sir,

Many thanks for your article (The proof-sheets of an article which
appeared in the July number of the 'North American Review.' It was a
rejoinder to Mr. Mivart's reply ('North American Review,' April 1872) to
Mr. Chauncey Wright's pamphlet. Chauncey Wright says of it ('Letters,'
page 238):--"It is not properly a rejoinder but a new article, repeating
and expounding some of the points of my pamphlet, and answering some
of Mr. Mivart's replies incidentally.") in the 'North American Review,'
which I have read with great interest. Nothing can be clearer than the
way in which you discuss the permanence or fixity of species. It never
occurred to me to suppose that any one looked at the case as it seems
Mr. Mivart does. Had I read his answer to you, perhaps I should have
perceived this; but I have resolved to waste no more time in reading
reviews of my works or on Evolution, excepting when I hear that they
are good and contain new matter... It is pretty clear that Mr. Mivart has
come to the end of his tether on this subject.

As your mind is so clear, and as you consider so carefully the meaning
of words, I wish you would take some incidental occasion to consider
when a thing may properly be said to be effected by the will of man.
I have been led to the wish by reading an article by your Professor
Whitney versus Schleicher. He argues, because each step of change in
language is made by the will of man, the whole language so changes;
but I do not think that this is so, as man has no intention or wish
to change the language. It is a parallel case with what I have called
"unconscious selection," which depends on men consciously preserving the
best individuals, and thus unconsciously altering the breed.

My dear Sir, yours sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[Not long afterwards (September) Mr. Chauncey Wright paid a visit to
Down (Mr. and Mrs. C.L. Brace, who had given much of their lives to
philanthropic work in New York, also paid a visit at Down in this
summer. Some of their work is recorded in Mr. Brace's 'The Dangerous
Classes of New York,' and of this book my father wrote to the author:--

"Since you were here my wife has read aloud to me more than half of your
work, and it has interested us both in the highest degree, and we shall
read every word of the remainder. The facts seem to me very well told,
and the inferences very striking. But after all this is but a weak part
of the impression left on our minds by what we have read; for we are
both filled with earnest admiration at the heroic labours of yourself
and others."), which he described in a letter ('Letters, page 246-248.)
to Miss S. Sedgwick (now Mrs. William Darwin): "If you can imagine
me enthusiastic--absolutely and unqualifiedly so, without a BUT or
criticism, then think of my last evening's and this morning's talks with
Mr. Darwin... I was never so worked up in my life, and did not sleep many
hours under the hospitable roof... It would be quite impossible to give
by way of report any idea of these talks before and at and after dinner,
at breakfast, and at leav-taking; and yet I dislike the egotism of
'testifying' like other religious enthusiasts, without any verification,
or hint of similar experience."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO HERBERT SPENCER. Bassett, Southampton, June 10,

Dear Spencer,

I dare say you will think me a foolish fellow, but I cannot resist the
wish to express my unbounded admiration of your article ('Mr. Martineau
on Evolution,' by Herbert Spencer, 'Contemporary Review,' July 1872.)
in answer to Mr. Martineau. It is, indeed, admirable, and hardly less
so your second article on Sociology (which, however, I have not yet
finished): I never believed in the reigning influence of great men on
the world's progress; but if asked why I did not believe, I should have
been sorely perplexed to have given a good answer. Every one with eyes
to see and ears to hear (the number, I fear, are not many) ought to bow
their knee to you, and I for one do.

Believe me, yours most sincerely, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, July 12 [1872].

My dear Hooker,

I must exhale and express my joy at the way in which the newspapers have
taken up your case. I have seen the "Times", the "Daily News", and the
"Pall Mall", and hear that others have taken up the case.

The Memorial has done great good this way, whatever may be the result in
the action of our wretched Government. On my soul, it is enough to make
one turn into an old honest Tory...

If you answer this, I shall be sorry that I have relieved my feelings by

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

[The memorial here referred to was addressed to Mr. Gladstone, and was
signed by a number of distinguished men, including Sir Charles Lyell,
Mr. Bentham, Mr. Huxley, and Sir James Paget. It gives a complete
account of the arbitrary and unjust treatment received by Sir J.D.
Hooker at the hands of his official chief, the First Commissioner of
Works. The document is published in full in 'Nature' (July 11, 1872),
and is well worth studying as an example of the treatment which it is
possible for science to receive from officialism. As 'Nature' observes,
it is a paper which must be read with the greatest indignation by
scientific men in every part of the world, and with shame by all
Englishmen. The signatories of the memorial conclude by protesting
against the expected consequences of Sir Joseph Hooker's
persecution--namely his resignation, and the loss of "a man honoured for
his integrity, beloved for his courtesy and kindliness of heart; and who
has spent in the public service not only a stainless but an illustrious

Happily this misfortune was averted, and Sir Joseph was freed from
further molestation.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, August 3 [1872].

My dear Wallace,

I hate controversy, chiefly perhaps because I do it badly; but as
Dr. Bree accuses you (Mr. Wallace had reviewed Dr. Bree's book, 'An
Exposition of Fallacies in the Hypothesis of Mr. Darwin,' in 'Nature,'
July 25, 1872.) of "blundering," I have thought myself bound to send
the enclosed letter (The letter is as follows:--"Bree on Darwinism."
'Nature,' August 8, 1872. Permit me to state--though the statement is
almost superfluous--that Mr. Wallace, in his review of Dr. Bree's work,
gives with perfect correctness what I intended to express, and what I
believe was expressed clearly, with respect to the probable position
of man in the early part of his pedigree. As I have not seen Dr. Bree's
recent work, and as his letter is unintelligible to me, I cannot even
conjecture how he has so completely mistaken my meaning: but, perhaps,
no one who has read Mr. Wallace's article, or who has read a work
formerly published by Dr. Bree on the same subject as his recent
one, will be surprised at any amount of misunderstanding on his
part.--Charles Darwin. August 3.) to 'Nature,' that is if you in the
least desire it. In this case please post it. If you do not AT ALL wish
it, I should rather prefer not sending it, and in this case please to
tear it up. And I beg you to do the same, if you intend answering Dr.
Bree yourself, as you will do it incomparably better than I should. Also
please tear it up if you don't like the letter.

My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, August 28, 1872.

My dear Wallace,

I have at last finished the gigantic job of reading Dr. Bastian's book
('The Beginnings of Life.' H.C. Bastian, 1872.) and have been deeply
interested by it. You wished to hear my impression, but it is not worth

He seems to me an extremely able man, as, indeed, I thought when I read
his first essay. His general argument in favour of Archebiosis (That is
to say, Spontaneous Generation. For the distinction between Archebiosis
and Heterogenesis, see Bastian, chapter vi.) is wonderfully strong,
though I cannot think much of some few of his arguments. The result
is that I am bewildered and astonished by his statements, but am
not convinced, though, on the whole, it seems to me probable that
Archebiosis is true. I am not convinced, partly I think owing to the
deductive cast of much of his reasoning; and I know not why, but I never
feel convinced by deduction, even in the case of H. Spencer's writings.
If Dr. Bastian's book had been turned upside down, and he had begun with
the various cases of Heterogenesis, and then gone on to organic,
and afterwards to saline solutions, and had then given his general
arguments, I should have been, I believe, much more influenced.
I suspect, however, that my chief difficulty is the effect of old
convictions being stereotyped on my brain. I must have more evidence
that germs, or the minutest fragments of the lowest forms, are always
killed by 212 degrees of Fahr. Perhaps the mere reiteration of the
statements given by Dr. Bastian [by] other men, whose judgment I
respect, and who have worked long on the lower organisms, would suffice
to convince me. Here is a fine confession of intellectual weakness; but
what an inexplicable frame of mind is that of belief!

As for Rotifers and Tardigrades being spontaneously generated, my mind
can no more digest such statements, whether true or false, than my
stomach can digest a lump of lead. Dr. Bastian is always comparing
Archebiosis, as well as growth, to crystallisation; but, on this view,
a Rotifer or Tardigrade is adapted to its humble conditions of life by
a happy accident, and this I cannot believe... He must have worked with
very impure materials in some cases, as plenty of organisms appeared in
a saline solution not containing an atom of nitrogen.

I wholly disagree with Dr. Bastian about many points in his latter
chapters. Thus the frequency of generalised forms in the older strata
seems to me clearly to indicate the common descent with divergence of
more recent forms. Notwithstanding all his sneers, I do not strike
my colours as yet about Pangenesis. I should like to live to see
Archebiosis proved true, for it would be a discovery of transcendent
importance; or, if false, I should like to see it disproved, and the
facts otherwise explained; but I shall not live to see all this. If ever
proved, Dr. Bastian will have taken a prominent part in the work. How
grand is the onward rush of science; it is enough to console us for the
many errors which we have committed, and for our efforts being overlaid
and forgotten in the mass of new facts and new views which are daily
turning up.

This is all I have to say about Dr. Bastian's book, and it certainly has
not been worth saying...

CHARLES DARWIN TO A. DE CANDOLLE. Down, December 11, 1872.

My dear Sir,

I began reading your new book ('Histoire des Sciences et des Savants.'
1873.) sooner than I intended, and when I once began, I could not stop;
and now you must allow me to thank you for the very great pleasure which
it has given me. I have hardly ever read anything more original
and interesting than your treatment of the causes which favour the
development of scientific men. The whole was quite new to me, and most
curious. When I began your essay I was afraid that you were going to
attack the principle of inheritance in relation to mind, but I soon
found myself fully content to follow you and accept your limitations. I
have felt, of course, special interest in the latter part of your work,
but there was here less novelty to me. In many parts you do me much
honour, and everywhere more than justice. Authors generally like to hear
what points most strike different readers, so I will mention that of
your shorter essays, that on the future prevalence of languages, and on
vaccination interested me the most, as, indeed, did that on statistics,
and free will. Great liability to certain diseases, being probably
liable to atavism, is quite a new idea to me. At page 322 you suggest
that a young swallow ought to be separated, and then let loose in
order to test the power of instinct; but nature annually performs this
experiment, as old cuckoos migrate in England some weeks before the
young birds of the same year. By the way, I have just used the forbidden
word "nature," which, after reading your essay, I almost determined
never to use again. There are very few remarks in your book to which I
demur, but when you back up Asa Gray in saying that all instincts are
congenital habits, I must protest.

Finally, will you permit me to ask you a question: have you yourself,
or some one who can be quite trusted, observed (page 322) that the
butterflies on the Alps are tamer than those on the lowlands? Do they
belong to the same species? Has this fact been observed with more than
one species? Are they brightly coloured kinds? I am especially curious
about their alighting on the brightly coloured parts of ladies'
dresses, more especially because I have been more than once assured
that butterflies like bright colours, for instance, in India the scarlet
leaves of Poinsettia.

Once again allow me to thank you for having sent me your work, and for
the very unusual amount of pleasure which I have received in reading it.

With much respect, I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The last revise of the 'Expression of the Emotions' was finished on
August 22nd, 1872, and he wrote in his Diary:--"Has taken me about
twelve months." As usual he had no belief in the possibility of the book
being generally successful. The following passage in a letter to Haeckel
gives the impression 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

"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."

It was published in the autumn. The edition consisted of 7000, and
of these 5267 copies were sold at Mr. Murray's sale in November.
Two thousand were printed at the end of the year, and this proved a
misfortune, as they did not afterwards sell so rapidly, and thus a mass
of notes collected by the author was never employed for a second edition
during his lifetime.

Among the reviews of the 'Expression of the Emotions' may be mentioned
the unfavourable notices in the "Athenaeum", November 9, 1872, and the
"Times", December 13, 1872. A good review by Mr. Wallace appeared in the
'Quarterly Journal of Science,' January 1873. Mr. Wallace truly remarks
that the book exhibits certain "characteristics of the author's mind
in an eminent degree," namely, "the insatiable longing to discover the
causes of the varied and complex phenomena presented by living things."
He adds that in the case of the author "the restless curiosity of the
child to know the 'what for?' the 'why?' and the 'how?' of everything"
seems "never to have abated its force."

A writer in one of the theological reviews describes the book as the
most "powerful and insidious" of all the author's works.

Professor Alexander Bain criticised the book in a postscript to the
'Senses and the Intellect;' to this essay the following letter refers:]


My dear Sir,

I am particularly obliged to you for having send me your essay. Your
criticisms are all written in a quite fair spirit, and indeed no one who
knows you or your works would expect anything else. What you say about
the vagueness of what I have called the direct action of the nervous
system, is perfectly just. I felt it so at the time, and even more
of late. I confess that I have never been able fully to grasp your
principle of spontaneity, as well as some other of your points, so as to
apply them to special cases. But as we look at everything from
different points of view, it is not likely that we should agree closely.
(Professor Bain expounded his theory of Spontaneity in the essay here
alluded to. It would be impossible to do justice to it within the limits
of a foot-note. The following quotations may give some notion of it:--

"By Spontaneity I understand the readiness to pass into movement in the
absence of all stimulation whatever; the essential requisite being
that the nerve-centres and muscles shall be fresh and vigorous... The
gesticulations and the carols of young and active animals are mere
overflow of nervous energy; and although they are very apt to concur
with pleasing emotion, they have an independent source... They are not
properly movements of expression; they express nothing at all except an
abundant stock of physical power.")

I have been greatly pleased by what you say about the crying expression
and about blushing. Did you read a review in a late 'Edinburgh?' (The
review on the 'Expression of the Emotions' appeared in the April number
of the 'Edinburgh Review,' 1873. The opening sentence is a fair sample
of the general tone of the article: "Mr. Darwin has added another volume
of amusing stories and grotesque illustrations to the remarkable
series of works already devoted to the exposition and defence of the
evolutionary hypothesis." A few other quotations may be worth giving.
"His one-sided devotion to an a priori scheme of interpretation seems
thus steadily tending to impair the author's hitherto unrivalled powers
as an observer. However this may be, most impartial critics will, we
think, admit that there is a marked falling off both in philosophical
tone and scientific interest in the works produced since Mr. Darwin
committed himself to the crude metaphysical conception so largely
associated with his name." The article is directed against Evolution
as a whole, almost as much as against the doctrines of the book under
discussion. We find throughout plenty of that effective style of
criticism which consists in the use of such expressions as "dogmatism,"
"intolerance," "presumptuous," "arrogant." Together with accusations of
such various faults a "virtual abandonment of the inductive method," and
the use of slang and vulgarisms.

The part of the article which seems to have interested my father is
the discussion on the use which he ought to have made of painting and
sculpture.) It was magnificently contemptuous towards myself and many

I retain a very pleasant recollection of our sojourn together at that
delightful place, Moor Park.

With my renewed thanks, I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO MRS. HALIBURTON. (Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of
my father's old friend, Mr. Owen of Woodhouse. Her husband, Judge
Haliburton, was the well-known author of 'Sam Slick.') Down, November 1

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

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 il-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, CHARLES DARWIN.


My dear Sarah,

I have been very much pleased by your letter, which I must call
charming. I hardly ventured to think that you would have retained a
friendly recollection of me for so many years. Yet I ought to have felt
assured that you would remain as warm-hearted and as true-hearted as
you have ever been from my earliest recollection. I know well how many
grievous sorrows you have gone through; but I am very sorry to hear that
your health is not good. In the spring or summer, when the weather is
better, if you can summon up courage to pay us a visit here, both my
wife, as she desires me to say, and myself, would be truly glad to see
you, and I know that you would not care about being rather dull here. It
would be a real pleasure to me to see you.--Thank you much for telling
about your family,--much of which was new to me. How kind you all were
to me as a boy, and you especially, and how much happiness I owe to you.
Believe me your affectionate and obliged friend,


P.S.--Perhaps you would like to see a photograph of me now that I am


[The only work (other than botanical) of this year was the preparation
of a second edition of the 'Descent of Man,' the publication of which
is referred to in the following chapter. This work was undertaken
much against the grain, as he was at the time deeply immersed in the
manuscript of 'Insectivorous Plants.' Thus he wrote to Mr. Wallace
(November 19), "I never in my lifetime regretted an interruption so much
as this new edition of the 'Descent.'" And later (in December) he wrote
to Mr. Huxley: "The new edition of the 'Descent' has turned out an awful
job. It took me ten days merely to glance over letters and reviews with
criticisms and new facts. It is a devil of a job."

The work was continued until April 1, 1874, when he was able to return
to his much loved Drosera. He wrote to Mr. Murray:--

"I have at last finished, after above three months as hard work as I
have ever had in my life, a corrected edition of the 'Descent,' and I
much wish to have it printed off as soon as possible. As it is to be
stereotyped I shall never touch it again."

The first of the miscellaneous letters of 1873 refers to a pleasant
visit received from Colonel Higginson of Newport, U.S.]


My dear Sir,

My wife has just finished reading aloud your 'Life with a Black
Regiment,' and you must allow me to thank you heartily for the very
great pleasure which it has in many ways given us. I always thought well
of the negroes, from the little which I have seen of them; and I
have been delighted to have my vague impressions confirmed, and their
character and mental powers so ably discussed. When you were here I did
not know of the noble position which you had filled. I had formerly read
about the black regiments, but failed to connect your name with your
admirable undertaking. Although we enjoyed greatly your visit to Down,
my wife and myself have over and over again regretted that we did not
know about the black regiment, as we should have greatly liked to have
heard a little about the South from your own lips.

Your descriptions have vividly recalled walks taken forty years ago in
Brazil. We have your collected Essays, which were kindly sent us by Mr.
[Moncure] Conway, but have not yet had time to read them. I occasionally
glean a little news of you in the 'Index'; and within the last hour have
read an interesting article of yours on the progress of Free Thought.

Believe me, my dear sir, with sincere admiration, Yours very faithfully,

[On May 28th he sent the following answers to the questions that Mr.
Galton was at that time addressing to various scientific men, in the
course of the inquiry which is given in his 'English Men of Science,
their Nature and Nurture,' 1874. With regard to the questions my father
wrote, "I have filled up the answers as well as I could, but it is
simply impossible for me to estimate the degrees." For the sake of
convenience, the questions and answers relating to "Nurture" are made to
precede those on "Nature":



How taught? I consider that all I have learnt of any value has been

Conducive to or restrictive of habits of observation? Restrictive of
observation, being almost entirely classical.

Conducive to health or otherwise? Yes.

Peculiar merits? None whatever.

Chief omissions? No mathematics or modern languages, nor any habits of
observation or reasoning.


Has the religious creed taught in your youth had any deterrent effect on
the freedom of your researches? No.


Do your scientific tastes appear to have been innate? Certainly innate.

Were they determined by any and what events? My innate taste for natural
history strongly confirmed and directed by the voyage in the "Beagle".


Specify any interests that have been very actively pursued. Science, and
field sports to a passionate degree during youth.

(C.D. = CHARLES DARWIN, R.D. = ROBERT DARWIN, his father.)


C.D.--Nominally to Church of England. R.D.--Nominally to Church of


C.D.--Liberal or Radical. R.D.--Liberal.


C.D.--Good when young--bad for last 33 years. R.D.--Good throughout
life, except from gout.


C.D.--6ft. Figure, etc.?--Spare, whilst young rather stout.
Measurement round inside of hat?--22 1/4 in. Colour of Hair?--Brown.
Complexion?--Rather sallow. R.D.--6ft. 2 in. Figure, etc?--Very broad
and corpulent. Colour of hair? --Brown. Complexion?--Ruddy.


C.D.--Somewhat nervous. R.D.--Sanguine.


C.D.--Energy shown by much activity, and whilst I had health, power of
resisting fatigue. I and one other man were alone able to fetch water
for a large party of officers and sailors utterly prostrated. Some of
my expeditions in S. America were adventurous. An early riser in the
morning. R.D.--Great power of endurance although feeling much
fatigue, as after consultations after long journeys; very active--not
restless--very early riser, no travels. My father said his father
suffered much from sense of fatigue, that he worked very hard.


C.D.--Shown by rigorous and long-continued work on same subject, as
20 years on the 'Origin of Species,' and 9 years on 'Cirripedia.'
R.D.--Habitually very active mind--shown in conversation with a
succession of people during the whole day.


C.D.--Memory very bad for dates, and for learning by rote; but good in
retaining a general or vague recollection of many facts. R.D.--Wonderful
memory for dates. In old age he told a person, reading aloud to him
a book only read in youth, the passages which were coming--knew the
birthdays and death, etc., of all friends and acquaintances.


C.D.--Very studious, but not large acquirements. R.D.--Not very studious
or mentally receptive, except for facts in conversation--great collector
of anecdotes.


C.D.--I think fairly independent; but I can give no instances. I gave
up common religious belief almost independently from my own reflections.
R.D.--Free thinker in religious matters. Liberal, with rather a tendency
to Toryism.


C.D.-- -- Thinks this applies to me; I do not think so--i.e., as far as
eccentricity. I suppose that I have shown originality in science, as
I have made discoveries with regard to common objects. R.D.--Original
character, had great personal influence and power of producing fear of
himself in others. He kept his accounts with great care in a peculiar
way, in a number of separate little books, without any general ledger.


C.D.--None, except for business as evinced by keeping accounts, replies
to correspondence, and investing money very well. Very methodical in all
my habits. R.D.--Practical business--made a large fortune and incurred
no losses.


C.D.--Steadiness--great curiosity about facts and their meaning. Some
love of the new and marvellous. R.D.--Strong social affection and great
sympathy in the pleasures of others. Sceptical as to new things. Curious
as to facts. Great foresight. Not much public spirit--great generosity
in giving money and assistance.

N.B.--I find it quite impossible to estimate my character by your

The following letter refers inter alia to a letter which appeared in
'Nature' (September 25, 1873), "On the Males and Complemental Males of
certain Cirripedes, and on Rudimentary Organs:"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO E. HAECKEL. Down, September 25, 1873.

My dear Haeckel,

I thank you for the present of your book ('Schopfungs-geschichte,' 4th
edition. The translation ('The History of Creation') was not published
until 1876.), and I am heartily glad to see its great success. You will
do a wonderful amount of good in spreading the doctrine of Evolution,
supporting it as you do by so many original observations. I have read
the new preface with very great interest. The delay in the appearance
of the English translation vexes and surprises me, for I have never been
able to read it thoroughly in German, and I shall assuredly do so when
it appears in English. Has the problem of the later stages of reduction
of useless structures ever perplexed you? This problem has of late
caused me much perplexity. I have just written a letter to 'Nature' with
a hypothetical explanation of this difficulty, and I will send you the
paper with the passage marked. I will at the same time send a paper
which has interested me; it need not be returned. It contains a singular
statement bearing on so-called Spontaneous Generation. I much wish that
this latter question could be settled, but I see no prospect of it. If
it could be proved true this would be most important to us...

Wishing you every success in your admirable labours,

I remain, my dear Haeckel, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.



1874 AND 1875.

[The year 1874 was given up to 'Insectivorous Plants,' with the
exception of the months devoted to the second edition of the 'Descent
of Man,' and with the further exception of the time given to a second
edition of his 'Coral Reefs' (1874). The Preface to the latter states
that new facts have been added, the whole book revised, and "the latter
chapters almost rewritten." In the Appendix some account is given
of Professor Semper's objections, and this was the occasion of
correspondence between that naturalist and my father. In Professor
Semper's volume, 'Animal Life' (one of the International Series), the
author calls attention to the subject in the following passage which I
give in German, the published English translation being, as it seems to
me, incorrect: "Es scheint mir als ob er in der zweiten Ausgabe seines
allgemein bekannten Werks uber Korallenriffe einem Irrthume uber meine
Beobachtungen zum Opfer gefallen ist, indem er die Angaben, die ich
allerdings bisher immer nur sehr kurz gehalten hatte, vollstandig falsch
wiedergegeben hat."

The proof-sheets containing this passage were sent by Professor Semper
to my father before 'Animal Life' was published, and this was the
occasion for the following letter, which was afterwards published in
Professor Semper's book.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO K. SEMPER. Down, October 2, 1879.

My dear Professor Semper,

I thank you for your extremely kind letter of the 19th, and for the
proo-sheets. I believe that I understand all, excepting one or two
sentences, where my imperfect knowledge of German has interfered. This
is my sole and poor excuse for the mistake which I made in the second
edition of my 'Coral' book. Your account of the Pellew Islands is a fine
addition to our knowledge on coral reefs. I have very little to say
on the subject, even if I had formerly read your account and seen your
maps, but had known nothing of the proofs of recent elevation, and of
your belief that the islands have not since subsided. I have no doubt
that I should have considered them as formed during subsidence. But I
should have been much troubled in my mind by the sea not being so deep
as it usually is round atolls, and by the reef on one side sloping so
gradually beneath the sea; for this latter fact, as far as my memory
serves me, is a very unusual and almost unparalleled case. I always
foresaw that a bank at the proper depth beneath the surface would give
rise to a reef which could not be distinguished from an atoll, formed
during subsidence. I must still adhere to my opinion that the atolls and
barrier reefs in the middle of the Pacific and Indian Oceans indicate
subsidence; but I fully agree with you that such cases as that of the
Pellew Islands, if of at all frequent occurrence, would make my general
conclusions of very little value. Future observers must decide between
us. It will be a strange fact if there has not been subsidence of the
beds of the great oceans, and if this has not affected the forms of the
coral reefs.

In the last three pages of the last sheet sent I am extremely glad
to see that you are going to treat of the dispersion of animals. Your
preliminary remarks seem to me quite excellent. There is nothing about
M. Wagner, as I expected to find. I suppose that you have seen Moseley's
last book, which contains some good observations on dispersion.

I am glad that your book will appear in English, for then I can read it
with ease. Pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The most recent criticism on the Coral-reef theory is by Mr. Murray,
one of the staff of the "Challenger", who read a paper before the Royal
Society of Edinburgh, April 5, 1880. (An abstract is published in volume
x. of the 'Proceedings,' page 505, and in 'Nature,' August 12, 1880.)
The chief point brought forward is the possibility of the building up of
submarine mountains, which may serve as foundations for coral reefs. Mr.
Murray also seeks to prove that "the chief features of coral reefs and
islands can be accounted for without calling in the aid of great and
general subsidence." The following letter refers to this subject:]


... You will have seen 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, etc., decayed, and were dissolved, when not protected by the
deposition of sediment, and sediment could not accumulate in the open
ocean. Certainly, shells, etc., 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... Pray forgive me for troubling you at
such length, but it has occurred [to me] that you might be disposed
to give, after your wide experience, your judgment. If I am wrong, the
sooner I am knocked on the head and annihilated so much the better. It
still seems to me a marvellous thing that there should not have been
much, and long continued, subsidence in the beds of the great oceans.
I wish that some doubly rich millionaire would take it into his head to
have borings made in some of the Pacific and Indian atolls, and bring
home cores for slicing from a depth of 500 or 600 feet...

[The second edition of the 'Descent of Man' was published in the autumn
of 1874. Some severe remarks on the "monistic hypothesis" appeared in
the July (The review necessarily deals with the first edition of the
'Descent of Man.') number of the 'Quarterly Review' (page 45). The
Reviewer expresses his astonishment at the ignorance of certain
elementary distinctions and principles (e.g. with regard to the verbum
mentale) exhibited, among others, by Mr. Darwin, who does not exhibit
the faintest indication of having grasped them, yet a clear perception
of them, and a direct and detailed examination of his facts with regard
to them, "was a sine qua non for attempting, with a chance of success,
the solution of the mystery as to the descent of man."

Some further criticisms of a later date may be here alluded to. In the
'Academy,' 1876 (pages 562, 587), appeared a review of Mr. Mivart's
'Lessons from Nature,' by Mr. Wallace. When considering the part of
Mr. Mivart's book relating to Natural and Sexual Selection, Mr. Wallace
says: "In his violent attack on Mr. Darwin's theories our author uses
unusually strong language. Not content with mere argument, he expresses
'reprobation of Mr. Darwin's views'; and asserts that though he (Mr.
Darwin) has been obliged, virtually, to give up his theory, it is still
maintained by Darwinians with 'unscrupulous audacity,' and the actual
repudiation of it concealed by the 'conspiracy of silence.'" Mr. Wallace
goes on to show that these charges are without foundation, and points
out that, "if there is one thing more than another for which Mr. Darwin
is pre-eminent among modern literary and scientific men, it is for his
perfect literary honesty, his self-abnegation in confessing himself
wrong, and the eager haste with which he proclaims and even magnifies
small errors in his works, for the most part discovered by himself."

The following extract from a letter to Mr. Wallace (June 17th) refers to
Mr. Mivart's statement ('Lessons from Nature,' page 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."

The letter which here follows is of interest in connection with the
discussion, in the 'Descent of Man,' on the origin of the musical sense
in man:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO E. GURNEY. (Author of 'The Power of Sound.') Down,
July 8, 1876.

My dear Mr. Gurney,

I have read your article ("Some disputed Points in Music."--'Fortnightly
Review,' July, 1876.) with much interest, except the latter part, which
soared above my ken. I am greatly pleased that you uphold my views to
a certain extent. Your criticism of the rasping noise made by insects
being necessarily rhythmical is very good; but though not made
intentionally, it may be pleasing to the females from the nerve cells
being nearly similar in function throughout the animal kingdom. With
respect to your letter, I believe that I understand your meaning, and
agree with you. I never supposed that the different degrees and kinds of
pleasure derived from different music could be explained by the musical
powers of our semi-human progenitors. Does not the fact that different
people belonging to the same civilised nation are very differently
affected by the same music, almost show that these diversities of taste
and pleasure have been acquired during their individual lives? Your
simile of architecture seems to me particularly good; for in this case
the appreciation almost must be individual, though possibly the sense
of sublimity excited by a grand cathedral, may have some connection with
the vague feelings of terror and superstition in our savage ancestors,
when they entered a great cavern or gloomy forest. I wish some one could
analyse the feeling of sublimity. It amuses me to think how horrified
some high flying aesthetic men will be at your encouraging such low
degraded views as mine.

Believe me, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous interest. The first
extract (from a letter, January 18, 1874) refers to a spiritualistic
seance, held at Erasmus Darwin's house, 6 Queen Anne Street, under the
auspices of a well-known medium:]

"... We had grand fun, one afternoon, for George hired a medium, who
made the chairs, a flute, a bell, and candlestick, and fiery points jump
about in my brother's diningroom, in a manner that astounded every one,
and took away all their breaths. It was in the dark, but George and
Hensleigh Wedgwood held the medium's hands and feet on both sides all
the time. I found it so hot and tiring that I went away before all these
astounding miracles, or jugglery, took place. How the man could possibly
do what was done passes my understanding. I came downstairs, and saw all
the chairs, etc., on the table, which had been lifted over the heads of
those sitting round it.

The Lord have mercy on us all, if we have to believe in such rubbish. F.
Galton was there, and says it was a good seance..."

