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 Santo...

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 no

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II Page 04

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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