I am sorry to say that I have no "consolatory view" on the dignity of man. I am content that man will probably advance, and care not much whether we are looked at as mere savages in a remotely distant future. Many thanks for your last note.
Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.
I have received, in a Manchester newspaper, rather a good squib, showing that I have proved "might is right," and therefore that Napoleon is right, and every cheating tradesman is also right.
CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Down, January 6th ?
My dear Carpenter,
I have just read your excellent article in the 'National.' It will do great good; especially if it becomes known as your production. It seems to me to give an excellently clear account of Mr. Wallace's and my views. How capitally you turn the flanks of the theological opposers by opposing to them such men as Bentham and the more philosophical of the systematists! I thank you sincerely for the EXTREMELY honourable manner in which you mention me. I should have liked to have seen some criticisms or remarks on embryology, on which subject you are so well instructed. I do not think any candid person can read your article without being much impressed with it. The old doctrine of immutability of specific forms will surely but slowly die away. It is a shame to give you trouble, but I should be very much obliged if you could tell me where differently coloured eggs in individuals of the cuckoo have been described, and their laying in twenty- seven kinds of nests. Also do you know from your own observation that the limbs of sheep imported into the West Indies change colour? I have had detailed information about the loss of wool; but my accounts made the change slower than you describe.
With most cordial thanks and respect, believe me, my dear Carpenter, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO L. JENYNS. (Rev. L. Blomefield.) Down, January 7th, 1860.
My dear Jenyns,
I am very much obliged for your letter. It is of great use and interest to me to know what impression my book produces on philosophical and instructed minds. I thank you for the kind things which you say; and you go with me much further than I expected. You will think it presumptuous, but I am convinced, IF CIRCUMSTANCES LEAD YOU TO KEEP THE SUBJECT IN MIND, that you will go further. No one has yet cast doubts on my explanation of the subordination of group to group, on homologies, embryology, and rudimentary organs; and if my explanation of these classes of facts be at all right, whole classes of organic beings must be included in one line of descent.
The imperfection of the Geological Record is one of the greatest difficulties...During the earliest period the record would be most imperfect, and this seems to me sufficient to account for our not finding intermediate forms between the classes in the same great kingdoms. It was certainly rash in me putting in my belief of the probability of all beings having descended from ONE primordial form; but as this seems yet to me probable, I am not willing to strike it out. Huxley alone supports me in this, and something could be said in its favour. With respect to man, I am very far from wishing to obtrude my belief; but I thought it dishonest to quite conceal my opinion. Of course it is open to every one to believe that man appeared by a separate miracle, though I do not myself see the necessity or probability.
Pray accept my sincere thanks for your kind note. Your going some way with me gives me great confidence that I am not very wrong. For a very long time I halted half way; but I do not believe that any enquiring mind will rest half-way. People will have to reject all or admit all; by ALL I mean only the members of each great kingdom.
My dear Jenyns, yours most sincerely, C. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, January 10th .
...It is perfectly true that I owe nearly all the corrections (The second edition of 3000 copies of the 'Origin' was published on January 7th.) to you, and several verbal ones to you and others; I am heartily glad you approve of them, as yet only two things have annoyed me; those confounded millions (This refers to the passage in the 'Origin of Species' (2nd edition, page 285), in which the lapse of time implied by the denudation of the Weald is discussed.