The Seance in question led to a smaller and more carefully organised
one being undertaken, at which Mr. Huxley was present, and on which he
reported to my father:]


My dear Huxley,

It was very good of you to write so long an account. Though the seance
did tire you so much it was, I think, really worth the exertion, as the
same sort of things are done at all the seances, even at --'s; and now
to my mind an enormous weight of evidence would be requisite to make one
believe in anything beyond mere trickery... I am pleased to think that
I declared to all my family, the day before yesterday, that the more
I thought of all that I had heard happened at Queen Anne St., the more
convinced I was it was all imposture... my theory was that [the medium]
managed to get the two men on each side of him to hold each other's
hands, instead of his, and that he was thus free to perform his antics.
I am very glad that I issued my ukase to you to attend.

Yours affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

[In the spring of this year (1874) he read a book which gave him great
pleasure and of which he often spoke with admiration:--'The Naturalist
in Nicaragua,' by the late Thomas Belt. Mr. Belt, whose untimely death
may well be deplored by naturalists, was by profession an Engineer, so
that all his admirable observations in Natural History in Nicaragua and
elsewhere were the fruit of his leisure. The book is direct and vivid
in style and is full of description and suggestive discussions. With
reference to it my father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"Belt I have read, and I am delighted that you like it so much, it
appears to me the best of all natural history journals which have ever
been published."]


Dear Sir,

I have been very neglectful in not having sooner thanked you for your
kindness in having sent me your 'Etudes sur la Vegetation,' etc., and
other memoirs. I have read several of them with very great interest, and
nothing can be more important, in my opinion, than your evidence of
the extremely slow and gradual manner in which specific forms change. I
observe that M. A. De Candolle has lately quoted you on this head versus
Heer. I hope that you may be able to throw light on the question whether
such protean, or polymorphic forms, as those of Rubus, Hieracium, etc.,
at the present day, are those which generate new species; as for myself,
I have always felt some doubt on this head. I trust that you may soon
bring many of your countrymen to believe in Evolution, and my name
will then perhaps cease to be scorned. With the most sincere respect, I
remain, Dear Sir,

Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, June 5 [1874].

My dear Gray,

I have now read your article (The article, "Charles Darwin," in the
series of "Scientific Worthies" ('Nature,' June 4, 1874). This admirable
estimate of my father's work in science is given in the form of a
comparison and contrast between Robert Brown and Charles Darwin.) in
'Nature,' and the last two paragraphs were not included in the slip sent
before. 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 ("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.") pleases me especially, and I do not think any one else
has ever noticed the point. (See, however, Mr. Huxley's chapter on the
'Reception of the Origin of Species' in volume i.) I have always said
you were the man to hit the nail on the head.

Yours gratefully and affectionately, CH. DARWIN.

[As a contribution to the history of the reception of the 'Origin of
Species,' the meeting of the British Association in 1874, at Belfast,
should be mentioned. It is memorable for Professor Tyndall's brilliant
presidential address, in which a sketch of the history of Evolution is
given culminating in an eloquent analysis of the 'Origin of Species,'
and of the nature of its great success. With regard to Prof. Tyndall's
address, Lyell wrote ('Life,' ii. page 455) congratulating my father on
the meeting, "on which occasion you and your theory of Evolution may
be fairly said to have had an ovation." In the same letter Sir Charles
speaks of a paper (On the Ancient Volcanoes of the Highlands, 'Journal
of Geological Soc.,' 1874.) of Professor Judd's, and it is to this that
the following letter refers:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, September 23, 1874.

My dear Lyell,

I suppose that you have returned, or will soon return, to London (Sir
Charles Lyell returned from Scotland towards the end of September.);
and, I hope, reinvigorated by your outing. In your last letter you
spoke of Mr. Judd's paper on the Volcanoes of the Hebrides. I have just
finished it, and to ease my mind must express my extreme admiration.

It is years since I have read a purely geological paper which has
interested me so greatly. I was all the more interested, as in the
Cordillera I often speculated on the sources of the deluges of submarine
porphyritic lavas, of which they are built; and, as I have stated, I
saw to a certain extent the causes of the obliteration of the points
of eruption. I was also not a little pleased to see my volcanic book
quoted, for I thought it was completely dead and forgotten. What fine
work will Mr. Judd assuredly do!... Now I have eased my mind; and so
farewell, with both E.D.'s and C.D.'s very kind remembrances to Miss

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

[Sir Charles Lyell's reply to the above letter must have been one of the
latest that my father received from his old friend, and it is with this
letter that the volumes of his published correspondence closes.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO AUG. FOREL. Down, October 15, 1874.

My dear Sir,

I have now read the whole of your admirable work ('Les Fourmis de la
Suisse,' 4to, 1874.) and seldom in my life have I been more interested
by any book. There are so many interesting facts and discussions, that I
hardly know which to specify; but I think, firstly, the newest points
to me have been about the size of the brain in the three sexes, together
with your suggestion that increase of mind power may have led to the
sterility of the workers. Secondly about the battles of the ants, and
your curious account of the enraged ants being held by their comrades
until they calmed down. Thirdly, the evidence of ants of the same
community being the offspring of brothers and sisters. You admit, I
think, that new communities will often be the product of a cross between
not-related ants. Fritz Muller has made some interesting observations
on this head with respect to Termites. The case of Anergates is most
perplexing in many ways, but I have such faith in the law of occasional
crossing that I believe an explanation will hereafter be found, such
as the dimorphism of either sex and the occasional production of
winged males. I see that you are puzzled how ants of the same community
recognize each other; I once placed two (F. rufa) in a pill-box smelling
strongly of asafoetida and after a day returned them to their homes;
they were threatened, but at last recognized. I made the trial thinking
that they might know each other by their odour; but this cannot have
been the case, and I have often fancied that they must have some common
signal. Your last chapter is one great mass of wonderful facts and
suggestions, and the whole profoundly interesting. I have seldom been
more gratified than by [your] honourable mention of my work.

I should like to tell you one little observation which I made with care
many years ago; I saw ants (Formica rufa) carrying cocoons from a nest
which was the largest I ever saw and which was well-known to all the
country people near, and an old man, apparently about eighty years of
age, told me that he had known it ever since he was a boy. The ants
carrying the cocoons did not appear to be emigrating; following the
line, I saw many ascending a tall fir tree still carrying their cocoons.
But when I looked closely I found that all the cocoons were empty cases.
This astonished me, and next day I got a man to observe with me, and we
again saw ants bringing empty cocoons out of the nest; each of us fixed
on one ant and slowly followed it, and repeated the observation on many
others. We thus found that some ants soon dropped their empty cocoons;
others carried them for many yards, as much as thirty paces, and others
carried them high up the fir tree out of sight. Now here I think we
have one instinct in contest with another and mistaken one. The first
instinct being to carry the empty cocoons out of the nest, and it would
have been sufficient to have laid them on the heap of rubbish, as the
first breath of wind would have blown them away. And then came in the
contest with the other very powerful instinct of preserving and carrying
their cocoons as long as possible; and this they could not help doing
although the cocoons were empty. According as the one or other instinct
was the stronger in each individual ant, so did it carry the empty
cocoon to a greater or less distance. If this little observation should
ever prove of any use to you, you are quite at liberty to use it. Again
thanking you cordially for the great pleasure which your work has given
me, I remain with much respect,

Yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--If you read English easily I should like to send you Mr. Belt's
book, as I think you would like it as much as did Fritz Muller.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. FISKE. Down, December 8, 1874.

My dear Sir,

You must allow me to thank you for the very great interest with which
I have at last slowly read the whole of your work. ('Outlines of Cosmic
Philosophy,' 2 volumes, 8vo. 1874.) I have long wished to know something
about the views of the many great men whose doctrines you give. With
the exception of special points I did not even understand H. Spencer's
general doctrine; for his style is too hard work for me. I never in my
life read so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are; and
I think that I understand nearly the whole--perhaps less clearly about
Cosmic Theism and Causation than other parts. It is hopeless to attempt
out of so much to specify what has interested me most, and probably you
would not care to hear. I wish some chemist would attempt to ascertain
the result of the cooling of heated gases of the proper kinds, in
relation to your hypothesis of the origin of living matter. It pleased
me to find that here and there I had arrived from my own crude thoughts
at some of the same conclusions with you; though I could seldom or never
have given my reasons for such conclusions. I find that my mind is
so fixed by the inducive method, that I cannot appreciate deductive
reasoning: I must begin with a good body of facts and not from a
principle (in which I always suspect some fallacy) and then as much
deduction as you please. This may be very narrow-minded; but the result
is that such parts of H. Spencer, as I have read with care impress my
mind with the idea of his inexhaustible wealth of suggestion, but never
convince me; and so I find it with some others. I believe the cause to
lie in the frequency with which I have found first-formed theories [to
be] erroneous. I thank you for the honourable mention which you make
of my works. Parts of the 'Descent of Man' must have appeared laughably
weak to you: nevertheless, I have sent you a new edition just published.
Thanking you for the profound interest and profit with which I have read
your work. I remain,

My dear Sir, yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.


[The only work, not purely botanical, which occupied my father in the
present year was the correction of the second edition of 'The Variation
of Animals and Plants,' and on this he was engaged from the beginning of
July till October 3rd. The rest of the year was taken up with his work
on insectivorous plants, and on cross-fertilisation, as will be shown in
a later chapter. The chief alterations in the second edition of 'Animals
and Plants' are in the eleventh chapter on "Bud-variation and on certain
anomalous modes of reproduction;" the chapter on Pangenesis "was also
largely altered and remodelled." He mentions briefly some of the authors
who have noticed the doctrine. Professor Delpino's 'Sulla Darwiniana
Teoria della Pangenesi' (1869), an adverse but fair criticism, seems
to have impressed him as valuable. Of another critique my father
characteristically says ('Animals and Plants,' 2nd edition volume ii.
page 350.), "Dr. Lionel Beale ('Nature,' May 11, 1871, page 26) sneers
at the whole doctrine with much acerbity and some justice." He also
points out that, in Mantegazza's 'Elementi di Igiene,' the theory of
Pangenesis was clearly foreseen.

In connection with this subject, a letter of my father's to 'Nature'
(April 27, 1871) should be mentioned. A paper by Mr. Galton had been
read before the Royal Society (March 30, 1871) in which were described
experiments, on intertransfusion of blood, designed to test the truth of
the hypothesis of pangenesis. My father, while giving all due credit to
Mr. Galton for his ingenious experiments, does not allow that pangenesis
has "as yet received its death-blow, though from presenting so many
vulnerable points its life is always in jeopardy."

He seems to have found the work of correcting very wearisome, for he

"I have no news about myself, as I am merely slaving over the sickening
work of preparing new editions. I wish I could get a touch of poor
Lyell's feelings, that it was delightful to improve a sentence, like a
painter improving a picture."

The feeling of effort or strain over this piece of work, is shown in a
letter to Professor Haeckel:--

"What I shall do in future if I live, Heaven only knows; I ought perhaps
to avoid general and large subjects, as too difficult for me with my
advancing years, and I suppose enfeebled brain."

At the end of March, in this year, the portrait for which he was sitting
to Mr. Ouless was finished. He felt the sittings a great fatigue, in
spite of Mr. Ouless's considerate desire to spare him as far as was
possible. In a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker he wrote, "I look a very
venerable, acute, melancholy old dog; whether I really look so I do not
know." The picture is in the possession of the family, and is known
to many through M. Rajon's etching. Mr. Ouless's portrait is, in my
opinion, the finest representation of my father that has been produced.

The following letter refers to the death of Sir Charles Lyell, which
took place on February 22nd, 1875, in his seventy-eighth year.]

Secretary to Sir Charles Lyell.) Down, February 23, 1875.

My dear Miss Buckley,

I am grieved to hear of the death of my old and kind friend, though I
knew that it could not be long delayed, and that it was a happy thing
that his life should not have been prolonged, as I suppose that his mind
would inevitably have suffered. I am glad that Lady Lyell (Lady Lyell
died in 1873.) has been saved this terrible blow. His death makes me
think of the time when I first saw him, and how full of sympathy and
interest he was about what I could tell him of coral reefs and South
America. I think that this sympathy with the work of every other
naturalist was one of the finest features of his character. How
completely he revolutionised Geology: for I can remember something of
pre-Lyellian days.

I never forget that almost everything which I have done in science I
owe to the study of his great works. Well, he has had a grand and happy
career, and no one ever worked with a truer zeal in a noble cause. It
seems strange to me that I shall never again sit with him and Lady Lyell
at their breakfast. I am very much obliged to you for having so kindly
written to me.

Pray give our kindest remembrances to Miss Lyell, and I hope that she
has not suffered much in health, from fatigue and anxiety.

Believe me, my dear Miss Buckley, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 25 [1875].

My dear Hooker,

Your letter so full of feeling has interested me greatly. I cannot say
that I felt his [Lyell's] death much, for I fully expected it, and have
looked for some little time at his career as finished.

I dreaded nothing so much as his surviving with impaired mental powers.
He was, indeed, a noble man in very many ways; perhaps in none more than
in his warm sympathy with the work of others. How vividly I can recall
my first conversation with him, and how he astonished me by his interest
in what I told him. How grand also was his candour and pure love of
truth. Well, he is gone, and I feel as if we were all soon to go... I
am deeply rejoiced about Westminster Abbey (Sir C. Lyell was buried in
Westminster Abbey.), the possibility of which had not occurred to me
when I wrote before. I did think that his works were the most enduring
of all testimonials (as you say) to him; but then I did not like the
idea of his passing away with no outward sign of what scientific men
thought of his merits. Now all this is changed, and nothing can be
better than Westminster Abbey. Mrs. Lyell has asked me to be one of the
pall-bearers, but I have written to say that I dared not, as I should so
likely fail in the midst of the ceremony, and have my head whirling off
my shoulders. All this affair must have cost you much fatigue and worry,
and how I do wish you were out of England...

[In 1881 he wrote to Mrs. Fisher in reference to her article on Sir
Charles Lyell in the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica':--

"For such a publication I suppose you do not want to say much about
his private character, otherwise his strong sense of humour and love of
society might have been added. Also his extreme interest in the progress
of the world, and in the happiness of mankind. Also his freedom from all
religious bigotry, though these perhaps would be a superfluity."

The following refers to the Zoological station at Naples, a subject on
which my father felt an enthusiastic interest:]


My dear Dr. Dohrn,

Many thanks for your most kind letter, I most heartily rejoice at your
improved health and at the success of your grand undertaking, which will
have so much influence on the progress of Zoology throughout Europe.

If we look to England alone, what capital work has already been done at
the Station by Balfour and Ray Lankester... When you come to England, I
suppose that you will bring Mrs. Dohrn, and we shall be delighted to see
you both here. I have often boasted that I have had a live Uhlan in my
house! It will be very interesting to me to read your new views on the
ancestry of the Vertebrates. I shall be sorry to give up the Ascidians,
to whom I feel profound gratitude; but the great thing, as it appears to
me, is that any link whatever should be found between the main divisions
of the Animal Kingdom...


My dear Sir,

I have been profoundly interested by your essay on Amblystoma
('Umwandlung des Axolotl.'), and think that you have removed a great
stumbling block in the way of Evolution. I once thought of reversion in
this case; but in a crude and imperfect manner. I write now to call your
attention to the sterility of moths when hatched out of their proper
season; I give references in chapter 18 of my 'Variation under
Domestication' (volume ii. page 157, of English edition), and these
cases illustrate, I think, the sterility of Amblystoma. Would it not be
worth while to examine the reproductive organs of those individuals of
WINGLESS Hemiptera which occasionally have wings, as in the case of the
bed-bug. I think I have heard that the females of Mutilla sometimes have
wings. These cases must be due to reversion. I dare say many anomalous
cases will be hereafter explained on the same principle.

I hinted at this explanation in the extraordinary case of the
blac-shouldered peacock, the so-called Pavo nigripennis given in my
'Variation under Domestication;' and I might have been bolder, as the
variety is in many respects intermediate between the two known species.

With much respect, Yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


[It was in November 1875 that my father gave his evidence before the
Royal Commission on Vivisection. (See volume i.) I have, therefore,
placed together here the matter relating to this subject, irrespective
of date. Something has already been said of my father's strong feeling
with regard to suffering both in man and beast. It was indeed one of the
strongest feelings in his nature, and was exemplified in matters small
and great, in his sympathy with the educational miseries of dancing
dogs, or in his horror at the sufferings of slaves. (He once made an
attempt to free a patient in a mad-house, who (as he wrongly supposed)
was sane. He had some correspondence with the gardener at the asylum,
and on one occasion he found a letter from a patient enclosed with one
from the gardener. The letter was rational in tone and declared that the
writer was sane and wrongfully confined.

My father wrote to the Lunacy Commissioners (without explaining the
source of his information) and in due time heard that the man had been
visited by the Commissioners, and that he was certainly insane. Sometime
afterwards the patient was discharged, and wrote to thank my father for
his interference, adding that he had undoubtedly been insane, when he
wrote his former letter.)

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 hors-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 man to go faster, "Why," said the driver,
"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 extract from a letter to Professor Ray
Lankester (March 22, 1871):--

"You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is
justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere
damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick
with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not
sleep to-night."

An extract from Sir Thomas Farrer's notes shows how strongly he
expressed himself in a similar manner in conversation:--

"The last time I had any conversation with him was at my house in
Bryanston Square, just before one of his last seizures. He was then
deeply interested in the vivisection question; and what he said made a
deep impression on me. He was a man eminently fond of animals and
tender to them; he would not knowingly have inflicted pain on a living
creature; but he entertained the strongest opinion that to prohibit
experiments on living animals, would be to put a stop to the knowledge
of and the remedies for pain and disease."

The Anti-Vivisection agitation, to which the following letters refer,
seems to have become specially active in 1874, as may be seen, e.g. by
the index to 'Nature' for that year, in which the word "Vivisection,"
suddenly comes into 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,
which reported, defining 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. It cannot
be denied that the framers of this Bill, yielding to the unreasonable
clamour of the public, went far beyond the recommendations of the Royal
Commission. As a correspondent in 'Nature' put it (1876, page 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

The legislation which my father worked for, as described in the
following letters, was practically what was introduced as Dr. Lyon
Playfair's Bill.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO MRS. LITCHFIELD. (His daughter.) January 4, 1875.

My dear H.

Your letter has led me to think over vivisection (I wish some new
word like anaes-section could be invented (He communicated to 'Nature'
(September 30, 1880) an article by Dr. Wilder, of Cornell University, an
abstract of which was published (page 517). Dr. Wilder advocated the use
of the word 'Callisection' for painless operations on animals.) for
some hours, and I will jot down my conclusions, which will appear
very unsatisfactory to you. I have long thought physiology one of the
greatest of sciences, sure sooner, or more probably later, greatly to
benefit mankind; but, judging from all other sciences, the benefits will
accrue only indirectly in the search for abstract truth. It is certain
that physiology can progress only by experiments on living animals.
Therefore the proposal to limit research to points of which we can now
see the bearings in regard to health, etc., I look at as puerile.
I thought at first it would be good to limit vivisection to public
laboratories; but I have heard only of those in London and Cambridge,
and I think Oxford; but probably there may be a few others. Therefore
only men living in a few great towns would carry on investigation, and
this I should consider a great evil. If private men were permitted to
work in their own houses, and required a licence, I do not see who is
to determine whether any particular man should receive one. It is young
unknown men who are the most likely to do good work. I would gladly
punish severely any one who operated on an animal not rendered
insensible, if the experiment made this possible; but here again I do
not see that a magistrate or jury could possibly determine such a point.
Therefore I conclude, if (as is likely) some experiments have been tried
too often, or anaesthetics have not been used when they could have been,
the cure must be in the improvement of humanitarian feelings. Under this
point of view I have rejoiced at the present agitation. If stringent
laws are passed, and this is likely, seeing how unscientific the House
of Commons is, and that the gentlemen of England are humane, as long
as their sports are not considered, which entailed a hundred or
thousand-fold more suffering than the experiments of physiologists--if
such laws are passed, the result will assuredly be that physiology,
which has been until within the last few years at a standstill in
England, will languish or quite cease. It will then be carried on solely
on the Continent; and there will be so many the fewer workers on this
grand subject, and this I should greatly regret. By the way, F. Balfour,
who has worked for two or three years in the laboratory at Cambridge,
declares to George that he has never seen an experiment, except with
animals rendered insensible. No doubt the names of Doctors will have
great weight with the House of Commons; but very many practitioners
neither know nor care anything about the progress of knowledge. I
cannot at present see my way to sign any petition, without hearing what
physiologists thought would be its effect, and then judging for myself.
I certainly could not sign the paper sent me by Miss Cobbe, with its
monstrous (as it seems to me) attack on Virchow for experimenting on the
Trichinae. I am tired and so no more.

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, April 14 [1875].

My dear Hooker,

I worked all the time in London on the vivisection question; and we now
think it advisable to go further than a mere petition. Litchfield
(Mr. R.B. Litchfield, his son-in-law.) drew up a sketch of a Bill, the
essential features of which have been approved by Sanderson, Simon and
Huxley, and from conversation, will, I believe, be approved by Paget,
and almost certainly, I think, by Michael Foster. Sanderson, Simon and
Paget wish me to see Lord Derby, and endeavour to gain his advocacy with
the Home Secretary. Now, if this is carried into effect, it will be of
great importance to me to be able to say that the Bill in its essential
features has the approval of some half-dozen eminent scientific men. I
have therefore asked Litchfield to enclose a copy to you in its first
rough form; and if it is not essentially modified may I say that it
meets with your approval as President of the Royal Society? The object
is to protect animals, and at the same time not to injure Physiology,
and Huxley and Sanderson's approval almost suffices on this head. Pray
let me have a line from you soon.

Yours affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The Physiological Society, which was founded in 1876, was in some
measure the outcome of the anti-vivisection movement, since it was this
agitation which impressed on Physiologists the need of a centre for
those engaged in this particular branch of science. With respect to the
Society, my father wrote to Mr. Romanes (May 29, 1876):--

"I was very much gratified by the wholly unexpected honour of being
elected one of the Honorary Members. This mark of sympathy has pleased
me to a very high degree."

The following letter appeared in the "Times", April 18th, 1881:]

Upsala.) 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 so happens, animals will in the first place
receive more relief than man. Let it be remembered how many lives and
what a fearful amount of suffering have been saved by the knowledge
gained of parasitic worms through the experiments of Virchow and others
on living animals. In the future every one will be astonished at the
ingratitude shown, at least in England, to these benefactors of mankind.
As for myself, permit me to assure you that I honour, and shall always
honour, every one who advances the noble science of physiology.

Dear Sir, yours faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

[In the "Times" of the following day appeared a letter headed "Mr.
Darwin and Vivisection," signed by Miss Frances Power Cobbe. To this
my father replied in the "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.]



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

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 (page 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 (page 10):--

"The secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals, when asked whether the general tendency of the scientific world
in this country is at variance with humanity, says he believes it to be
very different, indeed, from that of foreign physiologists; and while
giving it as the opinion of the society that experiments are performed
which are in their nature beyond any legitimate province of science, and
that the pain which they inflict is pain which it is not justifiable to
inflict even for the scientific object in view, he readily acknowledges
that he does not know a single case of wanton cruelty, and that in
general the English physiologists have used anaesthetics where they
think they can do so with safety to the experiment."

I am, Sir, your obedient servant, CHARLES DARWIN.

April 21.

[In the "Times" of Saturday, April 23, 1881, appeared a letter from Miss
Cobbe in reply:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO G.J. ROMANES. Down, April 25, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

I was very glad to read your last note with much news interesting to
me. But I write now to say how I, and indeed all of us in the house
have admired your letter in the "Times". (April 25, 1881.--Mr. Romanes
defended Dr. Sanderson against the accusations made by Miss Cobbe.)
It was so simple and direct. I was particularly glad about Burton
Sanderson, of whom I have been for several years a great admirer. I was
also especially glad to read the last sentences. I have been bothered
with several letters, but none abusive. Under a SELFISH point of view
I am very glad of the publication of your letter, as I was at first
inclined to think that I had done mischief by stirring up the mud. Now
I feel sure that I have done good. Mr. Jesse has written to me very
politely, he says his Society has had nothing to do with placards and
diagrams against physiology, and I suppose, therefore, that these
all originate with Miss Cobbe... Mr. Jesse complains bitterly that
the "Times" will "burke" all his letters to this newspaper, nor am I
surprised, judging from the laughable tirades advertised in "Nature".

Ever yours, very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[The next letter refers to a projected conjoint article on vivisection,
to which Mr. Romanes wished my father to contribute:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO G.J. ROMANES. Down, September 2, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

Your letter has perplexed me beyond all measure. I fully recognise
the duty of every one whose opinion is worth anything, expressing his
opinion publicly on vivisection; and this made me send my letter to the
"Times". I have been thinking at intervals all morning what I could say,
and it is the simple truth that I have nothing worth saying. You and
men like you, whose ideas flow freely, and who can express them easily,
cannot understand the state of mental paralysis in which I find myself.
What is most wanted is a careful and accurate attempt to show what
physiology has already done for man, and even still more strongly
what there is every reason to believe it will hereafter do. Now I am
absolutely incapable of doing this, or of discussing the other points
suggested by you.

If you wish for my name (and I should be glad that it should appear with
that of others in the same cause), could you not quote some sentence
from my letter in the "Times" which I enclose, but please return it. If
you thought fit you might say you quoted it with my approval, and
that after still further reflection I still abide most strongly in my
expressed conviction.

For Heaven's sake, do think of this. I do not grudge the labour and
thought; but I could write nothing worth any one reading.

Allow me to demur to your calling your conjoint article a "symposium"
strictly a "drinking party." This seems to me very bad taste, and I do
hope every one of you will avoid any semblance of a joke on the subject.
I KNOW that words, like a joke, on this subject have quite disgusted
some persons not at all inimical to physiology. One person lamented
to me that Mr. Simon, in his truly admirable Address at the Medical
Congress (by far the best thing which I have read), spoke of the
fantastic SENSUALITY ('Transactions of the International Medical
Congress,' 1881, volume iv. page 413. The expression "lackadaisical"
(not fantastic), and "feeble sensuality," are used with regard to the
feelings of the ant-vivisectionists.) (or some such term) of the many
mistaken, but honest men and women who are half mad on the subject...

[To Dr. Lauder Brunton my father wrote in February 1882:--

"Have you read Mr. [Edmund] Gurney's articles in the 'Fortnightly' ("A
chapter in the Ethics of Pain," 'Fortnightly Review,' 1881, volume xxx.
page 778.) and 'Cornhill?' ("An Epilogue on Vivisection," 'Cornhill
Magazine,' 1882, volume xlv. page 191.) They seem to me very clever,
though obscurely written, and I agree with almost everything he says,
except with some passages which appear to imply that no experiments
should be tried unless some immediate good can be predicted, and this is
a gigantic mistake contradicted by the whole history of science."]

CHAPTER 2.IX. -- MISCELLANEA (continued)



[We have now to consider the work (other than botanical) which occupied
the concluding six years of my father's life. A letter to his old friend
Rev. L. Blomefield (Jenyns), written in March, 1877, shows what was my
father's estimate of his own powers of work at this time:--

"My dear Jenyns (I see I have forgotten your proper names).--Your
extremely kind letter has given me warm pleasure. As one gets old, one's
thoughts turn back to the past rather than to the future, and I often
think of the pleasant, and to me valuable, hours which I spent with you
on the borders of the Fens.

"You ask about my future work; I doubt whether I shall be able to do
much more that is new, and I always keep before my mind the example
of poor old --, who in his old age had a cacoethes for writing. But I
cannot endure doing nothing, so I suppose that I shall go on as long as
I can without obviously making a fool of myself. I have a great mass
of matter with respect to variation under nature; but so much has been
published since the appearance of the 'Origin of Species,' that I very
much doubt whether I retain power of mind and strength to reduce the
mass into a digested whole. I have sometimes thought that I would try,
but dread the attempt..."

His prophecy proved to be a true one with regard to any continuation
of any general work in the direction of Evolution, but his estimate of
powers which could afterwards prove capable of grappling with the 'Power
of Movement in Plants,' and with the work on 'Earthworms,' was certainly
a low one.

The year 1876, with which the present chapter begins, brought with it
a revival of geological work. He had been astonished, as I hear from
Professor Judd, and as appears in his letters, to learn that his books
on 'Volcanic Islands,' 1844, and on 'South America,' 1846, were still
consulted by geologists, and it was a surprise to him that new editions
should be required. Both these works were originally published by
Messrs. Smith and Elder, and the new edition of 1876 was also brought
out by them. This appeared in one volume with the title 'Geological
Observations on the Volcanic Islands, and Parts of South America visited
during the Voyage of H.M.S. "Beagle".' He has explained in the preface
his reasons for leaving untouched the text of the original editions:
"They relate to parts of the world which have been so rarely visited
by men of science, that I am not aware that much could be corrected or
added from observations subsequently made. Owing to the great progress
which Geology has made within recent times, my views on some few points
may be somewhat antiquated; but I have thought it best to leave them as
they originally appeared."

It may have been the revival of geological speculation, due to the
revision of his early books, that led to his recording the observations
of which some account is given in the following letter. Part of it
has been published in Professor James Geikie's 'Prehistoric Europe,'
chapters vii. and ix. (My father's suggestion is also noticed in Prof.
Geikie's address on the 'Ice Age in Europe and North America,' given
at Edinburgh, November 20, 1884.), a few verbal alterations having been
made at my father's request in the passages quoted. Mr. Geikie lately
wrote to me: "The views suggested in his letter as to the origin of the
angular gravels, etc., in the South of England will, I believe, come to
be accepted as the truth. This question has a much wider bearing than
might at first appear. In point of fact it solves one of the most
difficult problems in Quaternary Geology--and has already attracted the
attention of German geologists."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO JAMES GEIKIE. Down, November 16, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will forgive me for troubling you with a very long
letter. But first allow me to tell you with what extreme pleasure and
admiration I have just finished reading your 'Great Ice Age.' It seems
to me admirably done, and most clear. Interesting as many chapters are
in the history of the world, I do not think that any one comes [up]
nearly to the glacial period or periods. Though I have steadily read
much on the subject, your book makes the whole appear almost new to me.

I am now going to mention a small observation, made by me two or three
years ago, near Southampton, but not followed out, as I have no strength
for excursions. I need say nothing about the character of the drift
there (which includes palaeolithic celts), for you have described its
essential features in a few words at page 506. It covers the whole
country [in an] even plain-like surface, almost irrespective of the
present outline of the land.

