We should, however, always remember that no change will ever be effected till a variation in the habits or structure or of both CHANCE to occur in the right direction, so as to give the organism in question an advantage over other already established occupants of land or water, and this may be in any particular case indefinitely long. I am very glad you will read my dogs MS., for it will be important to me to see what you think of the balance of evidence. After long pondering on a subject it is often hard to judge. With hearty thanks for your most interesting letter. Farewell.
My dear old master, C. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, September 2nd .
My dear Hooker,
I am astounded at your news received this morning. I am become such an old fogy that I am amazed at your spirit. For God's sake do not go and get your throat cut. Bless my soul, I think you must be a little insane. I must confess it will be a most interesting tour; and, if you get to the top of Lebanon, I suppose extremely interesting--you ought to collect any beetles under stones there; but the Entomologists are such slow coaches. I dare say no result could be made out of them. [They] have never worked the Alpines of Britain.
If you come across any Brine lakes, do attend to their minute flora and fauna; I have often been surprised how little this has been attended to.
I have had a long letter from Lyell, who starts ingenious difficulties opposed to Natural Selection, because it has not done more than it has. This is very good, as it shows that he has thoroughly mastered the subject; and shows he is in earnest. Very striking letter altogether and it rejoices the cockles of my heart.
...How I shall miss you, my best and kindest of friends. God bless you.
Yours ever affectionately, C. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, September 10 .
...You will be weary of my praise, but it (Dr. Gray in the 'Atlantic Monthly' for July, 1860.) does strike me as quite admirably argued, and so well and pleasantly written. Your many metaphors are inimitably good. I said in a former letter that you were a lawyer, but I made a gross mistake, I am sure that you are a poet. No, by Jove, I will tell you what you are, a hybrid, a complex cross of lawyer, poet, naturalist and theologian! Was there ever such a monster seen before?
I have just looked through the passages which I have marked as appearing to me extra good, but I see that they are too numerous to specify, and this is no exaggeration. My eye just alights on the happy comparison of the colours of the prism and our artificial groups. I see one little error of fossil CATTLE in South America.
It is curious how each one, I suppose, weighs arguments in a different balance: embryology is to me by far the strongest single class of facts in favour of change of forms, and not one, I think, of my reviewers has alluded to this. Variation not coming on at a very early age, and being inherited at not a very early corresponding period, explains, as it seems to me, the grandest of all facts in natural history, or rather in zoology, viz. the resemblance of embryos.
[Dr. Gray wrote three articles in the 'Atlantic Monthly' for July, August, and October, which were reprinted as a pamphlet in 1861, and now form chapter iii. in 'Darwiniana' (1876), with the heading 'Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.']
CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL Down, September 12th .
My dear Lyell,
I never thought of showing your letter to any one. I mentioned in a letter to Hooker that I had been much interested by a letter of yours with original objections, founded chiefly on Natural Selection not having done so much as might have been expected...In your letter just received, you have improved your case versus Natural Selection; and it would tell with the public (do not be tempted by its novelty to make it too strong); yet is seems to me, not REALLY very killing, though I cannot answer your case, especially, why Rodents have not become highly developed in Australia.