By Jove, if he sticks to us, he will be a real hero. Good-night. Your well- quizzed, but not sorrowful, and affectionate friend.

C.D.

I can see there has been some queer tampering with the Review, for a page has been cut out and reprinted.

[Writing on July 22 to Dr. Asa Gray my father thus refers to Lyell's position:--

"Considering his age, his former views and position in society, I think his conduct has been heroic on this subject."]

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. [Hartfield, Sussex] July 22nd [1860].

My dear Gray,

Owing to absence from home at water-cure and then having to move my sick girl to whence I am now writing, I have only lately read the discussion in Proc. American Acad. (April 10, 1860. Dr. Gray criticised in detail "several of the positions taken at the preceding meeting by Mr. [J.A.] Lowell, Prof. Bowen and Prof. Agassiz." It was reprinted in the "Athenaeum", August 4, 1860.), and now I cannot resist expressing my sincere admiration of your most clear powers of reasoning. As Hooker lately said in a note to me, you are more than ANY ONE else the thorough master of the subject. I declare that you know my book as well as I do myself; and bring to the question new lines of illustration and argument in a manner which excites my astonishment and almost my envy! I admire these discussions, I think, almost more than your article in Silliman's Journal. Every single word seems weighed carefully, and tells like a 32-pound shot. It makes me much wish (but I know that you have not time) that you could write more in detail, and give, for instance, the facts on the variability of the American wild fruits. The "Athenaeum" has the largest circulation, and I have sent my copy to the editor with a request that he would republish the first discussion; I much fear he will not, as he reviewed the subject in so hostile a spirit...I shall be curious [to see] and will order the August number, as soon as I know that it contains your review of Reviews. My conclusion is that you have made a mistake in being a botanist, you ought to have been a lawyer.

...Henslow (Professor Henslow was mentioned in the December number of 'Macmillan's Magazine' as being an adherent of Evolution. In consequence of this he published, in the February number of the following year, a letter defining his position. This he did by means of an extract from a letter addressed to him by the Rev. L. Jenyns (Blomefield) which "very nearly," as he says, expressed his views. Mr. Blomefield wrote, "I was not aware that you had become a convert to his (Darwin's) theory, and can hardly suppose you have accepted it as a whole, though, like myself, you may go to the length of imagining that many of the smaller groups, both of animals and plants, may at some remote period have had a common parentage. I do not with some say that the whole of his theory cannot be true--but that it is very far from proved; and I doubt its ever being possible to prove it.") and Daubeny are shaken. I hear from Hooker that he hears from Hochstetter that my views are making very considerable progress in Germany, and the good workers are discussing the question. Bronn at the end of his translation has a chapter of criticism, but it is such difficult German that I have not yet read it. Hopkins's review in 'Fraser' is thought the best which has appeared against us. I believe that Hopkins is so much opposed because his course of study has never led him to reflect much on such subjects as geographical distribution, classification, homologies, etc., so that he does not feel it a relief to have some kind of explanation.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Hartfield [Sussex], July 30th [1860].

...I had lots of pleasant letters about the British Association, and our side seems to have got on very well. There has been as much discussion on the other side of the Atlantic as on this. No one I think understands the whole case better than Asa Gray, and he has been fighting nobly. He is a capital reasoner. I have sent one of his printed discussions to our "Athenaeum", and the editor says he will print it.

The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume II Page 57

19th Century English Literature

Charles Darwin

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

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book