The coarse stratification has sometimes been disturbed. I find that you
allude "to the larger stones often standing on end;" and this is the
point which struck me so much. Not only moderately sized angular stones,
but small oval pebbles often stand vertically up, in a manner which I
have never seen in ordinary gravel beds. This fact reminded me of what
occurs near my home, in the stiff red clay, full of unworn flints over
the chalk, which is no doubt the residue left undissolved by rain
water. In this clay, flints as long and thin as my arm often stand
perpendicularly up; and I have been told by the tank-diggers that it
is their "natural position!" I presume that this position may safely be
attributed to the differential movement of parts of the red clay as it
subsided very slowly from the dissolution of the underlying chalk; so
that the flints arrange themselves in the lines of least resistance. The
similar but less strongly marked arrangement of the stones in the
drift near Southampton makes me suspect that it also must have
slowly subsided; and the notion has crossed my mind that during the
commencement and height of the glacial period great beds of frozen snow
accumulated over the south of England, and that, during the summer,
gravel and stones were washed from the higher land over its surface, and
in superficial channels. The larger streams may have cut right through
the frozen snow, and deposited gravel in lines at the bottom. But on
each succeeding autumn, when the running water failed, I imagine that
the lines of drainage would have been filled up by blown snow afterwards
congealed, and that, owing to great surface accumulations of snow, it
would be a mere chance whether the drainage, together with gravel and
sand, would follow the same lines during the next summer. Thus, as I
apprehend, alternate layers of frozen snow and drift, in sheets and
lines, would ultimately have covered the country to a great thickness,
with lines of drift probably deposited in various directions at the
bottom by the larger streams. As the climate became warmer, the lower
beds of frozen snow would have melted with extreme slowness, and the
many irregular beds of interstratified drift would have sunk down with
equal slowness; and during this movement the elongated pebbles would
have arranged themselves more or less vertically. The drift would also
have been deposited almost irrespective of the outline of the underlying
land. When I viewed the country I could not persuade myself that any
flood, however great, could have deposited such coarse gravel over the
almost level platforms between the valleys. My view differs from that
of Holst, page 415 ['Great Ice Age'], of which I had never heard, as
his relates to channels cut through glaciers, and mine to beds of drift
interstratified with frozen snow where no glaciers existed. The upshot
of this long letter is to ask you to keep my notion in your head,
and look out for upright pebbles in any lowland country which you may
examine, where glaciers have not existed. Or if you think the notion
deserves any further thought, but not otherwise, to tell any one of
it, for instance Mr. Skertchly, who is examining such districts. Pray
forgive me for writing so long a letter, and again thanking you for the
great pleasure derived from your book,

I remain yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.... I am glad that you have read Blytt (Axel Blytt.--'Essay on
the Immigration of the Norwegian Flora during alternate rainy and dry
Seasons.' Christiania, 1876.); his paper seemed to me a most important
contribution to Botanical Geography. How curious that the same
conclusions should have been arrived at by Mr. Skertchly, who seems to
be a first-rate observer; and this implies, as I always think, a sound

I have told my publisher to send you in two or three days a copy (second
edition) of my geological work during the voyage of the "Beagle". The
sole point which would perhaps interest you is about the steppe-like
plains of Patagonia.

For many years past I have had fearful misgivings that it must have been
the level of the sea, and not that of the land which has changed.

I read a few months ago your [brother's] very interesting life of
Murchison. (By Mr. Archibald Geikie.) Though I have always thought that
he ranked next to W. Smith in the classification of formations, and
though I knew how kind-hearted [he was], yet the book has raised him
greatly in my respect, notwithstanding his foibles and want of broad
philosophical views.

[The only other geological work of his later years was embodied in
his book on earthworms (1881), which may therefore be conveniently
considered in this place. This subject was one which had interested him
many years before this date, and in 1838 a paper on the formation of
mould was published in the Proceedings of the Geological Society (see
volume i.).

Here he showed that "fragments of burnt marl, cinders, etc., 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 received much valuable help from Dr. King,
of the Botanical Gardens, Calcutta. The following passage is from a
letter to Dr. King, dated January 18, 1873:--

"I really do not know how to thank you enough for the immense trouble
which you have taken. You have attended EXACTLY and FULLY to the points
about which I was most anxious. If I had been each evening by your side,
I could not have suggested anything else.") He also added a mass of
observations on the habits, 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'
work on the old concrete-floors, walls, etc. On his return he wrote to
Sir Thomas Farrer:

"I cannot remember a more delightful week than the last. I know very
well that E. will not believe me, but the worms were by no means the
sole charm."

In the autumn of 1880, when the '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.' (The full title is 'The Formation of Vegetable Mould through the
Action of Worms with Observations on their Habits,' 1881.) 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
proo-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, dumb,
senseless, and unpleasantly slimy annelid. Mr. Darwin undertakes to
rehabilitate his character, and the earthworm steps forth at once as
an intelligent and beneficent 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 Gazette", October 17, 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" (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.), 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
(The wish to do so was shared by his brother, Erasmus Darwin the
younger, who continued to be associated with the project.) 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." A subsequent letter (April
8) to the same correspondent describes the source of a further supply of

Since my last letter I have made a strange discovery; for an old box
from my father marked "Old Deeds," and which consequently I had never
opened, I found full of letters--hundreds from Dr. Erasmus--and others
from old members of the Family: some few very curious. Also a drawing of
Elston before it was altered, about 1750, of which I think I will give a

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 forebears 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."

The publication of the 'Life of Erasmus Darwin' led to an attack by
Mr. Samuel Butler, which amounted to a charge of falsehood against my
father. After consulting his friends, he came to the determination to
leave the charge unanswered, as unworthy of his notice. (He had, in a
letter to Mr. Butler, expressed his regret at the oversight which caused
so much offence.) Those who wish to know more of the matter, may gather
the facts of the case from Ernst Krause's 'Charles Darwin,' and they
will find Mr. Butler's statement of his grievance in the "Athenaeum",
January 31, 1880, and in the "St. James's Gazette", December 8, 1880.
The affair gave my father much pain, but the warm sympathy of those
whose opinion he respected soon helped him to let it pass into a
well-merited oblivion.

The following letter refers to M. J.H. Fabre's 'Souvenirs
Entomologiques.' It may find a place here, as it contains a defence of
Erasmus Darwin on a small point. The postscript is interesting, as
an example of one of my father's bold ideas both as to experiment and

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.H. FABRE. Down, January 31, 1880.

My dear Sir,

I hope that you will permit me to have the satisfaction of thanking you
cordially for the lively pleasure which I have derived from reading
your book. Never have the wonderful habits of insects been more vividly
described, and it is almost as good to read about them as to see them. I
feel sure that you would not be unjust to even an insect, much less to
a man. Now, you have been misled by some translator, for my grandfather,
Erasmus Darwin, states ('Zoonomia,' volume i. page 183, 1794) that it
was a wasp (guepe) which he saw cutting off the wings of a large fly. I
have no doubt that you are right in saying that the wings are generally
cut off instinctively; but in the case described by my grandfather, the
wasp, after cutting off the two ends of the body, rose in the air, and
was turned round by the wind; he then alighted and cut off the wings. I
must believe, with Pierre Huber, that insects have "une petite dose de
raison." In the next edition of your book, I hope that you will alter
PART of what you say about my grandfather.

I am sorry that you are so strongly opposed to the Descent theory; I
have found the searching for the history of each structure or instinct
an excellent aid to observation; and wonderful observer as you are, it
would suggest new points to you. If I were to write on the evolution of
instincts, I could make good use of some of the facts which you give.
Permit me to add, that when I read the last sentence in your book, I
sympathised deeply with you. (The book is intended as a memorial of the
early death of M. Fabre's son, who had been his father's assistant in
his observations on insect life.)

With the most sincere respect, I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

P.S.--Allow me to make a suggestion in relation to your wonderful
account of insects finding their way home. I formerly wished to try it
with pigeons: namely, to carry the insects in their paper "cornets,"
about a hundred paces in the opposite direction to that which you
ultimately intended to carry them; but before turning round to return,
to put the insect in a circular box, with an axle which could be made to
revolve very rapidly, first in one direction, and then in another, so
as to destroy for a time all sense of direction in the insects. I have
sometimes IMAGINED that animals may feel in which direction they were at
the first start carried. (This idea was a favourite one with him, and he
has described in 'Nature' (volume vii. 1873, page 360) the behaviour of
his cob Tommy, in whom he fancied he detected a sense of direction. The
horse had been taken by rail from Kent to the Isle of Wight; when there
he exhibited a marked desire to go eastward, even when his stable lay in
the opposite direction. In the same volume of 'Nature,' page 417, is
a letter on the 'Origin of Certain Instincts,' which contains a short
discussion on the sense of direction.) If this plan failed, I had
intended placing the pigeons within an induction coil, so as to disturb
any magnetic or dia-magnetic sensibility, which it seems just possible
that they may possess.


[During the latter years of my father's life there was a growing
tendency in the public to do him honour. In 1877 he received the
honorary degree of LL.D. from the 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
naturae 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. A sum of
about 400 pounds was subscribed, and after the rejection of the idea
that a bust would be the best memorial, a picture was determined on. In
June 1879 he sat to Mr. W. Richmond for the portrait in the possession
of the University, now placed in the Library of the philosophical
Society at Cambridge. He is represented seated in his Doctor's gown, the
head turned towards the spectator: the picture has many admirers, but,
according to my own view, neither the attitude nor the expression are
characteristic of my father.

A similar wish on the part of the Linnean Society-- with which my father
was so closely associated--led to his sitting in August, 1881, to Mr.
John Collier, for the portrait now in the possession of the Society.
Of the artist, he wrote, "Collier was the most considerate, kind and
pleasant painter a sitter could desire." The portrait represents him
standing facing the observer in the loose cloak so familiar to those who
knew him, and with his slouch hat in his hand. Many of those who knew
his face most intimately, think that Mr. Collier's picture is the best
of the portraits, and in this 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. There is a certain
expression in Mr. Collier's portrait which I am inclined to consider an
exaggeration of the almost painful expression which Professor Cohn has
described in my father's face, and which he had previously noticed in
Humboldt. Professor Cohn's remarks occur in a pleasantly written account
of a visit to Down in 1876, published in the "Breslauer Zeitung", April
23, 1882. (In this connection may be mentioned a visit (1881) from
another distinguished German, Hans Richter. The occurrence is otherwise
worthy of mention, inasmuch as it led to the publication, after my
father's death, of Herr Richter's recollections of the visit. The sketch
is simply and sympathetically written, and the author has succeeded in
giving a true picture of my father as he lived at Down. It appeared in
the "Neue Tagblatt" of Vienna, and was republished by Dr. O. Zacharias
in his 'Charles R. Darwin,' Berlin, 1882.)

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 ("Lyell always spoke of it as a great scandal that Darwin
was so long kept out of the French Institute. As he said, even if the
development hypothesis were objected to, Darwin's original works on
Coral Reefs, the Cirripedia, and other subjects, constituted a more
than sufficient claim"--From Professor Judd's notes.), in the Botanical
Section, 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."

(The statement has been more than once published that he was elected to
the Zoological Section, but this was not the case.

He received twenty-six votes out of a possible 39, five blank papers
were sent in, and eight votes were recorded for the other candidates.

In 1872 an attempt had been made to elect him to the Section of Zoology,
when, however, he only received 15 out of 48 votes, and Loven was chosen
for the vacant place. It appears ('Nature,' August 1, 1872) that an
eminent member of the Academy wrote to "Les Mondes" to the following

"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.")

In the early part of the same year he was elected a Corresponding Member
of the Berlin Academy of Sciences, and he wrote (March 12) to Professor
Du Bois Reymond, who had proposed him for election:--

"I thank you sincerely for your most kind letter, in which you announce
the great honour conferred on me. The knowledge of the names of the
illustrious men, who seconded the proposal is even a greater pleasure to
me than the honour itself."

The seconders were Helmholtz, Peters, Ewald, Pringsheim and Virchow.

In 1879 he received the Baly Medal of the Royal College of Physicians.
(The visit to London, necessitated by the presentation of the Baly
Medal, was combined with a visit to Miss Forster's house at Abinger,
in Surrey, and this was the occasion of the following characteristic
letter:--"I must write a few words to thank you cordially for lending us
your house. It was a most kind thought, and has pleased me greatly; but
I know well that I do not deserve such kindness from any one. On the
other hand, no one can be too kind to my dear wife, who is worth her
weight in gold many times over, and she was anxious that I should
get some complete rest, and here I cannot rest. Your house will be a
delightful haven and again I thank you truly.")

Again in 1879 he received from the Royal Academy of Turin the "Bressa"
prize for the years 1875-78, amounting to the sum of 12,000 francs.
In the following year he received on his birthday, as on previous
occasions, a kind letter of congratulation from Dr. Dohrn of Naples. In
writing (February 15th) to thank him and the other naturalists at the
Zoological Station, my father added:--

"Perhaps you saw in the papers that the Turin Society honoured me to an
extraordinary degree by awarding me the "Bressa" Prize. Now it occurred
to me that if your station wanted some pieces of apparatus, of about the
value of 100 pounds, 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 pounds was presented to the
Naples Station.

He received also several tokens of respect and sympathy of a more
private character from various sources. With regard to such incidents
and to the estimation of the public generally, his attitude may be
illustrated by a passage from a letter to Mr. Romanes:--(The lecture
referred to was given at the Dublin meeting of the British association.)

"You have indeed passed a most magnificent eulogium upon me, and I
wonder that you were not afraid of hearing 'oh! oh!' or some other sign
of disapprobation. Many persons think that what I have done in science
has been much overrated, and I very often think so myself; but my
comfort is that I have never consciously done anything to gain applause.
Enough and too much about my dear self."

Among such expressions of regard he valued very highly the two
photographic albums received from Germany and Holland on his birthday,
1877. Herr Emil Rade of Munster, originated the idea of the German
birthday gift, and undertook the necessary arrangements. To him my
father wrote (February 16, 1877):--

"I hope that you will inform the one hundred and fifty-four men of
science, including some of the most highly honoured names in the world,
how grateful I am for their kindness and generous sympathy in having
sent me their photographs on my birthday."

To Professor Haeckel he wrote (February 16, 1877):--

The album has just arrived quite safe. It is most superb. (The album is
magnificently bound and decorated with a beautifully illuminated
title page, the work of an artist, Herr A. Fitger of Bremen, who also
contributed the dedicatory poem.) It is by far the greatest honour which
I have ever received, and my satisfaction has been greatly enhanced by
your most kind letter of February 9... I thank you all from my heart.
I have written by this post to Herr Rade, and I hope he will somehow
manage to thank all my generous friends."

To Professor A. van Bemmelen he wrote, on receiving a similar present
from a number of distinguished men and lovers of Natural History in the


I received yesterday the magnificent present of the album, together
with your letter. I hope that you will endeavour to find some means to
express to the two hundred and seventeen distinguished observers and
lovers of natural science, who have sent me their photographs, my
gratitude for their extreme kindness. I feel deeply gratified by this
gift, and I do not think that any testimonial more honourable to me
could have been imagined. I am well aware that my books could never have
been written, and would not have made any impression on the public mind,
had not an immense amount of material been collected by a long series
of admirable observers; and it is to them that honour is chiefly due. I
suppose that every worker at science occasionally feels depressed, and
doubts whether what he has published has been worth the labour which
it has cost him, but for the few remaining years of my life, whenever
I want cheering, I will look at the portraits of my distinguished
co-workers in the field of science, and remember their generous
sympathy. When I die, the album will be a most precious bequest to my
children. I must further express my obligation for the very interesting
history contained in your letter of the progress of opinion in the
Netherlands, with respect to Evolution, the whole of which is quite new
to me. I must again thank all my kind friends, from my heart, for their
ever-memorable testimonial, and I remain, Sir,

Your obliged and grateful servant, CHARLES R. DARWIN."

[In the June of the following year (1878) he was gratified by learning
that the Emperor of Brazil had expressed a wish to meet him. Owing to
absence from home my father was unable to comply with this wish; he
wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"The Emperor has done so much for science, that every scientific man is
bound to show him the utmost respect, and I hope that you will express
in the strongest language, and which you can do with entire truth, how
greatly I feel honoured by his wish to see me; and how much I regret my
absence from home."

Finally it should be mentioned that in 1880 he received an address
personally presented by members of the Council of the Birmingham
Philosophical Society, as well as a memorial from the Yorkshire
Naturalist Union presented by some of the members, headed by Dr. Sorby.
He also received in the same year a visit from some of the members of
the Lewisham and Blackheath Scientific Association,--a visit which was,
I think, enjoyed by both guests and host.]


[The chief incident of a personal kind (not already dealt with) in the
years which we are now considering was the death of his brother Erasmus,
who died at his house in Queen Anne Street, on August 26th, 1881. My
father wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker (August 30):--

"The death of Erasmus is a very heavy loss to all of us, for he had
a most affectionate disposition. He always appeared to me the most
pleasant and clearest headed man, whom I have ever known. London will
seem a strange place to me without his presence; I am deeply glad that
he died without any great suffering, after a very short illness from
mere weakness and not from any definite disease. ("He was not, I
think, a happy man, and for many years did not value life, though never
complaining."--From a letter to Sir Thomas Farrer.)

"I cannot quite agree with you about the death of the old and young.
Death in the latter case, when there is a bright future ahead, causes
grief never to be wholly obliterated."

An incident of a happy character may also be selected for especial
notice, since it was one which strongly moved my father's sympathy.
A letter (December 17, 1879) to Sir Joseph Hooker shows that the
possibility of a Government Pension being conferred on Mr. Wallace first
occurred to my father at this time. The idea was taken up by others, and
my father's letters show that he felt the most lively interest in the
success of the plan. He wrote, for instance, to Mrs. Fisher, "I hardly
ever wished for anything more than I do for the success of our plan." He
was deeply pleased when this thoroughly deserved honour was bestowed on
his friend, and wrote to the same correspondent (January 7, 1881),
on receiving a letter from Mr. Gladstone announcing the fact: "How
extraordinarily kind of Mr. Gladstone to find time to write under the
present circumstances. (Mr. Gladstone was then in office, and the letter
must have been written when he was overwhelmed with business connected
with the opening of Parliament (January 6). Good heavens! how pleased I

The letters which follow are of a miscellaneous character and refer
principally to the books he read, and to his minor writings.]


My dear Miss Buckley,

You must let me have the pleasure of saying that I have just finished
reading with very great interest your new book. ('A Short History of
Natural Science.') The idea seems to me a capital one, and as far as I
can judge very well carried out. There is much fascination in taking
a bird's eye view of all the grand leading steps in the progress of
science. At first I regretted that you had not kept each science more
separate; but I dare say you found it impossible. I have hardly any
criticisms, except that I think you ought to have introduced Murchison
as a great classifier of formations, second only to W. Smith. You have
done full justice, and not more than justice, to our dear old master,
Lyell. Perhaps a little more ought to have been said about botany, and
if you should ever add this, you would find Sachs' 'History,' lately
published, very good for your purpose.

You have crowned Wallace and myself with much honour and glory. I
heartily congratulate you on having produced so novel and interesting a
work, and remain,

My dear Miss Buckley, yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. [Hopedene] (Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's
house in Surrey.), June 5, 1876.

My dear Wallace,

I must have the pleasure of expressing to you my unbounded admiration of
your book ('Geographical Distribution,' 1876.), though I have read only
to page 184--my object having been to do as little as possible while
resting. I feel sure that you have laid a broad and safe foundation
for all future work on Distribution. How interesting it will be to see
hereafter plants treated in strict relation to your views; and then all
insects, pulmonate molluscs and fresh-water fishes, in greater detail
than I suppose you have given to these lower animals. The point which
has interested me most, but I do not say the most valuable point, is
your protest against sinking imaginary continents in a quite reckless
manner, as was stated by Forbes, followed, alas, by Hooker, and
caricatured by Wollaston and [Andrew] Murray! By the way, the main
impression that the latter author has left on my mind is his utter want
of all scientific judgment. I have lifted up my voice against the above
view with no avail, but I have no doubt that you will succeed, owing
to your new arguments and the coloured chart. Of a special value, as it
seems to me, is the conclusion that we must determine the areas, chiefly
by the nature of the mammals. When I worked many years ago on this
subject, I doubted much whether the now called Palaearctic and Nearctic
regions ought to be separated; and I determined if I made another region
that it should be Madagascar. I have, therefore, been able to appreciate
your evidence on these points. What progress Palaeontology has made
during the last 20 years; but if it advances at the same rate in the
future, our views on the migration and birth-place of the various groups
will, I fear, be greatly altered. I cannot feel quite easy about the
Glacial period, and the extinction of large mammals, but I must hope
that you are right. I think you will have to modify your belief about
the difficulty of dispersal of land molluscs; I was interrupted when
beginning to experimentize on the just hatched young adhering to the
feet of groun-roosting birds. I differ on one other point, viz. in the
belief that there must have existed a Tertiary Antarctic continent, from
which various forms radiated to the southern extremities of our present
continents. But I could go on scribbling forever. You have written, as
I believe, a grand and memorable work which will last for years as the
foundation for all future treatises on Geographical Distribution.

My dear Wallace, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--You have paid me the highest conceivable compliment, by what
you say of your work in relation to my chapters on distribution in the
'Origin,' and I heartily thank you for it.

[The following letters illustrate my father's power of taking a vivid
interest in work bearing on Evolution, but unconnected with his own
special researches at the time. The books referred to in the first
letter are Professor Weismann's 'Studien zur Descendenzlehre' (My father
contributed a prefatory note to Mr. Meldola's translation of Prof.
Weismann's 'Studien,' 1880-81.), being part of the series of essays
by which the author has done such admirable service to the cause of


... I read German so slowly, and have had lately to read several other
papers, so that I have as yet finished only half of your first essay and
two-thirds of your second. They have excited my interest and admiration
in the highest degree, and whichever I think of last, seems to me
the most valuable. I never expected to see the coloured marks on
caterpillars so well explained; and the case of the ocelli delights me

... There is one other subject which has always seemed to me more
difficult to explain than even the colours of caterpillars, and that is
the colour of birds' eggs, and I wish you would take this up.

CHARLES DARWIN TO MELCHIOR NEUMAYR (Professor of Palaeontology at
Vienna.), VIENNA. Down, Beckenham, Kent, March 9, 1877.

Dear Sir,

From having been obliged to read other books, I finished only
yesterday your essay on 'Die Congerien,' etc. ('Die Congerien und
Paludinenschichten Slavoneins.' 4to, 1875.)

I hope that you will allow me to express my gratitude for the pleasure
and instruction which I have derived from reading it. It seems to me to
be an admirable work; and is by far the best case which I have ever
met with, showing the direct influence of the conditions of life on the

Mr. Hyatt, who has been studying the Hilgendorf case, writes to me with
respect to the conclusions at which he has arrived, and these are nearly
the same as yours. He insists that closely similar forms may be derived
from distinct lines of descent; and this is what I formerly called
analogical variation. There can now be no doubt that species may become
greatly modified through the direct action of the environment. I have
some excuse for not having formerly insisted more strongly on this head
in my 'Origin of Species,' as most of the best facts have been observed
since its publication.

With my renewed thanks for your most interesting essay, and with the
highest respect, I remain, dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO E.S. MORSE. Down, April 23, 1877.

My dear Sir,

You must allow me just to tell you how very much I have been interested
with the excellent Address ("What American Zoologists have done for
Evolution," an Address to the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, August, 1876. Volume xxv. of the Proceedings of the
Association.) which you have been so kind as to send me, and which I had
much wished to read. I believe that I had read all, or very nearly all,
the papers by your countrymen to which you refer, but I have been fairly
astonished at their number and importance when seeing them thus put
together. I quite agree about the high value of Mr. Allen's works
(Mr. J.A. Allen shows the existence of geographical races of birds and
mammals. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. volume xv.), as showing how much
change may be expected apparently through the direct action of the
conditions of life. As for the fossil remains in the West, no words will
express how wonderful they are. There is one point which I regret that
you did not make clear in your Address, namely what is the meaning and
importance of Professors Cope and Hyatt's views on acceleration and
retardation. I have endeavoured, and given up in despair, the attempt to
grasp their meaning.

Permit me to thank you cordially for the kind feeling shown towards me
through your Address, and I remain, my dear Sir,

Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The next letter refers to his 'Biographical Sketch of an Infant,'
written from notes made 37 years previously, and published in 'Mind,'
July, 1877. The article attracted a good deal of attention, and was
translated at the time in 'Kosmos,' and the 'Revue Scientifique,'
and has been recently published in Dr. Krause's 'Gesammelte kleinere
SchrifteN von Charles Darwin,' 1887:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO G. CROOM ROBERTSON. (The editor of 'Mind.') Down,
April 27, 1877.

Dear Sir,

I hope that you will be so good as to take the trouble to read the
enclosed MS., and if you think it fit for publication in your admirable
journal of 'Mind,' I shall be gratified. If you do not think it fit, as
is very likely, will you please to return it to me. I hope that you will
read it in an extra critical spirit, as I cannot judge whether it is
worth publishing from having been so much interested in watching the
dawn of the several faculties in my own infant. I may add that I should
never have thought of sending you the MS., had not M. Taine's article
appeared in your Journal. (1877, page 252. The original appeared in the
'Revue Philosophique' 1876.) If my MS. is printed, I think that I had
better see a proof.

I remain, dear Sir, Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The two following extracts show the lively interest he preserved in
diverse fields of enquiry. Professor Cohn of Breslau had mentioned, in
a letter, Koch's researches on Splenic Fever, my father replied, January

"I well remember saying to myself, between twenty and thirty years ago,
that if ever the origin of any infectious disease could be proved, it
would be the greatest triumph to science; and now I rejoice to have seen
the triumph."

In the spring he received a copy of Dr. E. von Mojsisovics' 'Dolomit
Riffe,' his letter to the author (June 1, 1878) is interesting as
bearing on the influence of his own work on the methods of geology.

"I have at last found time to read the first chapter of your 'Dolomit
Riffe,' and have been EXCEEDINGLY interested by it. What a wonderful
change in the future of Geological chronology you indicate, by assuming
the descent theory to be established, and then taking the graduated
changes of the same group of organisms as the true standard! I never
hoped to live to see such a step even proposed by any one."

Another geological research which roused my father's admiration was Mr.
D. Mackintosh's work on erratic blocks. Apart from its intrinsic merit
the work keenly excited his sympathy from the conditions under which it
was executed, Mr. Mackintosh being compelled to give nearly his
whole time to tuition. The following passage is from a letter to Mr.
Mackintosh of October 9, 1879, and refers to his paper in the Journal of
the Geological Society, 1878:--

"I hope that you will allow me to have the pleasure of thanking you
for the very great pleasure which I have derived from just reading your
paper on erratic blocks. The map is wonderful, and what labour each
of those lines show! I have thought for some years that the agency of
floating ice, which nearly half a century ago was overrated, has of
late been underrated. You are the sole man who has ever noticed the
distinction suggested by me (In his paper on the 'Ancient Glaciers of
Carnarvonshire,' Phil. Mag. xxi. 1842.) between flat or planed scored
rocks, and mammillated scored rocks."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. RIDLEY. Down, November 28, 1878.

Dear Sir,

I just skimmed through Dr. Pusey's sermon, as published in the
"Guardian", but it did [not] seem to me worthy of any attention. As I
have never answered criticisms excepting those made by scientific men,
I am not willing that this letter should be published; but I have no
objection to your saying that you sent me the three questions, and that
I answered that Dr. Pusey was mistaken in imagining that I wrote the
'Origin' with any relation whatever to Theology. I should have thought
that this would have been evident to any one who had taken the trouble
to read the book, more especially as in the opening lines of the
introduction I specify how the subject arose in my mind. This answer
disposes of your two other questions; but I may add that many years
ago, when I was collecting facts for the 'Origin,' my belief in what is
called a personal God was as firm as that of Dr. Pusey himself, and
as to the eternity of matter I have never troubled myself about such
insoluble questions. Dr. Pusey's attack will be as powerless to retard
by a day the belief in Evolution, as were the virulent attacks made by
divines fifty years ago against Geology, and the still older ones of the
Catholic Church against Galileo, for the public is wise enough always to
follow Scientific men when they agree on any subject; and now there is
almost complete unanimity amongst Biologists about Evolution, though
there is still considerable difference as to the means, such as how far
natural selection has acted, and how far external conditions, or whether
there exists some mysterious innate tendency to perfectability. I
remain, dear Sir,

Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[Theologians were not the only adversaries of freedom in science. On
September 22, 1877, Prof. Virchow delivered an address at the Munich
meeting of German Naturalists and Physicians, which had the effect of
connecting Socialism with the Descent theory. This point of view was
taken up by anti-evolutionists to such an extent that, according to
Haeckel, the "Kreuz Zeitung" threw "all the blame of" the "treasonable
attempts of the democrats Hodel and Nobiling... directly on the theory of
Descent." Prof. Haeckel replied with vigour and ability in his 'Freedom
in Science and Teaching' (English Translation 1879), an essay which must
have the sympathy of all lovers of freedom.

The following passage from a letter (December 26, 1879) to Dr. Scherzer,
the author of the 'Voyage of the "Novara",' gives a hint of my father's
views on this once burning question:--

"What a foolish idea seems to prevail in Germany on the connection
between Socialism and Evolution through Natural Selection."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.N. MOSELEY. (Professor of Zoology at Oxford.
The book alluded to is Prof. Moseley's 'Notes by a Naturalist on the
"Challenger".') Down, January 20, 1879.

Dear Moseley,

I have just received your book, and I declare that never in my life
have I seen a dedication which I admired so much. ("To Charles Darwin,
Esquire, LL.D., F.R.S., etc., from the study of whose 'Journal of
Researches' I mainly derived my desire to travel round the world; to the
development of whose theory I owe the principal pleasures and interests
of my life, and who has personally given me much kindly encouragement in
the prosecution of my studies, this book is, by permission, gratefully
dedicated.") Of course I am not a fair judge, but I hope that I speak
dispassionately, though you have touched me in my very tenderest point,
by saying that my old Journal mainly gave you the wish to travel as a
Naturalist. I shall begin to read your book this very evening, and am
sure that I shall enjoy it much.

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO H.N. MOSELEY. Down, February 4, 1879.

Dear Moseley,

I have at last read every word of your book, and it has excited in me
greater interest than any other scientific book which I have read for
a long time. You will perhaps be surprised how slow I have been, but
my head prevents me reading except at intervals. If I were asked which
parts have interested me most, I should be somewhat puzzled to answer.
I fancy that the general reader would prefer your account of Japan.
For myself I hesitate between your discussions and description of the
Southern ice, which seems to me admirable, and the last chapter which
contained many facts and views new to me, though I had read your papers
on the stony Hydroid Corals, yet your resume made me realise better than
I had done before, what a most curious case it is.

You have also collected a surprising number of valuable facts bearing on
the dispersal of plants, far more than in any other book known to me.
In fact your volume is a mass of interesting facts and discussions,
with hardly a superfluous word; and I heartily congratulate you on its

Your dedication makes me prouder than ever.

Believe me, yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[In November, 1879, he answered for Mr. Galton a series of questions
utilised in his 'Inquiries into Human Faculty,' 1883. He wrote to Mr.

"I have answered the questions as well as I could, but they are
miserably answered, for I have never tried looking into my own mind.
Unless others answer very much better than I can do, you will get no
good from your queries. Do you not think you ought to have the age
of the answerer? I think so, because I can call up faces of many
schoolboys, not seen for sixty years, with MUCH DISTINCTNESS, but
nowadays I may talk with a man for an hour, and see him several times
consecutively, and, after a month, I am utterly unable to recollect what
he is at all like. The picture is quite washed out. The greater number
of the answers are given in the annexed table."]


