And now to say a word about a son of a monkey and an old friend of yours: I am better, far better, than I was last year. I have been lecturing three days a week (formerly I gave six a week) without much fatigue, but I find by the loss of activity and memory, and of all productive powers, that my bodily frame is sinking slowly towards the earth. But I have visions of the future. They are as much a part of myself as my stomach and my heart, and these visions are to have their antitype in solid fruition of what is best and greatest. But on one condition only--that I humbly accept God's revelation of Himself both in his works and in His word, and do my best to act in conformity with that knowledge which He only can give me, and He only can sustain me in doing. If you and I do all this we shall meet in heaven.
I have written in a hurry, and in a spirit of brotherly love, therefore forgive any sentence you happen to dislike; and believe me, spite of any disagreement in some points of the deepest moral interest, your true- hearted old friend,
CHARLES DARWIN TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 25th .
My dear Huxley,
One part of your note has pleased me so much that I must thank you for it. Not only Sir H.H. [Holland], but several others, have attacked me about analogy leading to belief in one primordial CREATED form. ('Origin,' edition i. page 484.--"Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.") (By which I mean only that we know nothing as yet [of] how life originates.) I thought I was universally condemned on this head. But I answered that though perhaps it would have been more prudent not to have put it in, I would not strike it out, as it seemed to me probable, and I give it on no other grounds. You will see in your mind the kind of arguments which made me think it probable, and no one fact had so great an effect on me as your most curious remarks on the apparent homologies of the head of Vertebrata and Articulata.
You have done a real good turn in the Agency business ("My General Agent" was a sobriquet applied at this time by my father to Mr. Huxley.) (I never before heard of a hard-working, unpaid agent besides yourself), in talking with Sir H.H., for he will have great influence over many. He floored me from my ignorance about the bones of the ear, and I made a mental note to ask you what the facts were.
With hearty thanks and real admiration for your generous zeal for the subject.
Yours most truly, C. DARWIN.
You may smile about the care and precautions I have taken about my ugly MS. (Manuscript left with Mr. Huxley for his perusal.); it is not so much the value I set on them, but the remembrance of the intolerable labour--for instance, in tracing the history of the breeds of pigeons.
CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, 25th [December, 1859].
...I shall not write to Decaisne (With regard to Naudin's paper in the 'Revue Horticole,' 1852.); I have always had a strong feeling that no one had better defend his own priority. I cannot say that I am as indifferent to the subject as I ought to be, but one can avoid doing anything in consequence.
I do not believe one iota about your having assimilated any of my notions unconsciously. You have always done me more than justice. But I do think I did you a bad turn by getting you to read the old MS., as it must have checked your own original thoughts. There is one thing I am fully convinced of, that the future progress (which is the really important point) of the subject will have depended on really good and well-known workers, like yourself, Lyell, and Huxley, having taken up the subject, than on my own work. I see plainly it is this that strikes my non- scientific friends.
Last night I said to myself, I would just cut your Introduction, but would not begin to read, but I broke down, and had a good hour's read.