TO L. BLOMEFIELD [JENYNS]. Down. February 14th [1845].

I have taken my leisure in thanking you for your last letter and discussion, to me very interesting, on the increase of species. Since your letter, I have met with a very similar view in Richardson, who states that the young are driven away by the old into unfavourable districts, and there mostly perish. When one meets with such unexpected statistical returns on the increase and decrease and proportion of deaths and births amongst mankind, and in this well-known country of ours, one ought not to be in the least surprised at one's ignorance, when, where, and how the endless increase of our robins and sparrows is checked.

Thanks for your hints about terms of "mutation," etc.; I had some suspicions that it was not quite correct, and yet I do not see my way to arrive at any better terms. It will be years before I publish, so that I shall have plenty of time to think of better words. Development would perhaps do, only it is applied to the changes of an individual during its growth. I am, however, very glad of your remark, and will ponder over it.

We are all well, wife and children three, and as flourishing as this horrid, house-confining, tempestuous weather permits.

LETTER 18. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [1845].

I hope you are getting on well with your lectures, and that you have enjoyed some pleasant walks during the late delightful weather. I write to tell you (as perhaps you might have had fears on the subject) that your books have arrived safely. I am exceedingly obliged to you for them, and will take great care of them; they will take me some time to read carefully.

I send to-day the corrected MS. of the first number of my "Journal" (18/1. In 1842 he had written to his sister: "Talking of money, I reaped the other day all the profit which I shall ever get from my "Journal" ["Journal of Researches, etc."] which consisted in paying Mr. Colburn 21 pounds 10 shillings for the copies which I presented to different people; 1,337 copies have been sold. This is a comfortable arrangement, is it not?" He was proved wrong in his gloomy prophecy, as the second edition was published by Mr. Murray in 1845.) in the Colonial Library, so that if you chance to know of any gross mistake in the first 214 pages (if you have my "Journal"), I should be obliged to you to tell me.

Do not answer this for form's sake; for you must be very busy. We have just had the Lyells here, and you ought to have a wife to stop your working too much, as Mrs. Lyell peremptorily stops Lyell.

LETTER 19. TO J.D. HOOKER.

(19/1. Sir J.D. Hooker's letters to Mr. Darwin seem to fix the date as 1845, while the reference to Forbes' paper indicates 1846.)

Down [1845-1846].

I am particularly obliged for your facts about solitary islands having several species of peculiar genera; it knocks on the head some analogies of mine; the point stupidly never occurred to me to ask about. I am amused at your anathemas against variation and co.; whatever you may be pleased to say, you will never be content with simple species, "as they are." I defy you to steel your mind to technicalities, like so many of our brother naturalists. I am much pleased that I thought of sending you Forbes' article. (19/2. E. Forbes' celebrated paper "Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain," Volume I., page 336, 1846. In Lyell's "Principles," 7th Edition, 1847, page 676, he makes a temperate claim of priority, as he had already done in a private letter of October 14th, 1846, to Forbes ("Life of Sir Charles Lyell," 1881, Volume II., page 106) both as regards the Sicilian flora and the barrier effect of mountain-chains. See Letter 20 for a note on Forbes.) I confess I cannot make out the evidence of his time-notions in distribution, and I cannot help suspecting that they are rather vague. Lyell preceded Forbes in one class of speculation of this kind: for instance, in his explaining the identity of the Sicily Flora with that of South Italy, by its having been wholly upraised within the recent period; and, so I believe, with mountain-chains separating floras.

More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume I Page 35

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book