1. ILLUMINATION? Moderate, but my solitary breakfast was early, and the
morning dark.

2. DEFINITION? Some objects quite defined, a slice of cold beef, some
grapes and a pear, the state of my plate when I had finished, and a few
other objects, are as distinct as if I had photo's before me.

3. COMPLETENESS? Very moderately so.

4. COLOURING? The objects above named perfectly coloured.

5. EXTENT OF FIELD OF VIEW? Rather small.


6. PRINTED PAGES. I cannot remember a single sentence, but I remember
the place of the sentence and the kind of type.

7. FURNITURE? I have never attended to it.

8. PERSONS? I remember the faces of persons formerly well-known vividly,
and can make them do anything I like.

9. SCENERY? Remembrance vivid and distinct, and gives me pleasure.



12. MECHANISM? Never tried.

13. GEOMETRY? I do not think I have any power of the kind.

14. NUMERALS? When I think of any number, printed figures arise before
my mind. I can't remember for an hour four consecutive figures.

15. CARD PLAYING? Have not played for many years, but I am sure should
not remember.

16. CHESS? Never played.

[In 1880 he published a short paper in 'Nature' (volume xxi. page 207)
on the "Fertility of Hybrids from the common and Chinese goose." He
received the hybrids from the Rev. Dr. Goodacre, and was glad of the
opportunity of testing the accuracy of the statement that these species
are fertile inter se. This fact, which was given in the 'Origin' on
the authority of Mr. Eyton, he considered the most remarkable as
yet recorded with respect to the fertility of hybrids. The fact (as
confirmed by himself and Dr. Goodacre) is of interest as giving another
proof that sterility is no criterion of specific difference, since the
two species of goose now shown to be fertile inter se are so distinct
that they have been placed by some authorities in distinct genera or

The following letter refers to Mr. Huxley's lecture: "The Coming of Age
of the Origin of Species" (This same "Coming of Age" was the subject
of an address from the Council of the Otago Institute. It is given in
'Nature,' February 24, 1881.), given at the Royal Institution, April 9,
1880, published in 'Nature,' and in 'Science and Culture,' page 310:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Abinger Hall, Dorking, Sunday, April 11,

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 descen-theory, ever since that grand review in the "Times" and the
battle royal at Oxford up to the present day.

Ever my dear Huxley, Yours sincerely and gratefully, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--It was absurdly stupid in me, but I had read the announcement of
your Lecture, and thought that you meant the maturity of the subject,
until my wife one day remarked, "it is almost twenty-one years since
the 'Origin' appeared," and then for the first time the meaning of your
words flashed on me!

[In the above-mentioned lecture Mr. Huxley made a strong point of the
accumulation of palaeontological evidence which the years between 1859
and 1880 have given us in favour of Evolution. On this subject my father
wrote (August 31, 1880):]

My dear Professor Marsh,

I received some time ago your very kind note of July 28th, and yesterday
the magnificent volume. (Odontornithes. A Monograph on the extinct
Toothed Birds of North America. 1880. By O.C. Marsh.) I have looked with
renewed admiration at the plates, and will soon read the text. Your work
on these old birds, and on the many fossil animals of North America has
afforded the best support to the theory of Evolution, which has appeared
within the last twenty years. (Mr. Huxley has well pointed out ('Science
and Culture,' page 317) that: "In 1875, the discovery of the toothed
birds of the cretaceous formation in North America, by Prof. Marsh,
completed the series of transitional forms between birds and reptiles,
and removed Mr. Darwin's proposition that, 'many animal forms of life
have been utterly lost, through which the early progenitors of birds
were formerly connected with the early progenitors of the other
vertebrate classes,' from the region of hypothesis to that of
demonstrable fact.") The general appearance of the copy which you have
sent me is worthy of its contents, and I can say nothing stronger than

With cordial thanks, believe me, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[In November, 1880, he received an account of a flood in Brazil, from
which his friend Fritz Muller had barely escaped with his life. My
father immediately wrote to Hermann Muller anxiously enquiring whether
his brother had lost books, instruments, etc., by this accident, and
begging in that case "for the sake of science, so that science should
not suffer," to be allowed to help in making good the loss. Fortunately,
however, the injury to Fritz Muller's possessions was not so great as
was expected, and the incident remains only as a memento, which I trust
cannot be otherwise than pleasing to the survivor, of the friendship of
the two naturalists.

In 'Nature' (November 11, 1880) appeared a letter from my father,
which is, I believe, the only instance in which he wrote publicly with
anything like severity. The late Sir Wyville Thomson wrote, in the
Introduction to the 'Voyage of the "Challenger"': "The character of
the abyssal fauna refuses to give the least support to the theory which
refers the evolution of species to extreme variation guided only by
natural selection." My father, after characterising these remarks as
a "standard of criticism, not uncommonly reached by theologians
and metaphysicians," goes on to take exception to the term "extreme
variation," and challenges Sir Wyville to name any one who has "said
that the evolution of species depends only on natural selection." The
letter closes with an imaginary scene between Sir Wyville and a breeder,
in which Sir Wyville criticises artificial selection in a somewhat
similar manner. The breeder is silent, but on the departure of his
critic he is supposed to make use of "emphatic but irreverent language
about naturalists." The letter, as originally written, ended with a
quotation from Sedgwick on the invulnerability of those who write on
what they do not understand, but this was omitted on the advice of a
friend, and curiously enough a friend whose combativeness in the good
cause my father had occasionally curbed.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO G.J. ROMANES. Down, April 16, 1881.

My dear Romanes,

My MS. on 'Worms' has been sent to the printers, so I am going to amuse
myself by scribbling to you on a few points; but you must not waste your
time in answering at any length this scribble.

Firstly, your letter on intelligence was very useful to me and I tor
up and re-wrote what I sent to you. I have not attempted to define
intelligence; but have quoted your remarks on experience, and have shown
how far they apply to worms. It seems to me that they must be said
to work with some intelligence, anyhow they are not guided by a blind

Secondly, I was greatly interested by the abstract in 'Nature' of your
work on Echinoderms ("On the locomotor system of Echinoderms," by G.J.
Romanes and J. Cossar Ewart. 'Philosophical Transactions,' 1881,
page 829.), the complexity with simplicity, and with such curious
co-ordination of the nervous system is marvellous; and you showed me
before what splendid gymnastic feats they can perform.

Thirdly, Dr. Roux has sent me a book just published by him: 'Der Kampf
der Theile,' etc., 1881 (240 pages in length).

He is manifestly a well-read physiologist and pathologist, and from his
position a good anatomist. It is full of reasoning, and this in German
is very difficult to me, so that I have only skimmed through each
page; here and there reading with a little more care. As far as I can
imperfectly judge, it is the most important book on Evolution, which
has appeared for some time. I believe that G.H. Lewes hinted at the same
fundamental idea, viz. that there is a struggle going on within every
organism between the organic molecules, the cells and the organs.
I think that his basis is, that every cell which best performs its
function is, in consequence, at the same time best nourished and best
propagates its kind. The book does not touch on mental phenomena, but
there is much discussion on rudimentary or atrophied parts, to which
subject you formerly attended. Now if you would like to read this book,
I would sent it... If you read it, and are struck with it (but I may
be WHOLLY mistaken about its value), you would do a public service by
analysing and criticising it in 'Nature.'

Dr. Roux makes, I think, a gigantic oversight in never considering
plants; these would simplify the problem for him.

Fourthly, I do not know whether you will discuss in your book on the
mind of animals any of the more complex and wonderful instincts. It is
unsatisfactory work, as there can be no fossilised instincts, and the
sole guide is their state in other members of the same order, and mere

But if you do discuss any (and it will perhaps be expected of you), I
should think that you could not select a better case than that of the
sand wasps, which paralyse their prey, as formerly described by
Fabre, in his wonderful paper in the 'Annales des Sciences,' and since
amplified in his admirable 'Souvenirs.'

Whilst reading this latter book, I speculated a little on the subject.
Astonishing nonsense is often spoken of the sand wasp's knowledge of
anatomy. Now will any one say that the Gauchos on the plains of La Plata
have such knowledge, yet I have often seen them pith a struggling and
lassoed cow on the ground with unerring skill, which no mere anatomist
could imitate. The pointed knife was infallibly driven in between the
vertebrae by a single slight thrust. I presume that the art was first
discovered by chance, and that each young Gaucho sees exactly how the
others do it, and then with a very little practice learns the art. Now
I suppose that the sand wasps originally merely killed their prey by
stinging them in many places (see page 129 of Fabre's 'Souvenirs,' and
page 241) on the lower and softest side of the body--and that to sting
a certain segment was found by far the most successful method; and was
inherited like the tendency of a bulldog to pin the nose of a bull, or
of a ferret to bite the cerebellum. It would not be a very great step
in advance to prick the ganglion of its prey only slightly, and thus
to give its larvae fresh meat instead of old dried meat. Though Fabre
insists so strongly on the unvarying character of instinct, yet it is
shown that there is some variability, as at pages 176, 177.

I fear that I shall have utterly wearied you with my scribbling and bad

My dear Romanes, yours, very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


I read with much interest your address before the American Association.
However true your remarks on the genealogies of the several groups may
be, I hope and believe that you have over-estimated the difficulties to
be encountered in the future:--A few days after reading your address, I
interpreted to myself your remarks on one point (I hope in some degree
correctly) in the following fashion:--

Any character of an ancient, generalised, or intermediate form may, and
often does, re-appear in its descendants, after countless generations,
and this explains the extraordinarily complicated affinities of existing
groups. This idea seems to me to throw a flood of light on the lines,
sometimes used to represent affinities, which radiate in all directions,
often to very distant sub-groups,--a difficulty which has haunted me for
half a century. A strong case could be made out in favour of believing
in such reversion after immense intervals of time. I wish the idea had
been put into my head in old days, for I shall never again write on
difficult subjects, as I have seen too many cases of old men becoming
feeble in their minds, without being in the least conscious of it. If
I have interpreted your ideas at all correctly, I hope that you will
re-urge, on any fitting occasion, your view. I have mentioned it to a
few persons capable of judging, and it seemed quite new to them. I beg
you to forgive the proverbial garrulity of old age.


[The following letter refers to Sir J.D. Hooker's Geographical address
at the York Meeting (1881) of the British Association:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, August 6, 1881.

My dear Hooker,

For Heaven's sake never speak of boring me, as it would be the greatest
pleasure to aid you in the slightest degree and your letter has
interested me exceedingly. I will go through your points seriatim, but
I have never attended much to the history of any subject, and my memory
has become atrociously bad. It will therefore be a mere chance whether
any of my remarks are of any use.

Your idea, to show what travellers have done, seems to me a brilliant
and just one, especially considering your audience.

1. I know nothing about Tournefort's works.

2. I believe that you are fully right in calling Humboldt the greatest
scientific traveller who ever lived, I have lately read two or three
volumes again. His Geology is funny stuff; but that merely means that he
was not in advance of his age. I should say he was wonderful, more for
his near approach to omniscience than for originality. Whether or not
his position as a scientific man is as eminent as we think, you might
truly call him the parent of a grand progeny of scientific travellers,
who, taken together, have done much for science.

3. It seems to me quite just to give Lyell (and secondarily E. Forbes) a
very prominent place.

4. Dana was, I believe, the first man who maintained the permanence
of continents and the great oceans... When I read the 'Challenger's'
conclusion that sediment from the land is not deposited at greater
distances than 200 or 300 miles from the land, I was much strengthened
in my old belief. Wallace seems to me to have argued the case
excellently. Nevertheless, I would speak, if I were in your place,
rather cautiously; for T. Mellard Reade has argued lately with some
force against the view; but I cannot call to mind his arguments. If
forced to express a judgment, I should abide by the view of approximate
permanence since Cambrian days.

5. The extreme importance of the Arctic fossil-plants, is self-evident.
Take the opportunity of groaning over [our] ignorance of the Lignite
Plants of Kerguelen Land, or any Antarctic land. It might do good.

6. I cannot avoid feeling sceptical about the travelling of plants from
the North EXCEPT DURING THE TERTIARY PERIOD. It may of course have been
so and probably was so from one of the two poles at the earliest period,
during Pre-Cambrian ages; but such speculations seem to me hardly
scientific seeing how little we know of the old Floras.

I will now jot down without any order a few miscellaneous remarks.

I think you ought to allude to Alph. De Candolle's great book, for
though it (like almost everything else) is washed out of my mind, yet I
remember most distinctly thinking it a very valuable work. Anyhow, you
might allude to his excellent account of the history of all cultivated

How shall you manage to allude to your New Zealand and Tierra del Fuego
work? if you do not allude to them you will be scandalously unjust.

The many Angiosperm plants in the Cretacean beds of the United States
(and as far as I can judge the age of these beds has been fairly well
made out) seems to me a fact of very great importance, so is
their relation to the existing flora of the United States under an
Evolutionary point of view. Have not some Australian extinct forms been
lately found in Australia? or have I dreamed it?

Again, the recent discovery of plants rather low down in our Silurian
beds is very important.

Nothing is more extraordinary in the history of the Vegetable Kingdom,
as it seems to me, than the APPARENTLY very sudden or abrupt development
of the higher plants. I have sometimes speculated whether there did
not exist somewhere during long ages an extremely isolated continent,
perhaps near the South Pole.

Hence I was greatly interested by a view which Saporta propounded to me,
a few years ago, at great length in MS. and which I fancy he has
since published, as I urged him to do--viz., that as soon as
flower-frequenting insects were developed, during the latter part of the
secondary period, an enormous impulse was given to the development of
the higher plants by cross-fertilization being thus suddenly formed.

A few years ago I was much struck with Axel Blytt's Essay showing from
observation, on the peat beds in Scandinavia, that there had apparently
been long periods with more rain and other with less rain (perhaps
connected with Croll's recurrent astronomical periods), and that these
periods had largely determined the present distribution of the plants of
Norway and Sweden. This seemed to me, a very important essay.

I have just read over my remarks and I fear that they will not be of the
slightest use to you.

I cannot but think that you have got through the hardest, or at least
the most difficult, part of your work in having made so good and
striking a sketch of what you intend to say; but I can quite understand
how you must groan over the great necessary labour.

I most heartily sympathise with you on the successes of B. and R.:
as years advance what happens to oneself becomes of very little
consequence, in comparison with the careers of our children.

Keep your spirits up, for I am convinced that you will make an excellent

Ever yours, affectionately, CHARLES DARWIN.

[In September he wrote:--

"I have this minute finished reading your splendid but too short
address. I cannot doubt that it will have been fully appreciated by the
Geographers of York; if not, they are asses and fools."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO JOHN LUBBOCK. Sunday evening [1881].

My dear L.,

Your address (Presidential Address at the York meeting of the British
Association.) has made me think over what have been the great steps in
Geology during the last fifty years, and there can be no harm in telling
you my impression. But it is very odd that I cannot remember what you
have said on Geology. I suppose that the classification of the Silurian
and Cambrian formations must be considered the greatest or most
important step; for I well remember when all these older rocks were
called grau-wacke, and nobody dreamed of classing them; and now we have
three azoic formations pretty well made out beneath the Cambrian! But
the most striking step has been the discovery of the Glacial period: you
are too young to remember the prodigious effect this produced about the
year 1840 (?) on all our minds. Elie de Beaumont never believed in it to
the day of his death! the study of the glacial deposits led to the study
of the superficial drift, which was formerly NEVER STUDIED and called
Diluvium, as I well remember. The study under the microscope of
rock-sections is another not inconsiderable step. So again the making
out of cleavage and the foliation of the metamorphic rocks. But I will
not run on, having now eased my mind. Pray do not waste even one minute
in acknowledging my horrid scrawls.

Ever yours, CH. DARWIN.

[The following extracts referring to the late Francis Maitland Balfour
(Professor of Animal Morphology at Cambridge. He was born in 1851, and
was killed, with his guide, on the Aiguille Blanche, near Courmayeur,
in July, 1882.), show my father's estimate of his work and intellectual
qualities, but they give merely an indication of his strong appreciation
of Balfour's most lovable personal character:--

From a letter to Fritz Muller, January 5, 1882:--

"Your appreciation of Balfour's book ['Comparative Embryology'] has
pleased me excessively, for though I could not properly judge of it,
yet it seemed to me one of the most remarkable books which have been
published for some considerable time. He is quite a young man, and if he
keeps his health, will do splendid work... He has a fair fortune of
his own, so that he can give up his whole time to Biology. He is very
modest, and very pleasant, and often visits here and we like him very

From a letter to Dr. Dohrn, February 13, 1882:--

"I have got one very bad piece of news to tell you, that F. Balfour is
very ill at Cambridge with typhoid fever... I hope that he is not in a
very dangerous state; but the fever is severe. Good Heavens, what a loss
he would be to Science, and to his many loving friends!"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, January 12, 1882.

My dear Huxley,

Very many thanks for 'Science and Culture,' and I am sure that I shall
read most of the essays with much interest. With respect to Automatism
("On the hypothesis that animals are automata and its history," an
Address given at the Belfast meeting of the British Association, 1874,
and published in the 'Fortnightly Review,' 1874, and in 'Science and
Culture.'), I wish that you could review yourself in the old, and
of course forgotten, trenchant style, and then you would here answer
yourself with equal incisiveness; and thus, by Jove, you might go on ad
infinitum, to the joy and instruction of the world.

Ever yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The following letter refers to Dr. Ogle's translation of Aristotle, 'On
the Parts of Animals' (1882):]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE. Down, February 22, 1882.

My dear Dr. Ogle,

You must let me thank you for the pleasure which the introduction to
the Aristotle book has given me. I have rarely read anything which has
interested me more, though I have not read as yet more than a quarter of
the book proper.

From quotations which I had seen, I had a high notion of Aristotle's
merits, but I had not the most remote notion what a wonderful man he
was. Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different
ways, but they were mere schoolboys to old Aristotle. How very curious,
also, his ignorance on some points, as on muscles as the means of
movement. I am glad that you have explained in so probable a manner some
of the grossest mistakes attributed to him. I never realized, before
reading your book, to what an enormous summation of labour we owe even
our common knowledge. I wish old Aristotle could know what a grand
Defender of the Faith he had found in you. Believe me, my dear Dr. Ogle,

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[In February, he received a letter and a specimen from a Mr. W.D. Crick,
which illustrated a curious mode of dispersal of bivalve shells,
namely, by closure of their valves so as to hold on to the leg of a
water-beetle. This class of fact had a special charm for him, and he
wrote to 'Nature,' describing the case. ('Nature,' April 6, 1882.)

In April he received a letter from Dr. W. Van Dyck, Lecturer in Zoology
at the Protestant College of Beyrout. The letter showed that the street
dogs of Beyrout had been rapidly mongrelised by introduced European
dogs, and the facts have an interesting bearing on my father's theory of
Sexual Selection.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.T. VAN DYCK. Down, April 3, 1882.

Dear Sir,

After much deliberation, I have thought it best to send your very
interesting paper to the Zoological Society, in hopes that it will
be published in their Journal. This journal goes to every scientific
institution in the world, and the contents are abstracted in all
year-books on Zoology. Therefore I have preferred it to 'Nature,' though
the latter has a wider circulation, but is ephemeral.

I have prefaced your essay by a few general remarks, to which I hope
that you will not object.

Of course I do not know that the Zoological Society, which is much
addicted to mere systematic work, will publish your essay. If it does, I
will send you copies of your essay, but these will not be ready for some
months. If not published by the Zoological Society, I will endeavour
to get 'Nature' to publish it. I am very anxious that it should be
published and preserved.

Dear Sir, Yours faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The paper was read at a meeting of the Zoological Society on April
18th--the day before my father's death.

The preliminary remarks with which Dr. Van Dyck's paper is prefaced are
thus the latest of my father's writings.]

We must now return to an early period of his life, and give a connected
account of his botanical work, which has hitherto been omitted.


[In the letters already given we have had occasion to notice the general
bearing of a number of botanical problems on the wider question of
Evolution. The detailed work in botany which my father accomplished by
the guidance of the light cast on the study of natural history by his
own work on Evolution remains to be noticed. In a letter to Mr. Murray,
September 24th, 1861, speaking of his book on the '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
to his doctrines given 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, 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, etc., 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 fertilization by insects, and therefore
the results of natural selection--even the most trifling details of

One of the greatest services rendered by my father to the study of
Natural History is the revival of Teleology. The evolutionist studies
the purpose or meaning of organs with the zeal of the older Teleology,
but with far wider and more coherent purpose. He has the invigorating
knowledge that he is gaining not isolated conceptions of the economy
of the present, but a coherent view of both past and present. And even
where he fails to discover the use of any part, he may, by a knowledge
of its structure, unravel the history of the past vicissitudes in the
life of the species. In this way a vigour and unity is given to the
study of the forms of organised beings, which before it lacked.
This point has already been discussed in Mr. Huxley's chapter on the
'Reception of the "Origin of Species",' and need not be here considered.
It does, however, concern us to recognize that this "great service to
natural science," as Dr. Gray describes it, was effected almost as much
by his special botanical work as by the '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 especially his power of sympathising with the work
of others, combine to give this essay a permanent value. The following
passage (page 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 at all firmly established. Sachs, in his 'History of Botany'
(1875), has given some striking illustrations of the remarkable slowness
with which its acceptance gained ground. He remarks that when we
consider the experimental proofs given by Camerarius (1694), and by
Kolreuter (1761-66), it appears incredible that doubts should afterwards
have been raised as to the sexuality of plants. Yet he shows that such
doubts did actually repeatedly crop up. These adverse criticisms rested
for the most part on careless experiments, but in many cases on a priori
arguments. Even as late as 1820, a book of this kind, which would now
rank with circle squaring, or flat-earth philosophy, was seriously
noticed in a botanical journal.

A distinct conception of sex as applied to plants, had not long emerged
from the mists of profitless discussion and feeble experiment, at the
time when my father began botany by attending Henslow's lectures at

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 (Sachs,
'Geschichte,' page 419.) believed (naturally enough in his day) that
hermaphrodite flowers are necessarily self-fertilised. He had the wit to
be astonished at this, a degree of intelligence which, as Sachs points
out, the majority of his successors did not attain to.

The following extracts from a note-book show that this point occurred to
my father as early as 1837:--

"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 (Christian Conrad Sprengel, 1750-1816.), 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 Muller 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, his rich store of 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.' ('Das entdeckte Geheimniss der Natur im Baue und in der
Befruchtung der Blumen.' Berlin, 1793.) The book impressed him as being
"full of truth," although "with some little nonsense." It not only
encouraged him in kindred speculation, but guided him in his work,
for in 1844 he speaks of verifying Sprengel's observations. It may be
doubted whether Robert Brown ever planted a more beautiful seed than in
putting such a book into such hands.

A passage in the 'Autobiography' (volume i.) 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. As soon as the idea arose that the offspring
of cross-fertilisation is, in the struggle for life, likely to conquer
the seedlings of self-fertilised parentage, a far more vigorous belief
in the potency of natural selection in moulding the structure of flowers
is attained. A central idea is gained towards which experiment and
observation may be directed.

Dr. 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 Linnaeus, is ample title for one man's fame."

The flowers of the Papilionaceae attracted his attention early, and
were the subject of his first paper on fertilisation. ("Gardeners'
Chronicle", 1857, page 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.") The following extract from an undated letter to
Dr. Asa Gray seems to have been written before the publication of this
paper, probably in 1856 or 1857:--

"... What you say on Papilionaceous flowers is very true; and I have no
facts to show that varieties are crossed; but yet (and the same remark
is applicable in a beautiful way to Fumaria and Dielytra, as I noticed
many years ago), I must believe that the flowers are constructed partly
in direct relation to the visits of insects; and how insects can avoid
bringing pollen from other individuals I cannot understand. It is really
pretty to watch the action of a Humble-bee on the scarlet kidney bean,
and in this genus (and in Lathyrus grandiflorus) the honey is so placed
that the bee invariably alights on that ONE side of the flower towards
which the spiral pistil is protruded (bringing out with it pollen), and
by the depression of the wing-petal is forced against the bee's side all
dusted with pollen. (If you will look at a bed of scarlet kidney beans
you will find that the wing-petals on the LEFT side alone are all
scratched by the tarsi of the bees. [Note in the original letter by C.
Darwin.]) 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
Leguminosae, which will bring the case within OUR theory; though I have
failed to do so. Our theory will explain why in the vegetable and animal
kingdom the act of fertilisation even in hermaphrodites usually takes
place sub-jove, though thus exposed to GREAT injury from damp and rain.
In animals which cannot be [fertilised] by insects or wind, there is NO
CASE of LAND-animals being hermaphrodite without the concourse of two

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 re-observing 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. ("Gardeners' Chronicle",
1858, page 828. In 1861 another paper on Fertilisation appeared in the
"Gardeners' Chronicle", page 552, in which he explained the action of
insects on Vinca major. He was attracted to the periwinkle by the fact
that it is not visited by insects and never set seeds.) 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 Papilionaceae 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. (He was of course alive to variety in
the habits of insects. He published a short note in the "Entomologists
Weekly Intelligencer", 1860, asking whether the Tineina and other small
moths suck flowers.)

Besides observing the Leguminosae, he had already begun, as shown in
the foregoing extracts, to attend to the structure of other flowers in
relation to insects. At the beginning of 1860 he worked at Leschenaultia
(He published a short paper on the manner of fertilisation of this
flower, in the "Gardeners' Chronicle", 1871, page 1166.), 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 Dr. 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 "Athenaeum") world."

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. I shall never resist Linum next summer."

It was in the summer of 1860 that he made out one of the most striking
and familiar facts in the book, namely, the manner in which the pollen
masses in Orchis are adapted for removal by insects. He wrote to Sir
J.D. Hooker July 12:--

"I have been examining Orchis pyramidalis, and it almost equals, perhaps
even beats, your Listera case; the sticky glands are congenitally united
into a saddle-shaped organ, which has great power of movement, and
seizes hold of a bristle (or proboscis) in an admirable manner, and then
another movement takes place in the pollen masses, by which they
are beautifully adapted to leave pollen on the two LATERAL stigmatic
surfaces. I never saw anything so 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. I have written and
sent a notice for the "Gardeners' Chronicle" (June 9, 1860. This seems
to have attracted some attention, especially among entomologists, as it
was reprinted in the "Entomologists Weekly Intelligencer", 1860.), on a
curious difficulty in the Bee Orchis, and should much like to hear what
you think of the case. In this article I have incidentally touched on
adaptation to visits of insects; but the contrivance to keep the sticky
glands fresh and sticky beats almost everything in nature. I never
remember having seen it described, but it must have been, and, as I
ought not in my book to give the observation as my own, I should be very
glad to know where this beautiful contrivance is described."

He wrote also to Dr. Gray, June 8, 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". The Ophrys
apifera, offers, as you will see, a curious contradiction in structure."

Besides attending to the fertilisation of the flowers he was already, in
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 on the subject, just as at a game of chess."

This work was valuable from a systematic point of view. In 1880 he wrote
to Mr. Bentham:--

"It was very kind in you to write to me about the Orchideae, 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 extracts as the following from a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker (July
27, 1861):--

"You cannot conceive how the Orchids have delighted me. They came safe,
but box rather smashed; cylindrical old cocoa- or snuff-canister much
safer. I enclose postage. As an account of the movement, I shall allude
to what I 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
Epidendreae?! 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 Cruger'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 (It is a modification of the upper stigma.), 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" (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, September 24, 1861, he writes:--

"I have been acting, I fear that you will think, like a goose; and
perhaps in truth I have. When I finished a few days ago my Orchis
paper, which turns out 140 folio pages!! and thought of the expense of
woodcuts, I said to myself, I will offer the Linnean Society to withdraw
it, and publish it in a pamphlet. It then flashed on me that perhaps
Murray would publish it, so I gave him a cautious description, and
offered to share risks and profits. This morning he writes that he
will publish and take all risks, and share profits and pay for all
illustrations. It is a risk, and heaven knows whether it will not be a
dead failure, but I have not deceived Murray, and [have] told him that
it would interest those alone who cared much for natural history. I hope
I do not exaggerate the curiosity of the many special contrivances."

He wrote the two following letters to Mr. Murray about the publication
of the book:]

Down, September 21 [1861].

My dear Sir,

Will you have the kindness to give me your opinion, which I shall
implicitly follow. I have just finished a very long paper intended for
Linnean Society (the title is enclosed), and yesterday for the first
time it occurred to me that POSSIBLY it might be worth publishing
separately which would save me trouble and delay. The facts are new, and
have been collected during twenty years and strike me as curious. Like a
Bridgewater treatise, the chief object is to show the perfection of the
many contrivances in Orchids. The subject of propagation is interesting
to most people, and is treated in my paper so that any woman could read
it. Parts are dry and purely scientific; but I think my paper would
interest a good many of such persons who care for Natural History, but
no others.

... It would be a very little book, and I believe you think very little
books objectionable. I have myself GREAT doubts on the subject. I am
very apt to think that my geese are swans; but the subject seems to me
curious and interesting.

I beg you not to be guided in the least in order to oblige me, but as
far as you can judge, please give me your opinion. If I were to publish
separately, I would agree to any terms, such as half risk and half
profit, or what you liked; but I would not publish on my sole risk, for
to be frank, I have been told that no publisher whatever, under such
circumstances, cares for the success of a book.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. MURRAY. Down, September 24 [1861].

My dear Sir,

I am very much obliged for your note and very liberal offer. I have
had some qualms and fears. All that I can feel sure of is that the MS.
contains many new and curious facts, and I am sure the Essay would have
interested me, and will interest those who feel lively interest in the
wonders of nature; but how far the public will care for such minute
details, I cannot at all tell. It is a bold experiment; and at worst,
cannot entail much loss; as a certain amount of sale will, I think, be
pretty certain. A large sale is out of the question. As far as I can
judge, generally the points which interest me I find interest others;
but I make the experiment with fear and trembling,--not for my own sake,
but for yours...

[On September 28th he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"What a good soul you are not to sneer at me, but to pat me on the back.
I have the greatest doubt whether I am not going to do, in publishing
my paper, a most ridiculous thing. It would annoy me much, but only for
Murray's sake, if the publication were a dead failure."

There was still much work to be done, and in October he was still
receiving Orchids from Kew, and wrote to Hooker:--

"It is impossible to thank you enough. I was almost mad at the wealth of
Orchids." And again--

"Mr. Veitch most generously has sent me two splendid buds of Mormodes,
which will be capital for dissection, but I fear will never be
irritable; so for the sake of charity and love of heaven do, I beseech
you, observe what movement takes place in Cychnoches, and what part must
be touched. Mr. V. has also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum,
the most wonderful Orchid I have seen."

