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 .
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 .
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 .
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 disappear...
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.