See also Letters 132, 164, 170.) I quite agree about his high-mindedness, and have long thought so; but in this case it is too far, and I shall tell him so. I am not sure that I fully agree with his views about Man, but there is no doubt, in my opinion, on the remarkable genius shown by the paper. I agree, however, to the main new leading idea.
LETTER 406. TO A.R. WALLACE.
(406/1. This letter was published in "Life and Letters," III., page 89.)
Down, [May] 28th .
I am so much better that I have just finished a paper for the Linnean Society (406/2. 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 (406/3. "Anthropological Review," May 1864.) received on the 11th. (406/4. Mr. Wallace wrote, May 10th, 1864: "I send you now my little contribution to the theory of the origin of man. I hope you will be able to agree with me. If you are able [to write] I shall be glad to have your criticisms. I was led to the subject by the necessity of explaining the vast mental and cranial differences between man and the apes combined with such small structural differences in other parts of the body,--and also by an endeavour to account for the diversity of human races combined with man's almost perfect stability of form during all historical epochs." 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." (406/5. "Reader," April 16th, 1864, an abstract of Mr. Wallace: "On the Phenomena of Variation and Geographical Distribution as illustrated by the Papilionidae of the Malayan Region." "Linn. Soc. Trans." XXV.) 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 daresay 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.