On October 13th he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker:--

"It seems that I cannot exhaust your good nature. I have had the hardest
day's work at Catasetum and buds of Mormodes, and believe I understand
at last the mechanism of movements and the functions. Catasetum is
a beautiful case of slight modification of structure leading to new
functions. I never was more interested in any subject in my life than in
this of Orchids. I owe very much to you."

Again to the same friend, 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 antennae for more than one inch
INSTANTANEOUSLY... A cursed insect or something let my last flower off
last night."

Professor de Candolle has remarked ('Darwin considere, etc.,' 'Archives
des Sciences Physiques et Naturelles,' 3eme periode. Tome vii. 481, 1882
(May).) of my father, "Ce n'est pas lui qui aurait demande de construire
des palais pour y loger des laboratoires." This was singularly true of
his orchid work, or rather it would be nearer the truth to say that
he had no laboratory, for it was only after the publication of the
'Fertilisation of Orchids,' that he built himself a greenhouse. He wrote
to Sir J.D. Hooker (December 24th, 1862):--

"And now I am going to tell you a MOST important piece of news!! I
have almost resolved to build a small hot-house; my neighbour's really
firs-rate gardener has suggested it, and offered to make me plans, and
see that it is well done, and he is really a clever fellow, who wins
lots of prizes, and is very observant. He believes that we should
succeed with a little patience; it will be a grand amusement for me to
experiment with plants."

Again he wrote (February 15th, 1863):--

"I write now because the new hot-house is ready, and I long to stock it,
just like a schoolboy. Could you tell me pretty soon what plants you can
give me; and 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
stov-plants; they would be about five hours (with bait) on the journey

A week later he wrote:--

"you cannot imagine what pleasure your plants give me (far more than
your dead Wedgwood ware can give you); and I go and gloat over them,
but we privately confessed to each other, that if they were not our own,
perhaps we should not see such transcendent beauty in each leaf."

And in March, when he was extremely unwell he wrote:--

"A few words about the Stove-plants; they do so amuse me. I have crawled
to see them two or three times. Will you correct and answer, and return
enclosed. I have hunted in all my books and cannot find these names
(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.'"), and I like much to know the family."

The book was published May 15th, 1862. Of its reception he writes to
Murray, June 13th and 18th:--

"The Botanists praise my Orchid-book to the skies. Some one sent me
(perhaps you) the 'Parthenon,' with a good review. The "Athenaeum" (May
24, 1862.) 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,' (June 14, 1862.) But I have not been a fool, as I thought I
was, to publish (Doubts on this point still, however, occurred to him
about this time. He wrote to Prof. Oliver (June 8): "I am glad that
you have read my Orchis-book and seem to approve of it; for I never
published anything which I so much doubted whether it was worth
publishing, and indeed I still doubt. The subject interested me beyond
what, I suppose, it is worth."); for Asa Gray, about the most competent
judge in the world, thinks almost as highly of the book as does the
'London Review.' The "Athenaeum" 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 Orchis-book is a success (but I do
not know whether it sells.)"

In another letter to the same friend, he wrote:--

"You have pleased me much by what you say in regard to Bentham and
Oliver approving of my book; for I had got a sort of nervousness,
and doubted whether I had not made an egregious fool of myself, and
concocted pleasant little stinging remarks for reviews, such as 'Mr.
Darwin's head seems to have been turned by a certain degree of
success, and he thinks that the most trifling observations are worth

Mr. Bentham's approval was given in his Presidential Address to the
Linnean Society, May 24, 1862, and was all the more valuable because
it came from one who was by no means supposed to be favourable to
evolutionary doctrines.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, June 10 [1862].

My dear Gray,

Your generous sympathy makes you overestimate what you have read of my
Orchid-book. But your letter of May 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. I have heard that Bentham and Oliver approve
of it; but I have heard the opinion of no one else whose opinion is
worth a farthing... No doubt my volume contains much error: how curiously
difficult it is to be accurate, though I try my utmost. Your notes have
interested me beyond measure. I can now afford to d-- my critics with
ineffable complacency of mind. Cordial thanks for this benefit. It
is surprising to me that you should have strength of mind to care for
science, amidst the awful events daily occurring in your country. I
daily look at the "Times" with almost as much interest as an American
could do. When will peace come? it is dreadful to think of the
desolation of large parts of your magnificent country; and all the
speechless misery suffered by many. I hope and think it not unlikely
that we English are wrong in concluding that it will take a long time
for prosperity to return to you. It is an awful subject to reflect on...

[Dr. Asa Gray reviewed the book in 'Silliman's Journal' ('Silliman's
Journal,' volume xxiv. page 138. Here is given an account of the
fertilisation of Platanthera Hookeri. P. hyperborea is discussed in
Dr. Gray's 'Enumeration' in the same volume, page 259; also, with other
species, in a second notice of the Orchid-book at page 420.), where he
speaks, in strong terms, of the fascination which it must have for even
slightly instructed readers. He made, too, some original observations on
an American orchid, and these first-fruits of the subject, sent in MS.
or proof sheet to my father, were welcomed by him in a letter (July

"Last night, after writing the above, I read the great bundle of notes.
Little did I think what I had to read. What admirable observations! You
have distanced me on my own hobby-horse! I have not had for weeks such a
glow of pleasure as your observations gave me."

The next letter refers to the publication of the review:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, July 28 [1862].

My dear Gray,

I hardly know what to thank for first. Your stamps gave infinite
satisfaction. I took him (One of his boys who was ill.) first one lot,
and then an hour afterwards another lot. He actually raised himself on
one elbow to look at them. It was the first animation he showed. He said
only: "You must thank Professor Gray awfully." In the evening after
a long silence, there came out the oracular sentence: "He is awfully
kind." And indeed you are, overworked as you are, to take so much
trouble for our poor dear little man.--And now I must begin the
"awfullys" on my own account: what a capital notice you have published
on the orchids! It could not have been better; but I fear that you
overrate it. I am very sure that I had not the least idea that you or
any one would approve of it so much. I return your last note for the
chance of your publishing any notice on the subject; but after all
perhaps you may not think it worth while; yet in my judgment SEVERAL of
your facts, especially Platanthera hyperborea, are MUCH too good to be
merged in a review. But I have always noticed that you are prodigal in
originality in your reviews...

[Sir Joseph Hooker reviewed the book in the "Gardeners' Chronicle",
writing in a successful imitation of the style of Lindley, the Editor.
My father wrote to Sir Joseph (November 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."

A favourable notice appeared in the "Saturday Review", October 18th,
1862; the reviewer points out that the book would escape the angry
polemics aroused by the 'Origin.' (Dr. Gray pointed out that if the
Orchid-book (with a few trifling omissions) had appeared before the
'Origin,' the author would have been canonised rather than anathematised
by the natural theologians.) This is illustrated by a review in the
"Literary Churchman", in which only one fault found, namely, that Mr.
Darwin's expression of admiration at the contrivances in orchids is too
indirect a way of saying, "O Lord, how manifold are Thy works!"

A somewhat similar criticism occurs in the 'Edinburgh Review' (October
1862). The writer points out that Mr. Darwin constantly uses phrases,
such as "beautiful contrivance," "the labellum is... IN ORDER TO
attract," "the nectar is PURPOSELY lodged." The Reviewer concludes his
discussion thus: "We know, too that these purposes and ideas are not our
own, but the ideas and purposes of Another."

The 'Edinburgh' reviewer's treatment of this subject was criticised
in the "Saturday Review", November 15th, 1862: With reference to this
article my father wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker (December 29th, 1862):--

"Here is an odd chance; my nephew Henry Parker, an Oxford Classic, and
Fellow of Oriel, came here this evening; and I asked him whether he
knew who had written the little article in the "Saturday", smashing the
[Edinburgh reviewer], which we liked; and after a little hesitation he
owned he had. I never knew that he wrote in the "Saturday"; and was it
not an odd chance?"

The 'Edinburgh' article was written by the Duke of Argyll, and has
since been made use of in his 'Reign of Law,' 1867. Mr. Wallace replied
('Quarterly Journal of Science,' October 1867. Republished in 'Natural
Selection,' 1871.) to the Duke's criticisms, making some specially good
remarks on those which refer to orchids. He shows how, by a "beautiful
self-acting adjustment," the nectary of the orchid Angraecum (from 10 to
14 inches in length), and the proboscis of a moth sufficiently long to
reach the nectar, might be developed by natural selection. He goes on to
point out that on any other theory we must suppose that the flower was
created with an enormously long nectary, and that then by a special act,
an insect was created fitted to visit the flower, which would otherwise
remain sterile. With regard to this point my father wrote (October 12 or
13, 1867):--

"I forgot to remark how capitally you turn the tables on the Duke, when
you make him create the Angraecum and Moth by special creation."

If we examine the literature relating to the fertilisation of flowers,
we do not find that this new branch of study showed any great activity
immediately after the publication of the Orchid-book. There are a few
papers by Asa Gray, in 1862 and 1863, by Hildebrand in 1864, and
by Moggridge in 1865, but the great mass of work by Axell, Delpino,
Hildebrand, and the Mullers, 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 Prof. D'Arcy Thompson in his
translation of Muller's 'Befruchtung' (1883), contains references to 814

Besides the book on Orchids, my father wrote two or three papers on the
subject, which will be found mentioned in the Appendix. The earliest of
these, on the three sexual forms of Catasetum, was published in 1862; it
is an anticipation of part of the Orchid-book, and was merely published
in the Linnean Society's Journal, in acknowledgment of the use made of
a specimen in the Society's possession. The possibility of apparently
distinct species being merely sexual forms of a single species,
suggested a characteristic experiment, which is alluded to in the
following letter to one of his earliest disciples in the study of the
fertilisation of flowers:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. TRAHERNE MOGGRIDGE. (The late Mr. Moggridge, author
of 'Harvesting Ants and Trap-door Spiders,' 'Flora of Mentone,' etc.)
Down, October 13 [1865].

My dear Sir,

I am especially obliged to you for your beautiful plates and
letter-press; for no single point in natural history interests and
perplexes me so much as the self-fertilisation (He once remarked to Dr.
Norman Moore that one of the things that made him wish to live a
few thousand years, was his desire to see the extinction of the
Bee-orchis,--an end to which he believed its self-fertilising habit was
leading.) of the Bee-orchis. You have already thrown some light on the
subject, and your present observations promise to throw more.

I formed two conjectures: first, that some insect during certain seasons
might cross the plants, but I have almost given up this; nevertheless,
pray have a look at the flowers next season. Secondly, I conjectured
that the Spider and Bee-orchis might be a crossing and self-fertile
form of the same species. Accordingly I wrote some years ago to an
acquaintance, asking him to mark some Spider-orchids, and observe
whether they retained the same character; but he evidently thought the
request as foolish as if I had asked him to mark one of his cows with a
ribbon, to see if it would turn next spring into a horse. Now will
you be so kind as to tie a string round the stem of a half-a-dozen
Spider-orchids, and when you leave Mentone dig them up, and I would try
and cultivate them and see if they kept constant; but I should require
to know in what sort of soil and situations they grow. It would be
indispensable to mark the plant so that there could be no mistake about
the individual. It is also just possible that the same plant would throw
up, at different seasons different flower-scapes, and the marked plants
would serve as evidence.

With many thanks, my dear sir, Yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--I send by this post my paper on climbing plants, parts of which
you might like to read.

[Sir Thomas Farrer and Dr. W. Ogle were also guided and encouraged by
my father in their observations. The following refers to a paper by Sir
Thomas Farrer, in the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural History,' 1868, on
the fertilisation of the Scarlet Runner:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. FARRER. Down, September 15, 1868.

My dear Mr. Farrer,

I grieve to say that the MAIN features of your case are known. I am
the sinner and described them some ten years ago. But I overlooked
many details, as the appendage to the single stamen, and several other
points. I send my notes, but I must beg for their return, as I have NO
OTHER COPY. I quite agree, the facts are most striking, especially
as you put them. Are you sure that the Hive-bee is the cutter? it is
against my experience. If sure, make the point more prominent, or if not
sure, erase it. I do not think the subject is quite new enough for the
Linnean Society; but I dare say the 'Annals and Magazine of Natural
History,' or "Gardeners' Chronicle" would gladly publish your
observations, and it is a great pity they should be lost. If you like
I would send your paper to either quarter with a note. In this case
you must give a title, and your name, and perhaps it would be well to
premise your remarks with a line of reference to my paper stating that
you had observed independently and more fully.

I have read my own paper over after an interval of several years, and am
amused at the caution with which I put the case that the final end
was for crossing distinct individuals, of which I was then as fully
convinced as now, but I knew that the doctrine would shock all
botanists. Now the opinion is becoming familiar.

To see penetration of pollen-tubes is not difficult, but in most cases
requires some practice with dissecting under a one-tenth of an inch
focal distance single lens; and just at first this will seem to you
extremely difficult.

What a capital observer you are--a first-rate Naturalist has been
sacrificed, or partly sacrificed to Public life.

Believe me, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--If you come across any large Salvia, look at it--the contrivance
is admirable. It went to my heart to tell a man who came here a few
weeks ago with splendid drawings and MS. on Salvia, that the work
had been all done in Germany. (Dr. W. Ogle, the observer of the
fertilisation of Salvia here alluded to, published his results in the
'Pop. Science Review,' 1869. He refers both gracefully and gratefully to
his relationship with my father in the introduction to his translation
of Kerner's 'Flowers and their Unbidden Guests.')

[The following extract is from a letter, November 26th, 1868, to Sir
Thomas Farrer, written as I learn from him, "in answer to a request for
some advice as to the best modes of observation."

"In my opinion the best plan is to go on working and making copious
notes, without much thought of publication, and then if the results turn
out striking publish them. It is my impression, but I do not feel sure
that I am right, that the best and most novel plan would be, instead
of describing the means of fertilisation in particular plants, to
investigate the part which certain structures play with all plants
or throughout certain orders; for instance, the brush of hairs on the
style, or the diadelphous condition of the stamens, in the Leguminosae,
or the hairs within the corolla, etc. etc. Looking to your note, I think
that this is perhaps the plan which you suggest.

"It is well to remember that Naturalists value observations far more
than reasoning; therefore your conclusions should be as often as
possible fortified by noticing how insects actually do the work."

In 1869, Sir Thomas Farrer corresponded with my father on the
fertilisation of Passiflora and of Tacsonia. He has given me his
impressions of the correspondence:--

"I had suggested that the elaborate series of chevaux-de-frise, by
which the nectary of the common Passiflora is guarded, were specially
calculated to protect the flower from the stiff-beaked humming birds
which would not fertilise it, and to facilitate the access of the little
proboscis of the humble bee, which would do so; whilst, on the other
hand, the long pendent tube and flexible valve-like corona which retains
the nectar of Tacsonia would shut out the bee, which would not,
and admit the humming bird which would, fertilise that flower. The
suggestion is very possibly worthless, and could only be verified or
refuted by examination of flowers in the countries where they grow
naturally... What interested me was to see that on this as on almost any
other point of detailed observation, Mr. Darwin could always say, 'Yes;
but at one time I made some observations myself on this particular
point; and I think you will find, etc. etc.' That he should after years
of interval remember that he had noticed the peculiar structure to which
I was referring in the Passiflora princeps struck me at the time as very

With regard to the spread of a belief in the adaptation of flowers for
cross-fertilisation, my father wrote to Mr. Bentham April 22, 1868:

"Most of the criticisms which I sometimes meet with in French works
against the frequency of crossing, I am certain are the result of mere
ignorance. I have never hitherto found the rule to fail that when an
author describes the structure of a flower as specially adapted for
self-fertilisation, it is really adapted for crossing. The Fumariaceae
offer a good instance of this, and Treviranus threw this order in my
teeth; but in Corydalis, Hildebrand shows how utterly false the idea
of self-fertilisation is. This author's paper on Salvia is really
worth reading, and I have observed some species, and know that he is

The next letter refers to Professor Hildebrand's paper on Corydalis,
published in the 'Proc. Internat. Hort. Congress,' London, 1866, and in
Pringsheim's 'Jahrbucher,' volume v. The memoir on Salvia alluded to is
contained in the previous volume of the same Journal:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. HILDEBRAND. (Professor of Botany at Freiburg.)
Down, May 16 [1866].

My dear Sir,

The state of my health prevents my attending the Hort. Congress; but
I forwarded yesterday your paper to the secretary, and if they are not
overwhelmed with papers, yours will be gladly received. I have made many
observations on the Fumariaceae, and convinced myself that they were
adapted for insect agency; but I never observed anything nearly so
curious as your most interesting facts. I hope you will repeat your
experiments on the Corydalis on a larger scale, and especially on
several distinct plants; for your plant might have been individually
peculiar, like certain individual plants of Lobelia, etc., described by
Gartner, and of Passiflora and Orchids described by Mr. Scott...

Since writing to you before, I have read your admirable memoir on
Salvia, and it has interested me almost as much as when I first
investigated the structure of Orchids. Your paper illustrates several
points in my 'Origin of Species,' especially the transition of organs.
Knowing only two or three species in the genus, I had often marvelled
how one cell of the anther could have been transformed into the movable
plate or spoon; and how well you show the gradations; but I am surprised
that you did not more strongly insist on this point.

I shall be still more surprised if you do not ultimately come to the
same belief with me, as shown by so many beautiful contrivances,
that all plants require, from some unknown cause, to be occasionally
fertilized by pollen from a distinct individual. With sincere respect,
believe me, my dear Sir,

Yours very faithfully, CH. DARWIN.

[The following letter refers to the late Hermann Muller's 'Befruchtung
der Blumen,' by far the most valuable of the mass of literature
originating in the 'Fertilisation of Orchids.' An English translation,
by Prof. D'Arcy Thompson was published in 1883. My father's "Prefatory
Notice" to this work is dated February 6, 1882, and is therefore almost
the last of his writings:]


My dear Sir,

Owing to all sorts of interruptions and to my reading German so slowly,
I have read only to page 88 of your book; but I must have the pleasure
of telling you how very valuable a work it appears to me. Independently
of the many original observations, which of course form the most
important part, the work will be of the highest use as a means of
reference to all that has been done on the subject. I am fairly
astonished at the number of species of insects, the visits of which to
different flowers you have recorded. You must have worked in the most
indefatigable manner. About half a year ago the editor of 'Nature'
suggested that it would be a grand undertaking if a number of
naturalists were to do what you have already done on so large a scale
with respect to the visits of insects. I have been particularly glad
to read your historical sketch, for I had never before seen all the
references put together. I have sometimes feared that I was in
error when I said that C.K. Sprengel did not fully perceive that
cross-fertilisation was the final end of the structure of flowers;
but now this fear is relieved, and it is a great satisfaction to me to
believe that I have aided in making his excellent book more generally
known. Nothing has surprised me more than to see in your historical
sketch how much I myself have done on the subject, as it never before
occurred to me to think of all my papers as a whole. But I do not doubt
that your generous appreciation of the labours of others has led you to
over-estimate what I have done. With very sincere thanks and respect,
believe me,

Yours faithfully, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--I have mentioned your book to almost every one who, as far as I
know, cares for the subject in England; and I have ordered a copy to be
send to our Royal Society.

[The next letter, to Dr. Behrens, refers to the same subject as the

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. BEHRENS. Down, August 29 [1878].

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for having sent me your 'Geschichte der
Bestaubungs-Theorie' (Progr. der K. Gewerbschule zu Elberfeld, 1877,
1878.), and which has interested me much. It has put some things in a
new light, and has told me other things which I did not know. I heartily
agree with you in your high appreciation of poor old C. Sprengel's work;
and one regrets bitterly that he did not live to see his labours thus
valued. It rejoices me also to notice how highly you appreciate H.
Muller, who has always seemed to me an admirable observer and reasoner.
I am at present endeavouring to persuade an English publisher to bring
out a translation of his 'Befruchtung.'

Lastly, permit me to thank you for your very generous remarks on
my works. By placing what I have been able to do on this subject in
systematic order, you have made me think more highly of my own work than
I ever did before! Nevertheless, I fear that you have done me more than

I remain, dear Sir, yours faithfully and obliged, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The letter which follows was called forth by Dr. Gray's article in
'Nature,' to which reference has already been made, and which appeared
June 4, 1874:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, June 3 [1874].

My dear Gray,

I was rejoiced to see your hand-writing again in your note of the 4th,
of which more anon. I was astonished to see announced about a week ago
that you were going to write in 'Nature' an article on me, and this
morning I received an advance copy. It is the grandest thing ever
written about me, especially as coming from a man like yourself. It
has deeply pleased me, particularly some of your side remarks. It is a
wonderful thing to me to live to see my name coupled in any fashion with
that of Robert Brown. But you are a bold man, for I am sure that you
will be sneered at by not a few botanists. I have never been so honoured
before, and I hope it will do me good and make me try to be as careful
as possible; and good heavens, how difficult accuracy is! I feel a very
proud man, but I hope this won't last...

[Fritz Muller has observed that the flowers of Hedychium are so arranged
that the pollen is removed by the wings of hovering butterflies. My
father's prediction of this observation is given in the following

CHARLES DARWIN TO H. MULLER. Down, August 7, 1876.

... I was much interested by your brother's article on Hedychium; about
two years ago I was so convinced that the flowers were fertilized by the
tips of the wings of large moths, that I wrote to India to ask a man to
observe the flowers and catch the moths at work, and he sent me 20 to 30
Sphin-moths, but so badly packed that they all arrived in fragments; and
I could make out nothing...

Yours sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[The following extract from a letter (February 25, 1864), to Dr. Gray
refers to another prediction fulfilled:--

"I have of course seen no one, and except good dear Hooker, I hear from
no one. He, like a good and true friend, though so overworked, often
writes to me.

"I have had one letter which has interested me greatly, with a paper,
which will appear in the Linnean Journal, by Dr. Cruger of Trinidad,
which shows that I am all right about Catasetum, even to the spot where
the pollinia adhere to the bees, which visit the flower, as I said, to
gnaw the labellum. Cruger's account of Coryanthes and the use of the
bucket-like labellum full of water beats everything: I SUSPECT that the
bees being well wetted flattens their hairs, and allows the viscid disc
to adhere."]


My dear Sir,

I thank you sincerely for your long and most interesting letter, which I
should have answered sooner had it not been delayed in London. I had not
heard before that I was to be proposed as a Corresponding Member of the
Institute. Living so retired a life as I do, such honours affect me very
little, and I can say with entire truth that your kind expression of
sympathy has given and will give me much more pleasure than the election
itself, should I be elected.

Your idea that dicotyledonous plants were not developed in force until
sucking insects had been evolved seems to me a splendid one. I am
surprised that the idea never occurred to me, but this is always
the case when one first hears a new and simple explanation of some
mysterious phenomenon... I formerly showed that we might fairly assume
that the beauty of flowers, their sweet odour and copious nectar, may be
attributed to the existence of flower-haunting insects, but your idea,
which I hope you will publish, goes much further and is much more
important. With respect to the great development of mammifers in the
later Geological periods following from the development of dicotyledons,
I think it ought to be proved that such animals as deer, cows, horses,
etc. could not flourish if fed exclusively on the gramineae and other
anemophilous monocotyledons; and I do not suppose that any evidence on
this head exists.

Your suggestion of studying the manner of fertilisation of the surviving
members of the most ancient forms of the dicotyledons is a very good
one, and I hope that you will keep it in mind yourself, for I have
turned my attention to other subjects. Delpino I think says that
Magnolia is fertilised by insects which gnaw the petals, and I should
not be surprised if the same fact holds good with Nymphaea. Whenever I
have looked at the flowers of these latter plants I have felt inclined
to admit the view that petals are modified stamens, and not modified
leaves; though Poinsettia seems to show that true leaves might be
converted into coloured petals. I grieve to say that I have never
been properly grounded in Botany and have studied only special
points--therefore I cannot pretend to express any opinion on your
remarks on the origin of the flowers of the Coniferae, Gnetaceae, etc.;
but I have been delighted with what you say on the conversion of a
monoecious species into a hermaphrodite one by the condensations of the
verticils on a branch bearing female flowers near the summit, and male
flowers below.

I expect Hooker to come here before long, and I will then show him your
drawing, and if he makes any important remarks I will communicate
with you. He is very busy at present in clearing off arrears after his
American Expedition, so that I do not like to trouble him, even with the
briefest note. I am at present working with my son at some Physiological
subjects, and we are arriving at very curious results, but they are not
as yet sufficiently certain to be worth communicating to you...

[In 1877 a second edition of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' was
published, the first edition having been for some time out of print. The
new edition was remodelled and almost re-written, and a large amount
of new matter added, much of which the author owed to his friend Fritz

With regard to this edition he wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book. After much doubt I
have resolved to act in this way with all my books for the future; that
is to correct them once and never touch them again, so as to use the
small quantity of work left in me for new matter."

He may have felt a diminution of his powers of reviewing large bodies of
facts, such as would be needed in the preparation of new editions, but
his powers of observation were certainly not diminished. He wrote to Mr.
Dyer on July 14, 1878:]

My dear Dyer,

Thalia dealbata was sent me from Kew: it has flowered and after looking
casually at the flowers, they have driven me almost mad, and I have
worked at them for a week: it is as grand a case as that of Catasetum.

Pistil vigorously motile (so that whole flower shakes when pistil
suddenly coils up); when excited by a touch the two filaments [are]
produced laterally and transversely across the flower (just over the
nectar) from one of the petals or modified stamens. It is splendid to
watch the phenomenon under a weak power when a bristle is inserted into
a YOUNG flower which no insect has visited. As far as I know Stylidium
is the sole case of sensitive pistil and here it is the pistil +
stamens. In Thalia (Hildebrand has described an explosive arrangement
in some of the Maranteae--the tribe to which Thalia belongs.)
cross-fertilisation is ensured by the wonderful movement, if bees visit
several flowers.

I have now relieved my mind and will tell the purport of this note--viz.
if any other species of Thalia besides T. dealbata should flower with
you, for the love of heaven and all the saints, send me a few in TIN BOX

Your insane friend, CH. DARWIN.

[In 1878 Dr. Ogle's translation of Kerner's interesting book, 'Flowers
and their Unbidden Guests,' was published. My father, who felt much
interest in the translation (as appears in the following letter),
contributed some prefatory words of approval:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. OGLE. Down, December 16 [1878].

... I have now read Kerner's book, which is better even than I
anticipated. The translation seems to me as clear as daylight, and
written in forcible and good familiar English. I am rather afraid that
it is too good for the English public, which seems to like very washy
food, unless it be administered by some one whose name is well-known,
and then I suspect a good deal of the unintelligible is very pleasing
to them. I hope to heaven that I may be wrong. Anyhow, you and Mrs.
Ogle have done a right good service for Botanical Science. Yours very


P.S.--You have done me much honour in your prefatory remarks.

[One of the latest references to his Orchid-work occurs in a letter to
Mr. Bentham, February 16, 1880. It shows the amount of pleasure which
this subject gave to my father, and (what is characteristic of him)
that his reminiscence of the work was one of delight in the observations
which preceded its publication. Not to the applause which followed it:--

"They are wonderful creatures, these Orchids, and I sometimes think
with a glow of pleasure, when I remember making out some little point in
their method of fertilisation."]




[This book, as pointed out in the 'Autobiography,' is a complement to
the 'Fertilisation of Orchids,' because it shows how important are
the results of cross-fertilisation which are ensured by the mechanisms
described in that book.

By proving that the offspring of cross-fertilisation are more
vigorous than the offspring of self-fertilisation, he showed that one
circumstance which influences the fate of young plants in the
struggle for life is the degree to which their parents are fitted for
cross-fertilisation. He thus convinced himself that the intensity of the
struggle (which he had elsewhere shown to exist among young plants) is
a measure of the strength of a selective agency perpetually sifting
out every modification in the structure of flowers which can effect its
capabilities for cros-fertilisation.

The book is also valuable in another respect, because it throws light on
the difficult problems of the origin of sexuality. The increased vigour
resulting from cross-fertilisation is allied in the closest manner to
the advantage gained by change of conditions. So strongly is this the
case, that in some instances cross-fertilisation gives no advantage to
the offspring, unless the parents have lived under slightly different
conditions. So that the really important thing is not that two
individuals of different BLOOD shall unite, but two individuals which
have been subjected to different conditions. We are thus led to believe
that sexuality is a means for infusing vigour into the offspring by the
coalescence of differentiated elements, an advantage which could not
follow if reproductions were entirely asexual.

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. These 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 following letters give some account of the
work in question.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. September 10, [1866?].

... I have just begun a large course of experiments on the germination
of the seed, and on the growth of the young plants when raised from a
pistil fertilised by pollen from the same flower, and from pollen from
a distinct plant of the same, or of some other variety. I have not
made sufficient experiments to judge certainly, but in some cases the
difference in the growth of the young plants is highly remarkable. I
have taken every kind of precaution in getting seed from the same
plant, in germinating the seed on my own chimney-piece, in planting the
seedlings in the same flower-pot, and under this similar treatment I
have seen the young seedlings from the crossed seed exactly twice as
tall as the seedlings from the sel-fertilised seed; both seeds having
germinated on the same day. If I can establish this fact (but perhaps it
will all go to the dogs), in some fifty cases, with plants of different
orders, I think it will be very important, for then we shall positively
know why the structure of every flower permits, or favours, or
necessitates an occasional cross with a distinct individual. But all
this is rather cooking my hare before I have caught it. But somehow it
is a great pleasure to me to tell you what I am about. Believe me, my
dear Gray,

Ever yours most truly, and with cordial thanks, CH. DARWIN.


... I am experimenting on a very large scale on the difference in power
of growth between plants raised from self-fertilised and crossed seeds;
and it is no exaggeration to say that the difference in growth and
vigour is sometimes truly wonderful. Lyell, Huxley and Hooker have seen
some of my plants, and been astonished; and I should much like to show
them to you. I always supposed until lately that no evil effects would
be visible until after several generations of self-fertilisation; but
now I see that one generation sometimes suffices; and the existence of
dimorphic plants and all the wonderful contrivances of orchids are quite
intelligible to me.

With cordial thanks for your letter, which has pleased me greatly,

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[An extract from a letter to Dr. Gray (March 11, 1873) mentions the
progress of the work:--

"I worked last summer hard at Drosera, but could not finish till I
got fresh plants, and consequently took up the effects of crossing and
sel-fertilising plants, and am got so interested that Drosera must go to
the dogs till I finish with this, and get it published; but then I will
resume my beloved Drosera, and I heartily apologise for having sent the
precious little things even for a moment to the dogs."

The following letters give the author's impression of his own book.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J. MURRAY. Down, September 16, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I have just received proofs in sheet of five sheets, so you will have
to decide soon how many copies will have to be struck off. I do not know
what to advise. The greater part of the book is extremely dry, and the
whole on a special subject. Nevertheless, I am convinced that the book
is of value, and I am convinced that for MANY years copies will be
occasionally sold. Judging from the sale of my former books, and from
supposing that some persons will purchase it to complete the set of
my works, I would suggest 1500. But you must be guided by your larger
experience. I will only repeat that I am convinced the book is of some
permanent value...

