In answer to Sedgwick's remark that my book would be "mischievous," I asked him whether truth can be known except by being victorious over all attacks. But it is no use. H.C. Watson tells me that one zoologist says he will read my book, "but I will never believe it." What a spirit to read any book in! Crawford writes to me that his notice (John Crawford, orientalist, ethnologist, etc., 1783-1868. The review appeared in the "Examiner", and, though hostile, is free from bigotry, as the following citation will show: "We cannot help saying that piety must be fastidious indeed that objects to a theory the tendency of which is to show that all organic beings, man included, are in a perpetual progress of amelioration, and that is expounded in the reverential language which we have quoted.") will be hostile, but that "he will not calumniate the author." He says he has read my book, "at least such parts as he could understand." He sent me some notes and suggestions (quite unimportant), and they show me that I have unavoidably done harm to the subject, by publishing an abstract. He is a real Pallasian; nearly all our domestic races descended from a multitude of wild species now commingled. I expected Murchison to be outrageous. How little he could ever have grappled with the subject of denudation! How singular so great a geologist should have so unphilosophical a mind! I have had several notes from --, very civil and less decided. Says he shall not pronounce against me without much reflection, PERHAPS WILL SAY NOTHING on the subject. X. says -- will go to that part of hell, which Dante tells us is appointed for those who are neither on God's side nor on that of the devil.
I fully believe that I owe the comfort of the next few years of my life to your generous support, and that of a very few others. I do not think I am brave enough to have stood being odious without support; now I feel as bold as a lion. But there is one thing I can see I must learn, viz., to think less of myself and my book. Farewell, with cordial thanks.
Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.
I return home on the 7th, and shall sleep at Erasmus's. I will call on you about ten o'clock, on Thursday, the 8th, and sit with you, as I have so often sat, during your breakfast.
I wish there was any chance of Prestwich being shaken; but I fear he is too much of a catastrophist.
[In December there appeared in 'Macmillan's Magazine' an article, "Time and Life," by Professor Huxley. It is mainly occupied by an analysis of the argument of the 'Origin,' but it also gives the substance of a lecture delivered at the Royal Institution before that book was published. Professor Huxley spoke strongly in favour of evolution in his Lecture, and explains that in so doing he was to a great extent resting on a knowledge of "the general tenor of the researches in which Mr. Darwin had been so long engaged," and was supported in so doing by his perfect confidence in his knowledge, perseverance, and "high-minded love of truth." My father was evidently deeply pleased by Mr. Huxley's words, and wrote:
"I must thank you for your extremely kind notice of my book in 'Macmillan.' No one could receive a more delightful and honourable compliment. I had not heard of your Lecture, owing to my retired life. You attribute much too much to me from our mutual friendship. You have explained my leading idea with admirable clearness. What a gift you have of writing (or more properly) thinking clearly."]
CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, December 3rd .
My dear Carpenter,
I am perfectly delighted at your letter. It is a great thing to have got a great physiologist on our side. I say "our" for we are now a good and compact body of really good men, and mostly not old men. In the long run we shall conquer. I do not like being abused, but I feel that I can now bear it; and, as I told Lyell, I am well convinced that it is the first offender who reaps the rich harvest of abuse. You have done an essential kindness in checking the odium theologicum in the E.R.