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 exaggerated.
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 mono- 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 1859].
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.