CHARLES DARWIN TO VICTOR CARUS. Down, September 27, 1876.

My dear Sir,

I sent by this morning's post the four first perfect sheets of my new
book, the title of which you will see on the first page, and which will
be published early in November.

I am sorry to say that it is only shorter by a few pages than my
'Insectivorous Plants.' The whole is now in type, though I have
corrected finally only half the volume. You will, therefore, rapidly
receive the remainder. The book is very dull. Chapters II. to VI.,
inclusive, are simply a record of experiments. Nevertheless, I believe
(though a man can never judge his own books) that the book is valuable.
You will have to decide whether it is worth translating. I hope so. It
has cost me very great labour, and the results seem to me remarkable and
well established.

If you translate it, you could easily get aid for Chapters II. to VI.,
as there is here endless, but I have thought necessary repetition. I
shall be anxious to hear what you decide...

I most sincerely hope that your health has been fairly good this summer.

My dear Sir, yours very truly, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, October 28, 1876.

My dear Gray,

I send by this post all the clean sheets as yet printed, and I hope to
send the remainder within a fortnight. Please observe that the first six
chapters are not readable, and the six last very dull. Still I believe
that the results are valuable. If you review the book, I shall be very
curious to see what you think of it, for I care more for your judgment
than for that of almost any one else. I know also that you will speak
the truth, whether you approve or disapprove. Very few will take the
trouble to read the book, and I do not expect you to read the whole, but
I hope you will read the latter chapters.

... I am so sick of correcting the press and licking my horrid bad style
into intelligible English.

[The 'Effects of Cross and Self-fertilisation' was published on November
10, 1876, and 1500 copies were sold before the end of the year. The
following letter refers to a review in 'Nature' (February 15, 1877.):]


Dear Dyer,

I must tell you how greatly I am pleased and honoured by your article in
'Nature,' which I have just read. You are an adept in saying what
will please an author, not that I suppose you wrote with this express
intention. I should be very well contented to deserve a fraction of your
praise. I have also been much interested, and this is better than mere
pleasure, by your argument about the separation of the sexes. I dare
say that I am wrong, and will hereafter consider what you say more
carefully: but at present I cannot drive out of my head that the sexes
must have originated from two individuals, slightly different, which
conjugated. But I am aware that some cases of conjugation are opposed to
any such views.

With hearty thanks, Yours sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.



[The volume bearing the above title was published in 1877, and was
dedicated by the author to Professor Asa Gray, "as a small tribute of
respect and affection." It consists of certain earlier papers re-edited,
with the addition of a quantity of new matter. The subjects treated in
the book are:--

1. Heterostyled Plants.

2. Polygamous, Dioecious, and Gynodioecious Plants.

3. 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 origin of species.
(See 'Autobiography,' volume i.)

He found that a wonderfully close parallelism exists between
hybridisation and certain forms of fertilisation among heterostyled
plants. So that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that the
"illegitimately" reared seedlings are hybrids, although both their
parents belong to identically the same species. In a letter to Professor
Huxley, 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
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. (See 'Forms of Flowers,' page 243.)

The papers which on this subject preceded and contributed to 'Forms of
Flowers' were the following:--

"On the two Forms or Dimorphic Condition in the Species of Primula, and
on their remarkable Sexual Relations." Linn. Soc. Journal, 1862.)

"On the Existence of Two Forms, and on their Reciprocal Sexual
Relations, in several Species of the Genus Linum." Linn. Soc. Journal,

"On the Sexual Relations of the Three Forms of Lythrum salicaria," Ibid.

"On the Character and Hybrid-like Nature of the Offspring from the
Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Trimorphic Plants." Ibid. 1869.

"On the Specific Differences between Primula veris, Brit. Fl. (var.
Officinalis, Linn.), P. vulgaris, Brit. Fl. (var. acaulis, Linn.) and
P. elatior, Jacq.; and on the Hybrid Nature of the Common Oxlip.
With Supplementary Remarks on Naturally Produced Hybrids in the Genus
Verbascum." Ibid. 1869.

The following letter shows that he began the work on heterostyled plants
with an erroneous view as to the meaning of the facts.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, May 7 [1860].

... I have this morning been looking at my experimental cowslips, and I
find some plants have all flowers with long stamens and short pistils,
which I will call "male plants," others with short stamens and long
pistils, which I will call "female plants." This I have somewhere seen
noticed, I think by Henslow; but I find (after looking at my two sets
of plants) that the stigmas of the male and female are of slightly
different shape, and certainly different degree of roughness, and what
has astonished me, the pollen of the so-called female plant, though very
abundant, is more transparent, and each granule is exactly only 2/3
of the size of the pollen of the so-called male plant. Has this been
observed? I cannot help suspecting [that] the cowslip is in fact
dioecious, but it may turn out all a blunder, but anyhow I will mark
with sticks the so-called male and female plants and watch their
seeding. It would be a fine case of gradation between an hermaphrodite
and unisexual condition. Likewise a sort of case of balancement of
long and short pistils and stamens. Likewise perhaps throws light on

I have now examined primroses and find exactly the same difference
in the size of the pollen, correlated with the same difference in the
length of the style and roughness of the stigmas.


... I have been making some little trifling observations which have
interested and perplexed me much. I find with primroses and cowslips,
that about an equal number of plants are thus characterised.

SO-CALLED (by me) MALE plant. Pistil much shorter than stamens; stigma
rather smooth,--POLLEN GRAINS LARGE, throat of corolla short.

SO-CALLED FEMALE plant. Pistil much longer than stamens, stigma rougher,
POLLEN-GRAINS SMALLER,--throat of corolla long.

I have marked a lot of plants, and expected to find the so-called male
plant barren; but judging from the feel of the capsules, this is not the
case, and I am very much surprised at the difference in the size of the
pollen... If it should prove that the so-called male plants produce less
seed than the so-called females, what a beautiful case of gradation from
hermaphrodite to unisexual condition it will be! If they produce about
equal number of seed, how perplexing it will be.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, December 17 [1860?].

... I have just been ordering a photograph of myself for a friend; and
have ordered one for you, and for heaven's sake oblige me, and burn that
now hanging up in your room.--It makes me look atrociously wicked.

... In the spring I must get you to look for long pistils and short
pistils in the rarer species of Primula and in some allied Genera. It
holds with P. Sinensis. You remember all the fuss I made on this subject
last spring; well, the other day at last I had time to weigh the seeds,
and by Jove the plants of primroses and cowslip with short pistils and
large grained pollen (Thus the plants which he imagined to be tending
towards a male condition were more productive than the supposed
females.) are rather more fertile than those with long pistils, and
small-grained pollen. I find that they require the action of insects to
set them, and I never will believe that these differences are without
some meaning.

Some of my experiments lead me to suspect that the large-grained pollen
suits the long pistils and the small-grained pollen suits the short
pistils; but I am determined to see if I cannot make out the mystery
next spring.

How does your book on plants brew in your mind? Have you begun it?...

Remember me most kindly to Oliver. He must be astonished at not having a
string of questions, I fear he will get out of practice!

[The Primula-work was finished in the autumn of 1861, and on November
8th he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"I have sent my paper on dimorphism in Primula to the Linn. Soc. I
shall go up and read it whenever it comes on; I hope you may be able to
attend, for I do not suppose many will care a penny for the subject."

With regard to the reading of the paper (on November 21st), he wrote to
the same friend:--

"I by no means thought that I produced a "tremendous effect" in the
Linn. Soc., but by Jove the Linn. Soc. produced a tremendous effect on
me, for I could not get out of bed till late next evening, so that I
just crawled home. I fear I must give up trying to read any paper or
speak; it is a horrid bore, I can do nothing like other people."

To Dr. Gray he wrote, (December 1861):--

"You may rely on it, I will send you a copy of my Primula paper as soon
as I can get one; but I believe it will not be printed till April 1st,
and therefore after my Orchid Book. I care more for your and Hooker's
opinion than for that of all the rest of the world, and for Lyell's
on geological points. Bentham and Hooker thought well of my paper when
read; but no one can judge of evidence by merely hearing a paper."

The work on Primula was the means of bringing my father in contact
with the late Mr. John Scott, then working as a gardener in the Botanic
Gardens at Edinburgh,--an employment which he seems to have chosen in
order to gratify his passion for natural history. He wrote one or two
excellent botanical papers, and ultimately obtained a post in India.
(While in India he made some admirable observations on expression for my
father.) He died in 1880.

A few phrases may be quoted from letters to Sir J.D. Hooker, showing my
father's estimate of Scott:--

"If you know, do please tell me who is John Scott of the Botanical
Gardens of Edinburgh; I have been corresponding largely with him; he is
no common man."

"If he had leisure he would make a wonderful observer; to my judgment I
have come across no one like him."

"He has interested me strangely, and I have formed a very high opinion
of his intellect. I hope he will accept pecuniary assistance from me;
but he has hitherto refused." (He ultimately succeeded in being allowed
to pay for Mr. Scott's passage to India.)

"I know nothing of him excepting from his letters; these show remarkable
talent, astonishing perseverance, much modesty, and what I admire,
determined difference from me on many points."

So highly did he estimate Scott's abilities that he formed a plan (which
however never went beyond an early stage of discussion) of employing him
to work out certain problems connected with intercrossing.

The following letter refers to my father's investigations on Lythrum (He
was led to this, his first case of trimorphism by Lecoq's 'Geographie
Botanique,' and this must have consoled him for the trick this work
played him in turning out to be so much larger than he expected. He
wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker: "Here is a good joke: I saw an extract from
Lecoq, 'Geograph. Bot.,' and ordered it and hoped that it was a good
sized pamphlet, and nine thick volumes have arrived!"), a plant which
reveals even a more wonderful condition of sexual complexity than that
of Primula. For in Lythrum there are not merely two, but three castes,
differing structurally and physiologically from each other:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, August 9 [1862].

My dear Gray,

It is late at night, and I am going to write briefly, and of course to
beg a favour.

The Mitchella very good, but pollen apparently equal-sized. I have just
examined Hottonia, grand difference in pollen. Echium vulgare, a humbug,
merely a case like Thymus. But I am almost stark staring mad over
Lythrum (On another occasion he wrote (to Dr. Gray) with regard to
Lythrum: "I must hold hard, otherwise I shall spend my life over
dimorphism."); if I can prove what I fully believe, it is a grand case
of TRIMORPHISM, with three different pollens and three stigmas; I have
castrated and fertilised above ninety flowers, trying all the eighteen
distinct crosses which are possible within the limits of this one
species! I cannot explain, but I feel sure you would think it a grand
case. I have been writing to Botanists to see if I can possibly get L.
hyssopifolia, and it has just flashed on me that you might have Lythrum
in North America, and I have looked to your Manual. For the love of
heaven have a look at some of your species, and if you can get me seed,
do; I want much to try species with few stamens, if they are dimorphic;
Nesaea verticillata I should expect to be trimorphic. Seed! Seed! Seed!
I should rather like seed of Mitchella. But oh, Lythrum!

Your utterly mad friend, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--There is reason in my madness, for I can see that to those who
already believe in change of species, these facts will modify to a
certain extent the whole view of Hybridity. (A letter to Dr. Gray (July,
1862) bears on this point: "A few days ago I made an observation which
has surprised me more than it ought to do--it will have to be repeated
several times, but I have scarcely a doubt of its accuracy. I stated
in my Primula paper that the long-styled form of Linum grandiflorum
was utterly sterile with its own pollen; I have lately been putting the
pollen of the two forms on the stigma of the SAME flower; and it strikes
me as truly wonderful, that the stigma distinguishes the pollen; and is
penetrated by the tubes of the one and not by those of the other; nor
are the tubes exserted. Or (which is the same thing) the stigma of the
one form acts on and is acted on by pollen, which produces not the
least effect on the stigma of the other form. Taking sexual power as the
criterion of difference, the two forms of this one species may be said
to be generically distinct.")

[On the same subject he wrote to Sir Joseph Hooker in August 1862:--

"Is Oliver at Kew? When I am established at Bournemouth I am completely
mad to examine any fresh flowers of any Lythraceous plant, and I would
write and ask him if any are in bloom."

Again he wrote to the same friend in October:--

"If you ask Oliver, I think he will tell you I have got a real odd case
in Lythrum, it interests me extremely, and seems to me the strangest
case of propagation recorded amongst plants or animals, viz. a necessary
triple alliance between three hermaphrodites. I feel sure I can now
prove the truth of the case from a multitude of crosses made this

In an article, 'Dimorphism in the Genitalia of Plants' ('Silliman's
Journal,' 1862, volume xxxiv. page 419), Dr. Gray pointed out that the
structural difference between the two forms of Primula had already been
defined in the 'Flora of North America,' as DIOECIO-DIMORPHISM. The
use of this term called forth the following remarks from my father. The
letter also alludes to a review of the 'Fertilisation of Orchids' in the
same volume of 'Silliman's Journal.']

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, November 26 [1862].

My dear Gray,

The very day after my last letter, yours of November 10th, and the
review in 'Silliman,' which I feared might have been lost, reached me.
We were all very much interested by the political part of your letter;
and in some odd way one never feels that information and opinions
painted in a newspaper come from a living source; they seem dead,
whereas all that you write is full of life. The reviews interested me
profoundly; you rashly ask for my opinion, and you must consequently
endure a long letter. First for Dimorphism; I do not AT PRESENT like the
term "Dioecio-dimorphism;" for I think it gives quite a false notion,
that the phenomena are connected with a separation of the sexes.
Certainly in Primula there is unequal fertility in the two forms, and I
suspect this is the case with Linum; and, therefore I felt bound in
the Primula paper to state that it might be a step towards a dioecious
condition; though I believe there are no dioecious forms in Primulaceae
or Linaceae. But the three forms in Lythrum convince me that the
phenomenon is in no way necessarily connected with any tendency to
separation of sexes. The case seems to me in result or function to be
almost identical with what old C.K. Sprengel called "dichogamy," and
which is so frequent in truly hermaphrodite groups; namely, the pollen
and stigma of each flower being mature at different periods. If I am
right, it is very advisable not to use the term "dioecious," as this at
once brings notions of separation of sexes.

... I was much perplexed by Oliver's remarks in the 'Natural History
Review' on the Primula case, on the lower plants having sexes more often
separated than in the higher plants,--so exactly the reverse of what
takes place in animals. Hooker in his review of the 'Orchids' repeats
this remark. There seems to be much truth in what you say ("Forms which
are low in the scale as respects morphological completeness may be
high in the scale of rank founded on specialisation of structure and
function."--Dr. Gray, in 'Silliman's Journal.'), and it did not occur to
me, about no improbability of specialisation in CERTAIN lines in lowly
organised beings. I could hardly doubt that the hermaphrodite state is
the aboriginal one. But how is it in the conjugation of Confervae--is
not one of the two individuals here in fact male, and the other female?
I have been much puzzled by this contrast in sexual arrangements
between plants and animals. Can there be anything in the following
consideration: By ROUGHEST calculation about one-third of the British
GENERA of aquatic plants belong to the Linnean classes of Mono and
Dioecia; whilst of terrestrial plants (the aquatic genera being
subtracted) only one-thirteenth of the genera belong to these two
classes. Is there any truth in this fact generally? Can aquatic plants,
being confined to a small area or small community of individuals,
require more free crossing, and therefore have separate sexes? But to
return to our point, does not Alph. de Candolle say that aquatic plants
taken as a whole are lowly organised, compared with terrestrial; and may
not Oliver's remark on the separation of the sexes in lowly organised
plants stand in some relation to their being frequently aquatic? Or is
this all rubbish?

... What a magnificent compliment you end your review with! You and
Hooker seem determined to turn my head with conceit and vanity (if not
already turned) and make me an unbearable wretch.

With most cordial thanks, my good and kind friend, Farewell, C. DARWIN.

[The following passage from a letter (July 28, 1863), to Prof.
Hildebrand, contains a reference to the reception of the dimorphic work
in France:--

"I am extremely much pleased to hear that you have been looking at the
manner of fertilisation of your native Orchids, and still more pleased
to hear that you have been experimenting on Linum. I much hope that you
may publish the result of these experiments; because I was told that the
most eminent French botanists of Paris said that my paper on Primula was
the work of imagination, and that the case was so improbable they did
not believe in my results."]


... I received a little time ago a paper with a good account of your
Herbarium and Library, and a long time previously your excellent review
of Scott's 'Primulaceae,' and I forwarded it to him in India, as it
would much please him. I was very glad to see in it a new case of
Dimorphism (I forget just now the name of the plant); I shall be
grateful to hear of any other cases, as I still feel an interest in
the subject. I should be very glad to get some seed of your dimorphic
Plantagos; for I cannot banish the suspicion that they must belong to a
very different class like that of the common Thyme. (In this prediction
he was right. See 'Forms of Flowers,' page 307.) How could the
wind, which is the agent of fertilisation, with Plantago, fertilise
"reciprocally dimorphic" flowers like Primula? Theory says this cannot
be, and in such cases of one's own theories I follow Agassiz and
declare, "that nature never lies." I should even be very glad to examine
the two dried forms of Plantago. Indeed, any dried dimorphic plants
would be gratefully received...

Did my Lythrum paper interest you? I crawl on at the rate of two hours
per diem, with 'Variation under Domestication.'

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, November 26 [1864].

... You do not know how pleased I am that you have read my Lythrum paper;
I thought you would not have time, and I have for long years looked at
you as my Public, and care more for your opinion than that of all the
rest of the world. I have done nothing which has interested me so much
as Lythrum, since making out the complemental males of Cirripedes.
I fear that I have dragged in too much miscellaneous matter into the

... I get letters occasionally, which show me that Natural Selection is
making GREAT progress in Germany, and some amongst the young in France.
I have just received a pamphlet from Germany, with the complimentary
title of "Darwinische Arten-Enstehung-Humbug"!

Farewell, my best of old friends, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. September 10, [1867?].

... The only point which I have made out this summer, which could
possibly interest you, is that the common Oxlip found everywhere, more
or less commonly in England, is certainly a hybrid between the primrose
and cowslip; whilst the P. elatior (Jacq.), found only in the
Eastern Counties, is a perfectly distinct and good species; hardly
distinguishable from the common oxlip, except by the length of the
seed-capsule relatively to the calyx. This seems to me rather a horrid
fact for all systematic botanists...

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. HILDEBRAND. Down, November 16, 1868.

My dear Sir,

I wrote my last note in such a hurry from London, that I quite forgot
what I chiefly wished to say, namely to thank you for your excellent
notices in the 'Bot. Zeitung' of my paper on the offspring of dimorphic
plants. The subject is so obscure that I did not expect that any one
would have noticed my paper, and I am accordingly very much pleased
that you should have brought the subject before the many excellent
naturalists of Germany.

Of all the German authors (but they are not many) whose works I have
read, you write by far the clearest style, but whether this is a
compliment to a German writer I do not know.

[The two following letters refer to the small bud-like "Cleistogamic"
flowers found in the violet and many other plants. They do not open and
are necessarily self-fertilised:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, May 30 [1862].

... What will become of my book on Variation? I am involved in a
multiplicity of experiments. I have been amusing myself by looking at
the small flowers of Viola. If Oliver (Shortly afterwards he wrote:
"Oliver, the omniscient, has sent me a paper in the 'Bot. Zeitung,' with
most accurate description of all that I saw in Viola.") has had time to
study them, he will have seen the curious case (as it seems to me) which
I have just made clearly out, viz. that in these flowers, the FEW pollen
grains are never shed, or never leave the anther-cells, but emit long
pollen tubes, which penetrate the stigma. To-day I got the anther with
the included pollen grain (now empty) at one end, and a bundle of tubes
penetrating the stigmatic tissue at the other end; I got the whole under
a microscope without breaking the tubes; I wonder whether the stigma
pours some fluid into the anther so as to excite the included grains. It
is a rather odd case of correlation, that in the double sweet violet
the small flowers are double; i.e., have a multitude of minute scales
representing the petals. What queer little flowers they are.

Have you had time to read poor dear Henslow's life? it has interested me
for the man's sake, and, what I did not think possible, has even exalted
his character in my estimation...

[The following is an extract from the letter given in part above, and
refers to Dr. Gray's article on the sexual differences of plants:]


... You will think that I am in the most unpleasant, contradictory,
fractious humour, when I tell you that I do not like your term of
"precocious fertilisation" for your second class of dimorphism [i.e. for
cleistogamic fertilisation]. If I can trust my memory, the state of
the corolla, of the stigma, and the pollen-grains is different from the
state of the parts in the bud; that they are in a condition of special
modification. But upon my life I am ashamed of myself to differ so much
from my betters on this head. The TEMPORARY theory (This view is now
generally accepted.) which I have formed on this class of dimorphism,
just to guide experiment, is that the PERFECT flowers can only be
perfectly fertilised by insects, and are in this case abundantly
crossed; but that the flowers are not always, especially in early
spring, visited enough by insects, and therefore the little imperfect
self-fertilising flowers are developed to ensure a sufficiency of seed
for present generations. Viola canina is sterile, when not visited by
insects, but when so visited forms plenty of seed. I infer from the
structure of three or four forms of Balsamineae, that these require
insects; at least there is almost as plain adaptation to insects as in
the Orchids. I have Oxalis acetosella ready in pots for experiment
next spring; and I fear this will upset my little theory... Campanula
carpathica, as I found this summer, is absolutely sterile if insects are
excluded. Specularia speculum is fairly fertile when enclosed; and this
seemed to me to be partially effected by the frequent closing of the
flower; the inward angular folds of the corolla corresponding with the
clefts of the open stigma, and in this action pushing pollen from the
outside of the stigma on to its surface. Now can you tell me, does S.
perfoliata close its flower like S. speculum, with angular inward folds?
if so, I am smashed without some fearful "wriggling." Are the IMPERFECT
flowers of your Specularia the early or the later ones? very early or
very late? It is rather pretty to see the importance of the closing of
flowers of S. speculum.

['Forms of Flowers' was published in July; in June, 1877, he wrote to
Professor Carus with regard to the translation:--

"My new book is not a long one, viz. 350 pages, chiefly of the larger
type, with fifteen simple woodcuts. All the proofs are corrected except
the Index, so that it will soon be published.

"... I do not suppose that I shall publish any more books, though perhaps
a few more papers. I cannot endure being idle, but heaven knows whether
I am capable of any more good work."

The review alluded to in the next letter is at page 445 of the volume of
'Nature' for 1878:]


My dear Dyer,

I have just read in 'Nature' the review of 'Forms of Flowers,' and I am
sure that it is by you. I wish with all my heart that it deserved one
quarter of the praises which you give it. Some of your remarks have
interested me greatly... Hearty thanks for your generous and most kind
sympathy, which does a man real good, when he is as dog-tired as I am at
this minute with working all day, so good-bye.



[My father mentions in his 'Autobiography' (volume i.) 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." ('Proc. Amer. Acad. of
Arts and Sciences,' 1858.) 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.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [June] 25 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I have been observing pretty carefully a little fact which has surprised
me; and I want to know from you and Oliver whether it seems new or odd
to you, so just tell me whenever you write; it is a very trifling fact,
so do not answer on purpose.

I have got a plant of Echinocystis lobata to observe the irritability
of the tendrils described by Asa Gray, and which of course, is plain
enough. Having the plant in my study, I have been surprised to find
that the uppermost part of each branch (i.e. the stem between the two
uppermost leaves excluding the growing tip) is CONSTANTLY and slowly
twisting round making a circle in from one-half to two hours; it
will sometimes go round two or three times, and then at the same rate
untwists and twists in opposite directions. It generally rests half
an hour before it retrogrades. The stem does not become permanently
twisted. The stem beneath the twisting portion does not move in the
least, though not tied. The movement goes on all day and all early
night. It has no relation to light for the plant stands in my window
and twists from the light just as quickly as towards it. This may be a
common phenomenon for what I know, but it confounded me quite, when I
began to observe the irritability of the tendrils. I do not say it is
the final cause, but the result is pretty, for the plant every one and
a half or two hours sweeps a circle (according to the length of the
bending shoot and the length of the tendril) of from one foot to twenty
inches in diameter, and immediately that the tendril touches any object
its sensitiveness causes it immediately to seize it; a clever gardener,
my neighbour, who saw the plant on my table last night, said: "I
believe, Sir, the tendrils can see, for wherever I put a plant it finds
out any stick near enough." I believe the above is the explanation, viz.
that it sweeps slowly round and round. The tendrils have some sense, for
they do not grasp each other when young.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, July 14 [1863].

My dear Hooker,

I am getting very much amused by my tendrils, it is just the sort of
niggling work which suits me, and takes up no time and rather rests me
whilst writing. So will you just think whether you know any plant, which
you could give or lend me, or I could buy, with tendrils, remarkable in
any way for development, for odd or peculiar structure, or even for an
odd place in natural arrangement. I have seen or can see Cucurbitaceae,
Passion-flower, Virginian-creeper, Cissus discolor, Common-pea
and Everlasting-pea. It is really curious the diversification of
irritability (I do not mean the spontaneous movement, about which I
wrote before and correctly, as further observation shows): for instance,
I find a slight pinch between the thumb and finger at the end of the
tendril of the Cucurbitaceae causes prompt movement, but a pinch excites
no movement in Cissus. The cause is that one side alone (the concave) is
irritable in the former; whereas both sides are irritable in Cissus, so
if you excite at the same time both OPPOSITE sides there is no movement,
but by touching with a pencil the two branches of the tendril, in any
part whatever, you cause movement towards that point; so that I can
mould, by a mere touch, the two branches into any shape I like...

CHARLES 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 wel-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 Apocyneae with shoots 18 inches long (beyond the
supporting stick), steadily searching for something to climb up. When
the shoot meets a stick, the motion at that point is arrested, 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. 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...


... An Irish nobleman on his death-bed declared that he could
conscientiously say that he had never throughout life denied himself any
pleasure; and I can conscientiously say that I have never scrupled to
trouble you; so here goes.--Have you travelled South, and can you tell
me whether the trees, which Bignonia capreolata climbs, are covered with
moss or filamentous lichen or Tillandsia? (He subsequently learned from
Dr. Gray that Polypodium incanum abounds on the trees in the districts
where this species of Bignonia grows. See 'Climbing Plants,' page 103.)
I ask because its tendrils abhor a simple stick, do not much relish
rough bark, but delight in wool or moss. They adhere in a curious manner
by making little disks, like the Ampelopsis... By the way, I will enclose
some specimens, and if you think it worth while, you can put them under
the simple microscope. It is remarkable how specially adapted some
tendrils are; those of Eccremocarpus scaber do not like a stick, will
have nothing to say to wool; but give them a bundle of culms of grass,
or a bundle of bristles and they seize them well.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, June 10 [1864].

... 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. I shall be very glad of those
you mention. I have written to Veitch for young Nepenthes and Vanilla
(which I believe will turn out a grand case, though a root creeper),
if I cannot buy young Vanilla I will ask you. I have ordered a
leaf-climbing fern, Lygodium. All this work about climbers would hurt
my conscience, did I think I could do harder work. (He was much out of
health at this time.)

[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

"For several days I have been decidedly better, and what I lay much
stress on (whatever doctors say), my brain feels far stronger, and I
have lost many dreadful sensations. The hot-house is such an amusement
to me, and my amusement I owe to you, as my delight is to look at the
many odd leaves and plants from Kew... The only approach to work which
I can do is to look at tendrils and climbers, this does not distress my
weakened brain. Ask Oliver to look over the enclosed queries (and do you
look) and amuse a broken-down brother naturalist by answering any which
he can. If you ever lounge through your houses, remember me and climbing

On October 29, 1864, he wrote to Dr. Gray:--

"I have not been able to resist doing a little more at your godchild, my
climbing paper, or rather in size little book, which by Jove I will have
copied out, else I shall never stop. This has been new sort of work
for me, and I have been pleased to find what a capital guide for
observations a full conviction of the change of species is."

On January 19, 1865, he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker:--

"It is working hours, but I am trying to take a day's holiday, for I
finished and despatched yesterday my climbing paper. For the last ten
days I have done nothing but correct refractory sentences, and I loathe
the whole subject."

A letter to Dr. Gray, April 9, 1865, has a word or two on the subject:--

"I have begun correcting proofs of my paper on '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 child."

Dr. Gray not only read it but approved of it, to my father's great
satisfaction, as the following extracts show:--

"I was much pleased to get your letter of July 24th. Now that I can
do nothing, I maunder over old subjects, and your approbation of my
climbing paper gives me VERY great satisfaction. I made my observations
when I could do nothing else and much enjoyed it, but always doubted
whether they were worth publishing. I demur to its not being necessary
to explain in detail about the spires in CAUGHT tendrils running in
opposite directions; for the fact for a long time confounded me, and
I have found it difficult enough to explain the cause to two or three
persons." (August 15, 1865.)

"I received yesterday your article (In the September number of
'Silliman's Journal,' concluded in the January number, 1866.) 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. Muller, 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." (October 1865.)

The paper on Climbing Plants was republished in 1875, as a separate
book. The author had been unable to give his customary amount of care to
the style of the original essay, owing to the fact that it was written
during a period of 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.]


[In the summer of 1860 he was staying at the house of his sister-in-law,
Miss Wedgwood, in Ashdown Forest, whence he wrote (July 29, 1860), to
Sir Joseph Hooker;--

"Latterly I have done nothing here; but at first I amused myself with
a few observations on the insect-catching power of Drosera; and I must
consult you some time whether my 'twaddle' is worth communicating to the
Linnean Society."

In August he wrote to the same friend:--

"I will gratefully send my notes on Drosera when copied by my copier:
the subject amused me when I had nothing to do."

He has described in the 'Autobiography' (volume i.), the general nature
of these early experiments. He noticed insects sticking to the leaves,
and finding that flies, etc., placed on the adhesive glands were held
fast and embraced, he suspected that the leaves were adapted to supply
nitrogenous food to the plant. He therefore tried the effect on the
leaves of various nitrogenous fluids--with results which, as far as they
went, verified his surmise. In September, 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
salts! I began this work on Drosera in relation to GRADATION as throwing
light on Dionaea."

Later in the autumn he was again obliged to leave home for Eastbourne,
where he continued his work on Drosera. The work was so new to him that
he found himself in difficulties in the preparation of solutions, and
became puzzled over fluid and solid ounces, etc. etc. To a friend, the
late Mr. E. Cresy, who came to his help in the matter of weights and
measures, he wrote giving an account of the experiments. The extract
(November 2, 1860) which follows illustrates the almost superstitious
precautions he often applied to his researches:--

"Generally I have scrutinised every gland and hair on the leaf before
experimenting; but it occurred to me that I might in some way affect the
leaf; though this is almost impossible, as I scrutinised with equal care
those that I put into distilled water (the same water being used for
dissolving the carbonate of ammonia). I then cut off four leaves (not
touching them with my fingers), and put them in plain water, and four
other leaves into the weak solution, and after leaving them for an hour
and a half, I examined every hair on all eight leaves; no change on the
four in water; every gland and hair affected in those in ammonia.

