I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of this publication. If any other edition of my work is called for, I will insert to the foregoing effect." In spite of my father's recognition of his claims, Mr. Matthew remained unsatisfied, and complained that an article in the 'Saturday Analyst and Leader' was "scarcely fair in alluding to Mr. Darwin as the parent of the origin of species, seeing that I published the whole that Mr. Darwin attempts to prove, more than twenty-nine years ago."--"Saturday Analyst and Leader", November 24, 1860.) If you think it proper that I should send it (and of this there can hardly be any question), and if you think it full and ample enough, please alter the date to the day on which you post it, and let that be soon. The case in the "Gardeners' Chronicle" seems a LITTLE stronger than in Mr. Matthew's book, for the passages are therein scattered in three places; but it would be mere hair-splitting to notice that. If you object to my letter, please return it; but I do not expect that you will, but I thought that you would not object to run your eye over it. My dear Hooker, it is a great thing for me to have so good, true, and old a friend as you. I owe much for science to my friends.

Many thanks for Huxley's lecture. The latter part seemed to be grandly eloquent.

...I have gone over [the 'Edinburgh'] review again, and compared passages, and I am astonished at the misrepresentations. But I am glad I resolved not to answer. Perhaps it is selfish, but to answer and think more on the subject is too unpleasant. I am so sorry that Huxley by my means has been thus atrociously attacked. I do not suppose you much care about the gratuitous attack on you.

Lyell in his letter remarked that you seemed to him as if you were overworked. Do, pray, be cautious, and remember how many and many a man has done this--who thought it absurd till too late. I have often thought the same. You know that you were bad enough before your Indian journey.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, April [1860].

My dear Lyell,

I was very glad to get your nice long letter from Torquay. A press of letters prevented me writing to Wells. I was particularly glad to hear what you thought about not noticing [the 'Edinburgh'] review. Hooker and Huxley thought it a sort of duty to point out the alteration of quoted citations, and there is truth in this remark; but I so hated the thought that I resolved not to do so. I shall come up to London on Saturday the 14th, for Sir B. Brodie's party, as I have an accumulation of things to do in London, and will (if I do not hear to the contrary) call about a quarter before ten on Sunday morning, and sit with you at breakfast, but will not sit long, and so take up much of your time. I must say one more word about our quasi-theological controversy about natural selection, and let me have your opinion when we meet in London. Do you consider that the successive variations in the size of the crop of the Pouter Pigeon, which man has accumulated to please his caprice, have been due to "the creative and sustaining powers of Brahma?" In the sense that an omnipotent and omniscient Deity must order and know everything, this must be admitted; yet, in honest truth, I can hardly admit it. It seems preposterous that a maker of a universe should care about the crop of a pigeon solely to please man's silly fancies. But if you agree with me in thinking such an interposition of the Deity uncalled for, I can see no reason whatever for believing in such interpositions in the case of natural beings, in which strange and admirable peculiarities have been naturally selected for the creature's own benefit. Imagine a Pouter in a state of nature wading into the water and then, being buoyed up by its inflated crop, sailing about in search of food. What admiration this would have excited--adaptation to the laws of hydrostatic pressure, etc. etc. For the life of me I cannot see any difficulty in natural selection producing the most exquisite structure, IF SUCH STRUCTURE CAN BE ARRIVED AT BY GRADATION, and I know from experience how hard it is to name any structure towards which at least some gradations are not known.

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II Page 46

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book