"I had measured the quantity of weak solution, and I counted the glands
which had absorbed the ammonia, and were plainly affected; the result
convinced me that each gland could not have absorbed more than 1/64000
or 1/65000 of a grain. I have tried numbers of other experiments all
pointing to the same result. Some experiments lead me to believe that
very sensitive leaves are acted on by much smaller doses. Reflect
how little ammonia a plant can get growing on poor soil--yet it is
nourished. The really surprising part seems to me that the effect should
be visible, and not under very high power; for after trying a high
power, I thought it would be safer not to consider any effect which
was not plainly visible under a two-thirds object glass and middle
eye-piece. The effect which the carbonate of ammonia produces is the
segregation of the homogeneous fluid in the cells into a cloud of
granules and colourless fluid; and subsequently the granules coalesce
into larger masses, and for hours have the oddest movements--coalescing,
dividing, coalescing ad infinitum. I do not know whether you will care
for these ill-written details; but, as you asked, I am sure I am bound
to comply, after all the very kind and great trouble which you have

On his return home he wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker (November 21, 1860):--

"I have been working like a madman at Drosera. Here is a fact for you
which is certain as you stand where you are, though you won't believe
it, that a bit of hair 1/78000 of one grain in weight placed on gland,
will cause ONE of the gland-bearing hairs of Drosera to curve inwards,
and will alter the condition of the contents of every cell in the
foot-stalk of the gland."

And a few days later to Lyell:--

"I will and must finish my Drosera MS., which will take me a week, for,
at the present moment, I care more about Drosera than the origin of all
the species in the world. But I will not publish on Drosera till next
year, for I am 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. The discussion in the following letter
on "nervous matter" in Drosera is of interest in relation to recent
researches on the continuity of protoplasm from cell to cell:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Cliff Cottage, Bournemouth. September 26

My dear Hooker,

Do not read this till you have leisure. If that blessed moment ever
comes, I should be very glad to have your opinion on the subject of this
letter. I am led to the opinion that Drosera must have diffused matter
in organic connection, closely analogous to the nervous matter of
animals. When the glands of one of the papillae or tentacles, in its
natural position is supplied with nitrogenised fluid and certain other
stimulants, or when loaded with an extremely slight weight, or when
struck several times with a needle, the pedicel bends near its base in
under one minute. These varied stimulants are conveyed down the pedicel
by some means; it cannot be vibration, for drops of fluid put on quite
quietly cause the movement; it cannot be absorption of the fluid from
cell to cell, for I can see the rate of absorption, which though quick,
is far slower, and in Dionaea the transmission is instantaneous;
analogy from animals would point to transmission through nervous matter.
Reflecting on the rapid power of absorption in the glands, the extreme
sensibility of the whole organ, and the conspicuous movement caused by
varied stimulants, I have tried a number of substances which are not
caustic or corrosive,... but most of which are known to have a remarkable
action on the nervous matter of animals. You will see the results in
the enclosed paper. As the nervous matter of different animals are
differently acted on by the same poisons, one would not expect the
same action on plants and animals; only if plants have diffused nervous
matter, some degree of analogous action. And this is partially the case.
Considering these experiments, together with the previously made remarks
on the functions of the parts, I cannot avoid the conclusion,
that Drosera possesses matter at least in some degree analogous in
constitution and function to nervous matter. Now do tell me what you
think, as far as you can judge from my abstract; of course many more
experiments would have to be tried; but in former years I tried on the
whole leaf, instead of on separate glands, a number of innocuous (This
line of investigation made him wish for information on the action
of poisons on plants; as in many other cases he applied to Professor
Oliver, and in reference to the result wrote to Hooker: "Pray thank
Oliver heartily for his heap of references on poisons.") substances,
such as sugar, gum, starch, etc., and they produced no effect. Your
opinion will aid me in deciding some future year in going on with
this subject. I should not have thought it worth attempting, but I had
nothing on earth to do.

My dear Hooker, Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

P.S.--We return home on Monday 28th. Thank Heaven!

[A long break now ensued in his work on insectivorous plants, and it was
not till 1872 that the subject seriously 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.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. [Sevenoaks], October 22 [1872].

... I have worked pretty hard for four or five weeks on Drosera, and
then broke down; so that we took a house near Sevenoaks for three weeks
(where I now am) to get complete rest. I have very little power of
working now, and must put off the rest of the work on Drosera till next
spring, as my plants are dying. It is an endless subject, and I must cut
it short, and for this reason shall not do much on Dionaea. The point
which has interested me most is tracing the NERVES! which follow the
vascular bundles. By a prick with a sharp lancet at a certain point,
I can paralyse one-half the leaf, so that a stimulus to the other half
causes no movement. It is just like dividing the spinal marrow of a
frog:--no stimulus can be sent from the brain or anterior part of the
spine to the hind legs; but if these latter are stimulated, they move by
reflex action. I find my old results about the astonishing sensitiveness
of the nervous system (!?)of Drosera to various stimulants fully
confirmed and extended...

[His work on digestion in Drosera and other points in the physiology of
the plant soon led him into regions where his knowledge was defective,
and here the advice and assistance which he received from Dr. Burdon
Sanderson was of much value:]


My dear Dr. Sanderson,

I should like to tell you a little about my recent work with Drosera, to
show that I have profited by your suggestions, and to ask a question or

1. It is really beautiful how quickly and well Drosera and Dionaea
dissolve little cubes of albumen and gelatine. I kept the same sized
cubes on wet moss for comparison. When you were here I forgot that I had
tried gelatine, but albumen is far better for watching its dissolution
and absorption. Frankland has told me how to test in a rough way for
pepsin; and in the autumn he will discover what acid the digestive juice

2. A decoction of cabbage-leaves and green peas causes as much
inflection as an infusion of raw meat; a decoction of grass is less
powerful. Though I hear that the chemists try to precipitate all albumen
from the extract of belladonna, I think they must fail, as the extract
causes inflection, whereas a new lot of atropine, as well as the
valerianate [of atropine], produce no effect.

3. I have been trying a good many experiments with heated water... Should
you not call the following case one of heat rigor? Two leaves were
heated to 130 deg, and had every tentacle closely inflected; one was
taken out and placed in cold water, and it re-expanded; the other was
heated to 145 deg, and had not the least power of re-expansion. Is not
this latter case heat rigor? If you can inform me, I should very much
like to hear at what temperature cold-blooded and invertebrate animals
are killed.

4. I must tell you my final result, of which I am sure, [as to] the
sensitiveness of Drosera. I made a solution of one part of phosphate of
ammonia by weight to 218,750 of water; of this solution I gave so much
that a leaf got 1/8000 of a grain of the phosphate. I then counted the
glands, and each could have got only 1/1552000 of a grain; this being
absorbed by the glands, sufficed to cause the tentacles bearing these
glands to bend through an angle of 180 deg. Such sensitiveness requires
hot weather, and carefully selected young yet mature leaves. It strikes
me as a wonderful fact. I must add that I took every precaution, by
trying numerous leaves at the same time in the solution and in the same
water which was used for making the solution.

5. If you can persuade your friend to try the effects of carbonate of
ammonia on the aggregation of the white blood corpuscles, I should very
much like to hear the result.

I hope this letter will not have wearied you.

Believe me, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. THISELTON DYER. Down, 24 [December 1873?].

My dear Mr. Dyer,

I fear that you will think me a great bore, but I cannot resist telling
you that I have just found out that the leaves of Pinguicula possess
a beautifully adapted power of movement. Last night I put on a row of
little flies near one edge of two YOUNGISH leaves; and after 14 hours
these edges are beautifully folded over so as to clasp the flies, thus
bringing the glands into contact with the upper surfaces of the flies,
and they are now secreting copiously above and below the flies and no
doubt absorbing. The acid secretion has run down the channelled edge and
has collected in the spoon-shaped extremity, where no doubt the glands
are absorbing the delicious soup. The leaf on one side looks just like
the helix of a human ear, if you were to stuff flies within the fold.
Yours most sincerely,


CHARLES DARWIN 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, pepsin; for I have been making a long series of comparative
trials. No human being will believe what I shall publish about the
smallness of the doses of phosphate of ammonia which act.

... I began reading the Madagascar squib (A description of a carnivorous
plant supposed to subsist on human beings.) quite gravely, and when I
found it stated that Felis and Bos inhabited Madagascar, I thought it
was a false story, and did not perceive it was a hoax till I came to the

CHARLES DARWIN TO F.C. DONDERS. (Professor Donders, the well-known
physiologist of Utrecht.) Down, July 7, 1874.

My dear Professor Donders,

My son George writes to me that he has seen you, and that you have been
very kind to him, for which I return to you my cordial thanks. He
tells me on your authority, of a fact which interests me in the highest
degree, and which I much wish to be allowed to quote. It relates to the
action of one millionth of a grain of atropine on the eye. Now will you
be so kind, whenever you can find a little leisure, to tell me whether
you yourself have observed this fact, or believe it on good authority.
I also wish to know what proportion by weight the atropine bore to the
water solution, and how much of the solution was applied to the eye. The
reason why I am so anxious on this head is that it gives some support
to certain facts repeatedly observed by me with respect to the action of
phosphate of ammonia on Drosera. The 1/4000000 of a grain absorbed by
a gland clearly makes the tentacle which bears this gland become
inflected; and I am fully convinced that 1/20000000 of a grain of the
crystallised salt (i.e. containing about one-third of its weight of
water of crystallisation) does the same. Now I am quite unhappy at the
thought of having to publish such a statement. It will be of great value
to me to be able to give any analogous facts in support. The case of
Drosera is all the more interesting as the absorption of the salt or
any other stimulant applied to the gland causes it to transmit a motor
influence to the base of the tentacle which bears the gland.

Pray forgive me for troubling you, and do not trouble yourself to answer
this until your health is fully re-established.

Pray believe me, Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[During the summer of 1874 he was at work on the genus Utricularia,
and he wrote (July 16th) to Sir J.D. Hooker giving some account of the
progress of his work:--

"I am rather glad you have not been able to send Utricularia, for the
common species has driven F. and me almost mad. The structure is MOST
complex. The bladders catch a multitude of Entomostraca, and larvae of
insects. The mechanism for capture is excellent. But there is much that
we cannot understand. From what I have seen to-day, I strongly suspect
that it is necrophagous, i.e. that it cannot digest, but absorbs
decaying matter."

He was indebted to Lady Dorothy Nevill for specimens of the curious
Utricularia montana, which is not aquatic like the European species,
but grows among the moss and debris on the branches of trees. To this
species the following letter refers:]


Dear Lady Dorothy Nevill,

I am so much obliged to you. I was so convinced that the bladders were
with the leaves that I never thought of removing the moss, and this was
very stupid of me. The great solid bladder-like swellings almost on the
surface are wonderful objects, but are not the true bladders. These I
found on the roots near the surface, and down to a depth of two inches
in the sand. They are as transparent as glass, from 1/20 to 1/100 of
an inch in size, and hollow. They have all the important points of
structure of the bladders of the floating English species, and I felt
confident I should find captured prey. And so I have to my delight in
two bladders, with clear proof that they had absorbed food from the
decaying mass. For Utricularia is a carrion-feeder, and not strictly
carnivorous like Drosera.

The great solid bladder-like bodies, I believe, are reservoirs of water
like a camel's stomach. As soon as I have made a few more observations,
I mean to be so cruel as to give your plant no water, and observe
whether the great bladders shrink and contain air instead of water; I
shall then also wash all earth from all roots, and see whether there are
true bladders for capturing subterranean insects down to the very bottom
of the pot. Now shall you think me very greedy, if I say that supposing
the species is not very precious, and you have several, will you give
me one more plant, and if so, please to send it to "Orpington Station,
S.E.R., to be forwarded by foot messenger."

I have hardly ever enjoyed a day more in my life than I have this day's
work; and this I owe to your Ladyship's great kindness.

The seeds are very curious monsters; I fancy of some plant allied to
Medicago, but I will show them to Dr. Hooker.

Your ladyship's very gratefully, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, September 30, 1874.

My dear H.,

Your magnificent present of Aldrovanda has arrived quite safe. I have
enjoyed greatly a good look at the shut leaves, one of which I cut open.
It is an aquatic Dionaea, which has acquired some structures identical
with those of Utricularia!

If the leaves open and I can transfer them open under the microscope, I
will try some experiments, for mortal man cannot resist the temptation.
If I cannot transfer, I will do nothing, for otherwise it would require
hundreds of leaves.

You are a good man to give me such pleasure.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

[The manuscript of 'Insectivorous Plants' was finished in March 1875.
He seems 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 few sentences in the autobiographical chapter give with sufficient
clearness the connection between the 'Power of Movement,' and one of the
author's earlier books, that on 'Climbing Plants.' The central idea
of the book is that the movements of plants in relation to light,
gravitation, etc., 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 ('Charles Darwin' ('Nature' Series), page 41.) 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 these 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 Linnaeus.
But we have killed or badly injured a multitude of plants: N.B.--Oxalis
carnosa was most valuable, but last night was killed."

His letters of this period do not give any connected account of
the progress of the work. The two following are given as being
characteristic of the author:]


My dear Dyer,

I remember saying that I should die a disgraced man if I did not observe
a seedling Cactus and Cycas, and you have saved me from this horrible
fate, as they move splendidly and normally. But I have two questions to
ask: the Cycas observed was a huge seed in a broad and very shallow pot
with cocoa-nut fibre as I suppose. It was named only Cycas. Was it Cycas
pectinata? I suppose that I cannot be wrong in believing that what first
appears above ground is a true leaf, for I can see no stem or axis.
Lastly, you may remember that I said that we could not raise Opuntia
nigricans; now I must confess to a piece of stupidity; one did come up,
but my gardener and self stared at it, and concluded that it could not
be a seedling Opuntia, but now that I have seen one of O. basilaris, I
am sure it was; I observed it only casually, and saw movements, which
makes me wish to observe carefully another. If you have any fruit,
will Mr. Lynch (Mr. R.I. Lynch, now Curator of the Botanic Garden at
Cambridge was at this time in the Royal Gardens, Kew.) be so kind as to
send one more?

I am working away like a slave at radicles [roots] and at movements of
true leaves, for I have pretty well done with cotyledons...

That was an EXCELLENT letter about the Gardens (This refers to an
attempt to induce the Government to open the Royal Gardens at Kew in the
morning.): I had hoped that the agitation was over. Politicians are a
poor truckling lot, for [they] must see the wretched effects of keeping
the gardens open all day long.

Your ever troublesome friend, CH. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. THISELTON DYER. 4 Bryanston St., Portman Square,
November 21 [1878].

My dear Dyer,

I must thank you for all the wonderful trouble which you have taken
about the seeds of Impatiens, and on scores of other occasions. It in
truth makes me feel ashamed of myself, and I cannot help thinking: "Oh
Lord, when he sees our book he will cry out, is this all for which I
have helped so much!" In seriousness, I hope that we have made out some
points, but I fear that we have done very little for the labour which
we have expended on our work. We are here for a week for a little rest,
which I needed.

If I remember right, November 30th, is the anniversary at the Royal, and
I fear Sir Joseph must be almost at the last gasp. I shall be glad when
he is no longer President.

Yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

[In the spring of the following year, 1879. When he was engaged in
putting his results together, he wrote somewhat despondingly to Mr.
Dyer: "I am overwhelmed with my notes, and almost too old to undertake
the job which I have in hand--i.e. movements of all kinds. Yet it is
worse to be idle."

Later on in the year, when the work was approaching completion, he wrote
to Prof. Carus (July 17, 1879), with respect to a translation:--

"Together with my son Francis, I am preparing a rather large volume on
the general movements of Plants, and I think that we have made out a
good many new points and views.

"I fear that our views will meet a good deal of opposition in Germany;
but we have been working very hard for some years at the subject.

"I shall be MUCH pleased if you think the book worth translating, and
proof-sheets shall be sent you, whenever they are ready."

In the autumn he was hard at work on the manuscript, and wrote to Dr.
Gray (October 24, 1879):--

"I have written a rather big book--more is the pity--on the movements
of plants, and I am now just beginning to go over the MS. for the second
time, which is a horrid bore."

Only the concluding part of the next letter refers to the 'Power of


My dear Sir,

I am particularly obliged to you for having so kindly send me your
'Phytographie' (A book on the methods of botanical research, more
especially of systematic work.); for if I had merely seen it advertised,
I should not have supposed that it could have concerned me. As it is, I
have read with very great interest about a quarter, but will not
delay longer thanking you. All that you say seems to me very clear
and convincing, and as in all your writings I find a large number of
philosophical remarks new to me, and no doubt shall find many more. They
have recalled many a puzzle through which I passed when monographing the
Cirripedia; and your book in those days would have been quite invaluable
to me. It has pleased me to find that I have always followed your plan
of making notes on separate pieces of paper; I keep several scores of
large portfolios, arranged on very thin shelves about two inches apart,
fastened to the walls of my study, and each shelf has its proper name
or title; and I can thus put at once every memorandum into its proper
place. Your book will, I am sure, be very useful to many young students,
and I shall beg my son Francis (who intends to devote himself to the
physiology of plants) to read it carefully.

As for myself I am taking a fortnight's rest, after sending a pile of
MS. to the printers, and it was a piece of good fortune that your book
arrived as I was getting into my carriage, for I wanted something to
read whilst away from home. My MS. relates to the movements of plants,
and I think that I have succeeded in showing that all the more important
great classes of movements are due to the modification of a kind of
movement common to all parts of all plants from their earliest youth.

Pray give my kind remembrances to your son, and with my highest respect
and best thanks,

Believe me, my dear Sir, yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S.--It always pleases me to exalt plants in the organic scale, and if
you will take the trouble to read my last chapter when my book (which
will be sadly too big) is published and sent to you, I hope and think
that you also will admire some of the beautiful adaptations by which
seedling plants are enabled to perform their proper functions.

[The book was published on November 6, 1880, and 1500 copies were
disposed of at Mr. Murray's sale. With regard to it he wrote to Sir J.D.
Hooker (November 23):--

"Your note has pleased me much--for I did not expect that you would have
had time to read ANY of it. Read the last chapter, and you will know the
whole result, but without the evidence. The case, however, of radicles
bending after exposure for an hour to geotropism, with their tips (or
brains) cut off is, I think, worth your reading (bottom of page 525); it
astounded me. The next most remarkable fact, as it appeared to me (page
148), is the discrimination of the tip of the radicle between a slightly
harder and softer object affixed on opposite sides of tip. But I will
bother you no more about my book. The sensitiveness of seedlings to
light is 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:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO MRS. HALIBURTON. (Mrs. Haliburton was a daughter of my
father's early friend, the late Mr. Owen, of Woodhouse.) 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
I owe to your father. It was very good of you to write. I had quite
forgotten my old ambition about the Shrewsbury newspaper (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.); 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 (The following is the opening sentence
of the leading article:--"Of all our living men of science none have
laboured longer and to more splendid purpose than Mr. Darwin."), 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. (My father had the pleasure of seeing
Mrs. Haliburton at his brother's house in Queen Anne Street.)

Believe me, my dear Sarah, Yours gratefully and affectionately, CHARLES

[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:]


My dear Sir,

I have now finished your book ('Das Bewegungsvermogen der Pflanzen.'
Vienna, 1881.), 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 page 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, etc., 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
page 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




[The present chapter contains a series of miscellaneous letters on
botanical subjects. Some of them show my father's varied interests in
botanical science, and others give account of researches which never
reached completion.]


[His researches into the meaning of the "bloom," or waxy coating found
on many leaves, was one of those inquiries which remained unfinished at
the time of his death. He amassed a quantity of notes on the subject,
part of which I hope to publish at no distant date. (A small instalment
on the relation between bloom and the distribution of the stomata on
leaves has appeared in the 'Journal of the Linnean Society,' 1886.
Tschirsch ("Linnaea", 1881) has published results identical with
some which my father and myself obtained, viz. that bloom diminishes
transpiration. The same fact was previously published by Garreau in

One of his earliest letters on this subject was addressed in August,
1873, to Sir Joseph Hooker:--

"I want a little information from you, and if you do not yourself know,
please to enquire of some of the wise men of Kew.

"Why are the leaves and fruit of so many plants protected by a thin
layer of waxy matter (like the common cabbage), or with fine hair, so
that when such leaves or fruit are immersed in water they appear as if
encased in thin glass? It is really a pretty sight to put a pod of the
common pea, or a raspberry into water. I find several leaves are thus
protected on the under surface and not on the upper.

"How can water injure the leaves if indeed this is at all the case?"

On this latter point he wrote to Sir Thomas Farrer:--

"I am now become mad about drops of water injuring leaves. Please ask
Mr. Paine (Sir Thomas Farrer's gardener.) whether he believes, FROM
HIS OWN EXPERIENCE, that drops of water injure leaves or fruit in his
conservatories. It is said that the drops act as burning-glasses; if
this is true, they would not be at all injurious on cloudy days. As
he is so acute a man, I should very much like to hear his opinion. I
remember when I grew hot-house orchids I was cautioned not to wet their
leaves; but I never then thought on the subject.

"I enjoyed my visit greatly with you, and I am very sure that all
England could not afford a kinder and pleasanter host."

Some years later he took up the subject again, and wrote to Sir Joseph
Hooker (May 25, 1877):--

"I have been looking over my old notes about the "bloom" on plants,
and I think that the subject is well worth pursuing, though I am very
doubtful of any success. Are you inclined to aid me on the mere chance
of success, for without your aid I could do hardly anything?"]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, June 4 [1877].

... I am now trying to make out the use or function of "bloom," or the
waxy secretion on the leaves and fruit of plants, but am VERY doubtful
whether I shall succeed. Can you give me any light? Are such plants
commoner in warm than in colder climates? I ask because I often walk out
in heavy rain, and the leaves of very few wild dicotyledons can be here
seen with drops of water rolling off them like quick-silver. Whereas in
my flower garden, greenhouse, and hot-houses there are several. Again,
are bloo-protected plants common on your DRY western plains? Hooker
THINKS that they are common at the Cape of Good Hope. It is a puzzle
to me if they are common under very dry climates, and I find bloom very
common on the Acacias and Eucalypti of Australia. Some of the Eucalypti
which do not appear to be covered with bloom have the epidermis
protected by a layer of some substance which is dissolved in boiling
alcohol. Are there any bloo-protected leaves or fruit in the Arctic
regions? If you can illuminate me, as you so often have done, pray do
so; but otherwise do not bother yourself by answering.

Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W. THISELTON DYER. Down, September 5 [1877].

My dear Dyer,

One word to thank you. I declare had it not been for your kindness, we
should have broken down. As it is we have made out clearly that with
some plants (chiefly succulent) the bloom checks evaporation--with
some certainly prevents attacks of insects; with SOME sea-shore plants
prevents injury from salt-water, and, I believe, with a few prevents
injury from pure water resting on the leaves. This latter is as yet
the most doubtful and the most interesting point in relation to the
movements of plants...

CHARLES DARWIN TO F. MULLER. Down, July 4 [1881].

My dear Sir,

Your kindness is unbounded, and I cannot tell you how much your last
letter (May 31) has interested me. I have piles of notes about the
effect of water resting on leaves, and their movements (as I supposed)
to shake off the drops. But I have not looked over these notes for a
long time, and had come to think that perhaps my notion was mere fancy,
but I had intended to begin experimenting as soon as I returned home;
and now with your INVALUABLE letter about the position of the leaves of
various plants during rain (I have one analogous case with Acacia from
South Africa), I shall be stimulated to work in earnest.


[The following letter refers to a subject on which my father felt the
strongest interest:--the experimental investigation of the causes of
variability. The experiments alluded to were to some extent planned out,
and some preliminary work was begun in the direction indicated below,
but the research was ultimately abandoned.]

CHARLES DARWIN TO J.H. GILBERT. (Dr. Gilbert, F.R.S., joint author
with Sir John Bennett Lawes of a long series of valuable researches in
Scientific Agriculture.) Down, February 16, 1876.

My dear Sir,

When I met you at the Linnean Society, you were so kind as to say that
you would aid me with advice, and this will be of the utmost value to me
and my son. I will first state my object, and hope that you will excuse
a long letter. It is admitted by all naturalists that no problem is so
perplexing as what causes almost every cultivated plant to vary, and no
experiments as yet tried have thrown any light on the subject. Now
for the last ten years I have been experimenting in crossing and
self-fertilising plants; and one indirect result has surprised me much;
namely, that by taking pains to cultivate plants in pots under glass
during several successive generations, under nearly similar conditions,
and by self-fertilising them in each generation, the colour of the
flowers often changes, and, what is very remarkable, they became in some
of the most variable species, such as Mimulus, Carnation, etc., quite
constant, like those of a wild species.

This fact and several others have led me to the suspicion that the cause
of variation must be in different substances absorbed from the soil by
these plants when their powers of absorption are not interfered with
by other plants with which they grow mingled in a state of nature.
Therefore my son and I wish to grow plants in pots in soil entirely, or
as nearly entirely as is possible, destitute of all matter which plants
absorb, and then to give during several successive generations to
several plants of the same species as different solutions as may be
compatible with their life and health. And now, can you advise me how
to make soil approximately free of all the substances which plants
naturally absorb? I suppose white silver sand, sold for cleaning
harness, etc., is nearly pure silica, but what am I to do for alumina?
Without some alumina I imagine that it would be impossible to keep the
soil damp and fit for the growth of plants. I presume that clay washed
over and over again in water would still yield mineral matter to the
carbonic acid secreted by the roots. I should want a good deal of soil,
for it would be useless to experimentise unless we could fill from
twenty to thirty moderately sized flower-pots every year. Can you
suggest any plan? for unless you can it would, I fear, be useless for us
to commence an attempt to discover whether variability depends at all
on matter absorbed from the soil. After obtaining the requisite kind of
soil, my notion is to water one set of plants with nitrate of potassium,
another set with nitrate of sodium, and another with nitrate of lime,
giving all as much phosphate of ammonia as they seemed to support, for
I wish the plants to grow as luxuriantly as possible. The plants watered
with nitrate of Na and of Ca would require, I suppose, some K; but
perhaps they would get what is absolutely necessary from such soil as I
should be forced to employ, and from the rain-water collected in tanks.
I could use hard water from a deep well in the chalk, but then all the
plants would get lime. If the plants to which I give Nitrate of Na and
of Ca would not grow I might give them a little alum.

I am well aware how very ignorant I am, and how crude my notions are;
and if you could suggest any other solutions by which plants would be
likely to be affected it would be a very great kindness. I suppose that
there are no organic fluids which plants would absorb, and which I could

I must trust to your kindness to excuse me for troubling you at such
length, and,

I remain, dear Sir, yours sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[The next letter to Professor Semper (Professor of Zoology at Wurzburg.)
bears on the same subject:]


My dear Professor Semper,

I have been much pleased to receive your letter, but I did not expect
you to answer my former one... I cannot remember what I wrote to you,
but I am sure that it must have expressed the interest which I felt in
reading your book. (Published in the 'International Scientific Series,'
in 1881, under the title, 'The Natural Conditions of Existence as they
affect Animal Life.') I thought that you attributed too much weight to
the DIRECT action of the environment; but whether I said so I know not,
for without being asked I should have thought it presumptuous to have
criticised your book, nor should I now say so had I not during the last
few days been struck with Professor Hoffmann's review of his own work in
the 'Botanische Zeitung,' on the variability of plants; and it is really
surprising how little effect he produced by cultivating certain plants
under unnatural conditions, as the presence of salt, lime, zinc, etc.,
etc., during SEVERAL generations. Plants, moreover, were selected which
were the most likely to vary under such conditions, judging from the
existence of closely-allied forms adapted for these conditions. No
doubt I originally attributed too little weight to the direct action of
conditions, but Hoffmann's paper has staggered me. Perhaps hundreds of
generations of exposure are necessary. It is a most perplexing subject.
I wish I was not so old, and had more strength, for I see lines of
research to follow. Hoffmann even doubts whether plants vary more
under cultivation than in their native home and under their natural
conditions. If so, the astonishing variations of almost all cultivated
plants must be due to selection and breeding from the varying
individuals. This idea crossed my mind many years ago, but I was
afraid to publish it, as I thought that people would say, "how he does
exaggerate the importance of selection."

I still MUST believe that changed conditions give the impulse to
variability, but that they act IN MOST CASES in a very indirect manner.
But, as I said, it is a most perplexing problem. Pray forgive me for
writing at such length; I had no intention of doing so when I sat down
to write.

I am extremely sorry to hear, for your own sake and for that of Science,
that you are so hard worked, and that so much of your time is consumed
in official labour.

Pray believe me, dear Professor Semper, Yours sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.


[Shortly before his death, my father began to experimentise on the
possibility of producing galls artificially. A letter to Sir J.D. Hooker
(November 3, 1880) shows the interest which he felt in the question:--

"I was delighted with Paget's Essay ('Disease in Plants,' by Sir
James Paget.--See "Gardeners' Chronicle", 1880.); I hear that he has
occasionally attended to this subject from his youth... I am very glad he
has called attention to galls: this has always seemed to me a profoundly
interesting subject; and if I had been younger would take it up."

His interest in this subject was connected with his ever-present wish
to learn something of the causes of variation. He imagined to himself
wonderful galls caused to appear on the ovaries of plants, and by these
means he thought it possible that the seed might be influenced, and thus
new varieties arise. He made a considerable number of experiments by
injecting various reagents into the tissues of leaves, and with some
slight indications of success.]


[The following letter gives an idea of the subject of the last of his
published papers. ('Journal of the Linnean Society.' volume xix, 1882,
pages 239 and 262.) The appearances which he observed in leaves and
roots attracted him, on account of their relation to the phenomena of
aggregation which had so deeply interested him when he was at work on

CHARLES DARWIN TO S.H. VINES. (Reader in Botany in the University of
Cambridge.) Down, November 1, 1881.

My dear Mr. Vines,

As I know how busy you are, it is a great shame to trouble you. But you
are so rich in chemical knowledge about plants, and I am so poor, that
I appeal to your charity as a pauper. My question is--Do you know of
any solid substance in the cells of plants which glycerine and water
dissolves? But you will understand my perplexity better if I give you
the facts: I mentioned to you that if a plant of Euphorbia peplus is
gently dug up and the roots placed for a short time in a weak solution
(1 to 10,000 of water, suffices in 24 hours) of carbonate of ammonia the
(generally) alternate longitudinal rows of cells in every rootlet, from
the root-cap up to the very top of the root (but not as far as I have
yet seen in the green stem) become filled with translucent, brownish
grains of matter. These rounded grains often cohere and even become
confluent. Pure phosphate and nitrate of ammonia produce (though more
slowly) the same effect, as does pure carbonate of soda.

Now, if slices of root under a cover-glass are irrigated with glycerine
and water, every one of the innumerable grains in the cells disappear
after some hours. What am I to think of this.?...

Forgive me for bothering you to such an extent; but I must mention
that if the roots are dipped in boiling water there is no deposition of
matter, and carbonate of ammonia afterwards produces no effect. I should
state that I now find that the granular matter is formed in the cells
immediately beneath the thin epidermis, and a few other cells near the
vascular tissue. If the granules consisted of living protoplasm (but
I can see no traces of movement in them), then I should infer that
the glycerine killed them and aggregation ceased with the diffusion of
invisibly minute particles, for I have seen an analogous phenomenon in

If you can aid me, pray do so, and anyhow forgive me. Yours very
sincerely, CH. DARWIN.


[Mr. James Torbitt, of Belfast, has been engaged for the last twelve
years in the difficult undertaking, in which he has been to a large
extent successful, of raising fungus-proof varieties of the potato. My
father felt great interest in Mr. Torbitt's work, and corresponded with
him from 1876 onwards. The following letter, giving a clear account of
Mr. Torbitt's method and of my father's opinion of the probability of
its success, was written with the idea that Government aid for the work
might possibly be obtainable:]

CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. FARRER. Down, March 2, 1878.

My dear Farrer,

Mr. Torbitt's plan of overcoming the potato-disease seems to me by far
the best which has ever been suggested. It consists, as you know
from his printed letter, of rearing a vast number of seedlings from
cross-fertilised parents, exposing them to infection, ruthlessly
destroying all that suffer, saving those which resist best, and
repeating the process in successive seminal generations. My belief in
the probability of good results from this process rests on the fact of
all characters whatever occasionally varying. It is known, for instance,
that certain species and varieties of the vine resist phylloxera better
than others. Andrew Knight found in one variety or species of the apple
which was not in the least attacked by coccus, and another variety has
been observed in South Australia. Certain varieties of the peach resist
mildew, and several other such cases could be given. Therefore there is
no great improbability in a new variety of potato arising which would
resist the fungus completely, or at least much better than any existing
variety. With respect to the cross-fertilisation of two distinct
seedling plants, it has been ascertained that the offspring thus raised
inherit much more vigorous constitutions and generally are more prolific
than seedlings from self-fertilised parents. It is also probable that
cross-fertilisation would be especially valuable in the case of the
potato, as there is reason to believe that the flowers are seldom
crossed by our native insects; and some varieties are absolutely sterile
unless fertilised with pollen from a distinct variety. There is some
evidence that the good effects from a cross are transmitted for several
generations; it would not, therefore be necessary to cross-fertilise the
seedlings in each generation, though this would be desirable, as it is
almost certain that a greater number of seeds would thus be obtained. It
should be remembered that a cross between plants raised from the tubers
of the same plant, though growing on distinct roots, does no more good
than a cross between flowers on the same individual. Considering the
whole subject, it appears to me that it would be a national misfortune
if the cros-fertilised seeds in Mr. Torbitt's possession produced by
parents which have already shown some power of resisting the disease,
are not utilised by the Government, or some public body, and the process
of selection continued during several more generations.

Should the Agricultural Society undertake the work, Mr. Torbitt's
knowledge gained by experience would be especially valuable; and
an outline of the plan is given in his printed letter. It would be
necessary that all the tubers produced by each plant should be collected
separately, and carefully examined in each succeeding generation.

It would be advisable that some kind of potato eminently liable to the
disease should be planted in considerable numbers near the seedlings so
as to infect them.

Altogether the trial would be one requiring much care and extreme
patience, as I know from experience with analogous work, and it may be
feared that it would be difficult to find any one who would pursue the
experiment with sufficient energy. It seems, therefore, to me highly
desirable that Mr. Torbitt should be aided with some small grant so as
to continue the work himself.

Judging from his reports, his efforts have already been crowned in so
short a time with more success than could have been anticipated; and
I think you will agree with me, that any one who raises a fungus-proof
potato will be a public benefactor of no common kind.

My dear Farrer, yours sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

[After further consultation with Sir Thomas Farrer and with Mr. Caird,
my father became convinced that it was hopeless to attempt to obtain
Government aid. He wrote to Mr. Torbitt to this effect, adding, "it
would be less trouble to get up a subscription from a few rich leading
agriculturists than from Government. This plan I think you cannot object
to, as you have asked nothing, and will have nothing whatever to do with
the subscription. In fact, the affair is, in my opinion, a compliment
to you." The idea here broached was carried out, and Mr. Torbitt was
enabled to continue his work by the aid of a sum to which Sir T. Farrer,
Mr. Caird, my father, and a few friends, subscribed.

My father's sympathy and encouragement were highly valued by Mr.
Torbitt, who tells me that without them he should long ago have given up
his attempt. A few extracts will illustrate my father's fellow feeling
with Mr. Torbitt's energy and perseverance:--

"I admire your indomitable spirit. If any one ever deserved success,
you do so, and I keep to my original opinion that you have a very good
chance of raising a fungus-proof variety of the potato.

"A pioneer in a new undertaking is sure to meet with many
disappointments, so I hope that you will keep up your courage, though we
have done so very little for you."

Mr. Torbitt tells me that he still (1887) succeeds in raising varieties
possessing well-marked powers of resisting disease; but this immunity is
not permanent, and, after some years, the varieties become liable to the
attacks of the fungus.]


[Some account of my father's connection with the Index of Plant-names
now (1887) in course of preparation at Kew will be found in Mr. B.
Daydon Jackson's paper in the 'Journal of Botany,' 1887, page 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 the 'Nomenclator'
is now seriously below the requirements of botanical work. To remedy
this want, the 'Nomenclator' has been from time to time posted up in an
interleaved copy in the Herbarium at Kew, by the help of "funds supplied
by private liberality." (Kew Gardens Report, 1881, page 62.)

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 recognize 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" (Kew Gardens
Report, 1881, page 62.)--which induced him to offer to supply funds for
the completion of the Kew 'Nomenclator.'

The following passage, for which I am indebted to Professor Judd, is of
much 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."

Sir Joseph Hooker was asked by my father "to take into consideration,
with the aid of the botanical staff at Kew and the late Mr. Bentham, the
extent and scope of the proposed work, and to suggest the best means of
having it executed. In doing this, Sir Joseph had further the advantage
of the great knowledge and experience of Professor Asa Gray, of
Cambridge, U.S.A., and of Mr. John Ball, F.R.S." ('Journal of Botany,'
loc. cit.)

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.' The colossal nature
of the work in progress at Kew may be estimated by the fact that the
manuscript of the 'Index' is at the present time (1887) believed to
weigh more than a ton. Under Sir Joseph Hooker's supervision the work
goes steadily forward, being carried out with admirable zeal by Mr.
Jackson, who devotes himself unsparingly to the enterprise, in which,
too, he has the advantage of the active interest in the work felt by
Professor Oliver and Mr. Thiselton Dyer.

The Kew 'Index,' which will, in all probability, be ready to go to press
in four or five years, 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.]


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.

During the last ten years of his life the condition 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. Something has
been already said of Dr. Bence Jones's treatment, from which my father
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 ofte-repeated encouragement, which laterally added
something real to his happiness, and he found sincere pleasure in Sir
Andrew's friendship and kindness towards himself and his children.

Scattered through the past pages 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 which 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 (On the action of carbonate of ammonia on roots
and leaves.), 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 Mr. Alfrey, of 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 (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 in
1874, and republished in 'Science and Culture.') in the world like you.

Ever yours, CH. DARWIN."

The allusion to Sir Andrew Clark requires a word of explanation. Sir
Andrew Clark 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
seventy-fourth 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."



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. WM. 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--

CHARLES ROBERT DARWIN. Born 12 February, 1809. Died 19 April, 1882.



Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of Her Majesty's Ships 'Adventure'
and 'Beagle' between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their
examination of the Southern shores of South America, and the 'Beagle's'
circumnavigation of the globe. Volume iii. Journal and Remarks,
1832-1836. By Charles Darwin. 8vo. London, 1839.

Journal of Researches into the Natural History and Geology of the
countries visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle' round the world,
under the command of Captain Fitz-Roy, R.N. 2nd edition, corrected, with
additions. 8vo. London, 1845. (Colonial and Home Library.)

A Naturalist's Voyage. Journal of Researches, etc., 8vo. London, 1860.
[Contains a postscript dated February 1, 1860.]

Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle.' Edited and superintended
by Charles Darwin. Part I. Fossil Mammalia, by Richard Owen. With a
Geological Introduction, by Charles Darwin. 4to. London, 1840.

--Part II. Mammalia, by George R. Waterhouse. With a notice of their
habits and ranges, by Charles Darwin. 4to. London, 1839.

--Part III. Birds, by John Gould. An "Advertisement" (2 pages) states
that in consequence of Mr. Gould's having left England for Australia,
many descriptions were supplied by Mr. G.R. Gray of the British Museum.
4to. London, 1841.

--Part IV. Fish, by Rev. Leonard Jenyns. 4to. London, 1842.

--Part V. Reptiles, by Thomas Bell. 4to. London, 1843.

The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. Being the First Part of
the Geology of the Voyage of the 'Beagle.' 8vo. London, 1842.

The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. 2nd edition. 8vo. London,

Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands, visited during the
Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle.' Being the Second Part of the Geology of the
Voyage of the 'Beagle.' 8vo. London, 1844.

Geological Observations on South America. Being the Third Part of the
Geology of the Voyage of the 'Beagle.' 8vo. London, 1846.

Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands and parts of South
America visited during the Voyage of H.M.S. 'Beagle.' 2nd edition. 8vo.
London, 1876.

A Monograph of the Fossil Lepadidae; or, Pedunculated Cirripedes of
Great Britain. 4to. London, 1851. (Palaeontographical Society.)

A Monograph of the Sub-class Cirripedia, with Figures of all the
Species. The Lepadidae; or, Pedunculated Cirripedes. 8vo. London, 1851.
(Ray Society.)

--The Balanidae (or Sessile Cirripedes); the Verrucidae, etc. 8vo.
London, 1854. (Ray Society.)

A Monograph of the Fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae of Great Britain.
4to. London, 1854. (Palaeontographical Society.)

On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the
Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 8vo. London,
1859. (Dated October 1st, 1859, published November 24, 1859.)

--Fifth thousand. 8vo. London, 1860.

--Third edition, with additions and corrections. (Seventh thousand.)
8vo. London, 1861. (Dated March, 1861.)

--Fourth edition with additions and corrections. (Eighth thousand.) 8vo.
London, 1866. (Dated June, 1866.)

--Fifth edition, with additions and corrections. (Tenth thousand.) 8vo.
London, 1869. (Dated May, 1869.)

--Sixth edition, with additions and corrections to 1872. (Twenty-fourth
thousand.) 8vo. London, 1882. (Dated January, 1872.)

On the various contrivances by which Orchids are fertilised by Insects.
8vo. London, 1862.

--Second edition. 8vo. London, 1877. [In the second edition the word
"On" is omitted from the title.]

The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants. Second edition. 8vo.
London, 1875. [First appeared in the ninth volume of the 'Journal of the
Linnean Society.']

The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. 2 volumes. 8vo.
London, 1868.

--Second edition, revised. 2 volumes. 8vo. London, 1875.

The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. 2 volumes. 8vo.
London, 1871.

--Second edition. 8vo. London, 1874. (In 1 volume.)

The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. 8vo. London, 1872.

Insectivorous Plants. 8vo. London, 1875.

The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom.
8vo. London, 1876.

--Second edition. 8vo. London, 1878.

The different Forms of Flowers on Plants of the same Species. 8vo.
London, 1877.

--Second edition. 8vo. London, 1880.

The Power of Movement in Plants. By Charles Darwin, assisted by Francis
Darwin. 8vo. London, 1880.

The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms, with
Observations on their Habits. 8vo. London, 1881.


A Manual of scientific enquiry; prepared for the use of Her Majesty's
Navy: and adapted for travellers in general. Edited by Sir John F.W.
Herschel, Bart. 8vo. London, 1849. (Section VI. Geology. By Charles

Memoir of the Rev. John Stevens Henslow. By the Rev. Leonard Jenyns.
8vo. London, 1862. [In Chapter III., Recollections by Charles Darwin.]

A letter (1876) on the 'Drift' near Southampton published in Prof. J.
Geikie's 'Prehistoric Europe.'

Flowers and their unbidden guests. By A. Kerner. With a Prefatory Letter
by Charles Darwin. The translation revised and edited by W. Ogle. 8vo.
London, 1878.

Erasmus Darwin. By Ernst Krause. Translated from the German by W.S.
Dallas. With a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin. 8vo. London, 1879.

Studies in the Theory of Descent. By August Weismann. Translated and
edited by Raphael Meldola. With a Prefatory Notice by Charles Darwin.
8vo. London, 1880--.

The Fertilisation of Flowers. By Hermann Muller. Translated and edited
by D'Arcy W. Thompson. With a Preface by Charles Darwin. 8vo. London,

Mental Evolution in Animals. By G.J. Romanes. With a posthumous essay on
instinct by Charles Darwin, 1883. [Also published in the Journal of the
Linnean Society.]

Some Notes on a curious habit of male humble bees were sent to Prof.
Hermann Muller, of Lippstadt, who had permission from Mr. Darwin to make
what use he pleased of them. After Muller's death the Notes were given
by his son to Dr. E. Krause, who published them under the title,
"Ueber die Wege der Hummel-Mannchen" in his book, 'Gesammelte kleinere
Schriften von Charles Darwin.' (1886).


Letters to Professor Henslow, read by him at the meeting of the
Cambridge Philosophical Society, held November 16, 1835. 31 pages. 8vo.
Privately printed for distribution among the members of the Society.

Geological Notes made during a survey of the East and West Coasts of
South America in the years 1832, 1833, 1834, and 1835; with an account
of a transverse section of the Cordilleras of the Andes between
Valparaiso and Mendoza. [Read November 18, 1835.] Geology Society Proc.
ii. 1838, pages 210-212. [This Paper is incorrectly described in Geology
Society Proc. ii., page 210 as follows:--"Geological notes, etc., by F.
Darwin, Esq., of St. John's College, Cambridge: communicated by Prof.
Sedgwick." It is Indexed under C. Darwin.]

Notes upon the Rhea Americana. Zoology Society Proc., Part v. 1837.
pages 35-36.

Observations of proofs of recent elevation on the coast of Chili, made
during the survey of H.M.S. "Beagle," commanded by Captain Fitz-Roy.
[1837.] Geological Society Proc. ii.1838, pages 446-449.

A sketch of the deposits containing extinct Mammalia in the
neighbourhood of the Plata. [1837.] Geological Society Proc. ii. 1838,
pages 542-544.

On certain areas of elevation and subsidence in the Pacific and
Indian oceans, as deduced from the study of coral formations. [1837.]
Geological Society Proc. ii. 1838, pages 552-554.

On the Formation of Mould. [Read November 1, 1837.] Geological Society
Proc. ii. 1838, pages 574-576; Geological Society Transactions v. 1840,
pages 505-510.

On the Connexion of certain Volcanic Phenomena and on the formation of
mountain-chains and the effects of continental elevations. [Read March
7, 1838.] Geological Society Proc. ii. 1838, pages 654-660; Geological
Society Transactions v. 1840, pages 601-632. [In the Society's
Transactions the wording of the title is slightly different.]

Origin of saliferous deposits. Salt Lakes of Patagonia and La Plata.
Geological Society Journal ii. (Part ii.), 1838, pages 127-128.

Note on a Rock seen on an Iceberg in 16 deg South Latitude. Geographical
Society Journal ix. 1839, pages 528-529.

Observations on the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, and of other parts of
Lochaber in Scotland, with an attempt to prove that they are of marine
origin. Phil. Trans. 1839, pages 39-82.

On a remarkable Bar of Sandstone off Pernambuco, on the Coast of Brazil.
Phil. Mag. xix. 1841, pages 257-260.

On the Distribution of the Erratic Boulders and on the Contemporaneous
Unstratified Deposits of South America. [1841.] Geological Society Proc.
iii. 1842, pages 425-430; Geological Society Transactions vi. 1842,
pages 415-432.

Notes on the Effects produced by the Ancient Glaciers of
Caernarvonshire, and on the Boulders transported by Floating Ice. London
Philosophical Magazine volume xxi. page 180. 1842.

Remarks on the preceding paper, in a Letter from Charles Darwin, Esq.,
to Mr. Maclaren. Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal xxxiv. 1843,
pages 47- 50. [The "preceding" paper is: "On Coral Islands and Reefs as
described by Mr. Darwin. By Charles Maclaren, Esq., F.R.S.E."]

Observations on the Structure and Propagation of the genus Sagitta.
Annals and Magazine of Natural History xiii. 1844, pages 1-6.

Brief descriptions of several Terrestrial Planariae, and of some
remarkable Marine Species, with an Account of their Habits. Annals and
Magazine of Natural History xiv. 1844, pages 241-251.

An account of the Fine Dust which often falls on Vessels in the Atlantic
Ocean. Geological Society Journal ii. 1846, pages 26-30.

On the Geology of the Falkland Islands. Geological Society Journal ii.
1846, pages 267-274.

A review of Waterhouse's 'Natural History of the Mammalia.' [Not
signed.] Annals and Magazine of Natural History 1847. Volume xix. page

On the Transportal of Erratic Boulders from a lower to a higher level.
Geological Society Journal iv. 1848, pages 315-323.

On British fossil Lepadidae. Geological Society Journal vi. 1850, pages
439-440. [The G.S.J. says "This paper was withdrawn by the author with
the permission of the Council."]

Analogy of the Structure of some Volcanic Rocks with that of Glaciers.
Edinburgh Royal Society Proc. ii. 1851, pages 17-18.

On the power of Icebergs to make rectilinear, uniformly-directed Grooves
across a Submarine Undulatory Surface. Philosophical Magazine x. 1855,
pages 96-98.

Vitality of Seeds. "Gardeners' Chronicle", November 17, 1855, page 758.

On the action of Sea-water on the Germination of Seeds. [1856.] Linnean
Society Journal i. 1857 ("Botany"), pages 130-140.

On the Agency of Bees in the Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Flowers.
"Gardeners' Chronicle", page 725, 1857.

On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of
Varieties and Species by Natural Means of Selection. By Charles Darwin,
Esq., F.R.S., F.L.S., and F.G.S., and Alfred Wallace, Esq. [Read
July 1st, 1858.] Journal of the Linnean Society 1859, volume iii.
("Zoology"), page 45.

Special titles of Charles Darwin's contributions to the foregoing:--

i. Extract from an unpublished work on Species by Charles Darwin Esq.,
consisting of a portion of a chapter entitled, "On the Variation of
Organic Beings in a State of Nature; on the Natural Means of Selection;
on the Comparison of Domestic Races and true Species."

ii. Abstract of a Letter from C. Darwin, Esq., to Professor Asa Gray, of
Boston U.S., dated September 5, 1857.

On the Agency of Bees in the Fertilisation of Papilionaceous Flowers,
and on the Crossing of Kidney Beans. "Gardeners' Chronicle", 1858, page
828 and Annals of Natural History 3rd series ii. 1858, pages 459-465.

Do the Tineina or other small Moths suck Flowers, and if so what
Flowers? "Entomological Weekly Intelligencer" volume viii. 1860, page

Note on the achenia of Pumilio Argyrolepis. "Gardeners' Chronicle",
January 5, 1861, page 4.

Fertilisation of Vincas. "Gardeners' Chronicle", pages 552, 831, 832.

On the Two Forms, or Dimorphic Condition, in the species of Primula, and
on their remarkable Sexual Relations. Linnean Society Journal vi. 1862
("Botany"), pages 77-96.

On the Three remarkable Sexual Forms of Catasetum tridentatum, an Orchid
in the possession of the Linnean Society. Linnean Society Journal vi.
1862 ("Botany"), pages 151-157.

Yellow Rain. "Gardeners' Chronicle", July 18, 1863, page 675.

On the thickness of the Pampean formation near Buenos Ayres. Geological
Society Journal xix. 1863, pages 68-71.

On the so-called "Auditory-sac" of Cirripedes. Natural History Review,
1863, pages 115-116.

A review of Mr. Bates' paper on 'Mimetic Butterflies.' Natural History
Review, 1863, page 221-. [Not signed.]

On the existence of two forms, and on their reciprocal sexual relation,
in several species of the genus Linum. Linnean Society Journal vii. 1864
("Botany"), pages 69-83.

On the Sexual Relations of the Three Forms of Lythrum salicaria. [1864.]
Linnean Society Journal viii. 1865 ("Botany"), pages 169-196.

On the Movement and Habits of Climbing Plants. [1865.] Linnean Society
Journal ix. 1867 ("Botany"), pages 1-118.

Note on the Common Broom (Cytisus scoparius). [1866.] Linnean Society
Journal ix. 1867 ("Botany"), page 358.

Notes on the Fertilization of Orchids. Annals and Magazine of Natural
History, 4th series, iv. 1869, pages 141-159.

On the Character and Hybrid-like Nature of the Offspring from the
Illegitimate Unions of Dimorphic and Trimorphic Plants. [1868.] Linnean
Society Journal x. 1869 ("Botany"), pages 393-437.

On the Specific Difference between Primula veris, British Fl. (var.
officinalis, of Linn.), P. vulgaris, British Fl. (var. acaulis, Linn.),
and P. elatior, Jacq.; and on the Hybrid Nature of the common Oxlip.
With Supplementary Remarks on naturally produced Hybrids in the genus
Verbascum. [1868.] Linnean Society Journal x. 1869 ("Botany"), pages

Note on the Habits of the Pampas Woodpecker (Colaptes campestris).
Zoological Society Proceedings November 1, 1870, pages 705-706.

Fertilisation of Leschenaultia. "Gardeners' Chronicle", page 1166, 1871.

The Fertilisation of Winter-flowering Plants. 'Nature,' November 18,
1869, volume i. page 85.

Pangenesis. 'Nature,' April 27, 1871, volume iii. page 502.

A new view of Darwinism. 'Nature,' July 6, 1871, volume iv. page 180.

Bree on Darwinism. 'Nature,' August 8, 1872, volume vi. page 279.

Inherited Instinct. 'Nature,' February 13, 1873, volume vii. page 281.

Perception in the Lower Animals. 'Nature,' March 13, 1873, volume vii.
page 360.

Origin of certain instincts. 'Nature,' April 3, 1873, volume vii. page

Habits of Ants. 'Nature,' July 24, 1873, volume viii. page 244.

On the Males and Complemental Males of Certain Cirripedes, and on
Rudimentary Structures. 'Nature,' September 25, 1873, volume viii. page

Recent researches on Termites and Honey-bees. 'Nature,' February 19,
1874, volume ix. page 308.

Fertilisation of the Fumariaceae. 'Nature,' April 16, 1874, volume ix.
page 460.

Flowers of the Primrose destroyed by Birds. 'Nature,' April 23, 1874,
volume ix. page 482; May 14, 1874, volume x. page 24.

Cherry Blossoms. 'Nature,' May 11, 1876, volume xiv. page 28.

Sexual Selection in relation to Monkeys. 'Nature,' November 2, 1876,
volume xv. page 18. Reprinted as a supplement to the 'Descent of Man,'

Fritz Muller on Flowers and Insects. 'Nature,' November 29, 1877, volume
xvii. page 78.

The Scarcity of Holly Berries and Bees. "Gardeners' Chronicle", January
20, 1877, page 83.

Note on Fertilization of Plants. "Gardeners' Chronicle", volume vii.
page 246, 1877.

A biographical sketch of an infant. 'Mind,' No.7, July, 1877.

Transplantation of Shells. 'Nature,' May 30, 1878, volume xviii. page

Fritz Muller on a Frog having Eggs on its back--on the abortion of the
hairs on the legs of certain Caddis-Flies, etc. 'Nature,' March 20,
1879, volume xix. page 462.

Rats and Water-Casks. 'Nature,' March 27, 1879, volume xix. page 481.

Fertility of Hybrids from the common and Chinese Goose. 'Nature,'
January 1, 1880, volume xxi. page 207.

The Sexual Colours of certain Butterflies. 'Nature,' January 8, 1880,
volume xxi. page 237.

The Omori Shell Mounds. 'Nature,' April 15, 1880, volume xxi. page 561.

Sir Wyville Thomson and Natural Selection. 'Nature,' November 11, 1880,
volume xxiii. page 32.

Black Sheep. 'Nature,' December 30, 1880, volume xxiii. page 193.

Movements of Plants. 'Nature,' March 3, 1881, volume xxiii. page 409.

The Movements of Leaves. 'Nature,' April 28, 1881, volume xxiii. page

Inheritance. 'Nature,' July 21, 1881, volume xxiv. page 257.

Leaves injured at Night by Free Radiation. 'Nature,' September 15, 1881,
volume xxiv. page 459.

The Parasitic Habits of Molothrus. 'Nature,' November 17, 1881, volume
xxv. page 51.

On the Dispersal of Freshwater Bivalves. 'Nature,' April 6, 1882, volume
xxv. page 529.

The Action of Carbonate of Ammonia on the Roots of certain Plants. [Read
March 16, 1882.] Linnean Society Journal ("Botany"), volume xix. 1882,
pages 239-261.

The Action of Carbonate of Ammonia on Chlorophyll-bodies. [Read March 6,
1882.] Linnean Society Journal ("Botany"), volume xix. 1882, pages 262-

On the modification of a Race of Syrian Street-Dogs by means of Sexual
Selection. By W. Van Dyck. With a preliminary notice by Charles Darwin.
[Read April 18, 1882.] Proceedings of the Zoological Society 1882, pages



1838: Water-colour by G. Richmond in the possession of The Family.

1851: Lithograph by Ipswich British Association Series.

1853: Chalk Drawing by Samuel Lawrence in the possession of The Family.

1853?: Chalk Drawing (Probably a sketch made at one of the sittings
for the last mentioned.) by Samuel Lawrence in the possession of Prof.
Hughes, Cambridge.

1869: Bust, marble, by T. Woolner, R.A. in the possession of The Family.

1875: Oil Painting (A replica by the artist is in the possession of
Christ's College, Cambridge.) by W. Ouless, R.A., etched by P. Rajon, in
the possession of The Family.

1879: Oil Painting by W.B. Richmond in the possession of The University
of Cambridge.

1881: Oil Painting (A replica by the artist is in the possession of W.E.
Darwin, Esq., Southampton.) by the Hon. John Collier, in the possession
of The Linnaean Society, etched by Leopold Flameng.


Statue by Joseph Boehm, R.A., in the possession of Museum, South

Bust by Chr. Lehr, Junr.

Plaque by T. Woolner, R.A., and Josiah Wedgwood and Sons in the
possession of Christ's College, in Charles Darwin's Room.

Deep Medallion by J. Boehm, R.A. to be placed in Westminster Abbey.


1854?: By Messrs. Maull and Fox, engraved on wood for 'Harper's
Magazine' (October 1884).

1870?: By O.J. Rejlander, engraved on steel by C.H. Jeens for 'Nature'
(June 4, 1874).

1874?: By Captain Darwin, R.E., engraved on wood for the 'Century
Magazine' (January 1883). Frontispiece, volume i.

(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, captain Darwin, has no record of
the date at which his photograph was taken.)

1881: By Messrs. Elliott and Fry, engraved on wood by G. Kruells, for
the present work.



(The list has been compiled from the diplomas and letters in my father's
possession, and is no doubt incomplete, as he seems to have lost or
mislaid some of the papers received from foreign Societies. Where the
name of a foreign Society (excluding those in the United States) is
given in English, it is a translation of the Latin (or in one case
Russian) of the original Diploma.)

ORDER.--Prussian Order, 'Pour le Merite.' 1867.

OFFICE.--County Magistrate. 1857.


Cambridge: B.A. 1831 [1832]. See volume i. M.A. 1837. Hon. LL.D. 1877.

Breslau: Hon. Doctor in Medicine and Surgery. 1862.

Bonn: Hon. Doctor in Medicine and Surgery. 1868.

Leyden: Hon. M.D. 1875.


Zoological. Corresponding Member. 1831. (He afterwards became a Fellow
of the Society.) Entomological. 1833, Original Member. Geological. 1836.
Wollaston Medal, 1859. Royal Geographical. 1838. Royal. 1839. Royal
Medal, 1853. Copley Medal, 1864. Linnean. 1854. Ethnological. 1861.
Medico-Chirurgical. Hon. Member. 1868. Baly Medal of the Royal College
of Physicians, 1879.


Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1865. Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh,
1826. Hon. Member, 1861. Royal Irish Academy. Hon. Member, 1866.
Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester. Hon. Member, 1868.
Watford Natural History Society. Hon. Member, 1877. Asiatic Society
of Bengal. Hon. Member, 1871. Royal Society of New South Wales. Hon.
Member, 1879. Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, New Zealand. Hon.
Member, 1863. New Zealand Institute. Hon. Member, 1872.


Sociedad Cientifica Argentina. Hon. Member, 1877. Academia Nacional
de Ciencias, Argentine Republic. Hon. Member, 1878. Sociedad Zoologica
Arjentina. Hon. Member, 1874. Boston Society of Natural History. Hon.
Member, 1873. American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston). Foreign
Hon. Member, 1874. California Academy of Sciences. Hon. Member, 1872.
California State Geological Society. Corresponding Member, 1877.
Franklin Literary Society, Indiana. Hon. Member, 1878. Sociedad de
Naturalistas Neo-Granadinos. Hon. Member, 1860. New York Academy
of Sciences. Hon. Member, 1879. Gabinete Portuguez de Leitura em
Pernambuco. Corresponding Member, 1879. Academy of Natural Sciences
of Philadelphia. Correspondent, 1860. American Philosophical Society,
Philadelphia. Member, 1869.


Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna. Foreign Corresponding Member,
1871; Hon. Foreign Member, 1875. Anthropologische Gesellschaft in Wien.
Hon. Member, 1872. K. k. Zoologisch-botanische Gesellschaft in Wien.
Member, 1867. Magyar Tudomanyos Akademia, Pest, 1872.


Societe Royale des Sciences Medicales et Naturelles de Bruxelles.
Hon. Member, 1878. Societie Royale de Botanique de Belgique. 'Membre
Associe,' 1881. Academie Royale des Sciences, etc., de Belgique.
'Associe de la Classe des Sciences.' 1870.


Royal Society of Copenhagen. Fellow, 1879.


Societe d'Anthropologie de Paris. Foreign Member, 1871. Societe
Entomologique de France. Hon. Member, 1874. Societe Geologique de France
(Life Member), 1837. Institut de France. 'Correspondant' Section of
Botany, 1878.


Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences (Berlin). Corresponding Member,
1863; Fellow, 1878. Berliner Gesellschaft fur Anthropologie, etc.
Corresponding Member, 1877. Schlesische Gesellschaft fur Vaterlandische
Cultur (Breslau). Hon. Member 1878. Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina
Academia Naturae Curiosorum (Dresden). 1857. (The diploma contains the
words "accipe... ex antiqua nostra consuetudine cognomen Forster." It was
formerly the custom in the "Caesarea Leopoldin-Carolina Academia", that
each new member should receive as a 'cognomen,' a name celebrated in
that branch of science to which he belonged. Thus a physician might be
christened Boerhave, or an