But for whatever Lindley is proposed, I will do my best. We will talk this over here.

LETTER 45. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, May 9th [1856].

...With respect to Huxley, I was on the point of speaking to Crawford and Strezlecki (who will be on Committee of the Athenaeum) when I bethought me of how Owen would look and what he would say. Cannot you fancy him, with slow and gentle voice, asking "Will Mr. Crawford tell me what Mr. Huxley has done, deserving this honour; I only know that he differs from, and disputes the authority of Cuvier, Ehrenberg, and Agassiz as of no weight at all." And when I began to tell Mr. Crawford what to say, I was puzzled, and could refer him only to some excellent papers in the "Phil. Trans." for which the medal had been awarded. But I doubt, with an opposing faction, whether this would be considered enough, for I believe real scientific merit is not thought enough, without the person is generally well known. Now I want to hear what you deliberately think on this head: it would be bad to get him proposed and then rejected; and Owen is very powerful.

LETTER 46. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down [1856].

I have got the Lectures, and have read them. (46/1. The reference is presumably to the Royal Institution Lectures given in 1854-56. Those which we have seen--namely, those reprinted in the "Scientific Memoirs," Volume I.--"On the Common Plan of Animal Form," page 281; "On certain Zoological Arguments, etc." page 300; "On Natural History as Knowledge, Discipline, and Power," page 305, do not seem to us to contain anything likely to offend; but Falconer's attack in the "Ann. and Mag. of Nat. Hist." June 1856, on the last-named lecture, shows strong feeling. A reply by Mr. Huxley appeared in the July number of the same Journal. The most heretical discussion from a modern standpoint is at page 311, where he asks how it is conceivable that the bright colours of butterflies and shells or the elegant forms of Foraminifera can possibly be of service to their possessors; and it is this which especially struck Darwin, judging by the pencil notes on his copy of the Lecture.) Though I believe, as far as my knowledge goes, that Huxley is right, yet I think his tone very much too vehement, and I have ventured to say so in a note to Huxley. I had not thought of these lectures in relation to the Athenaeum (46/2. Mr. Huxley was in 1858 elected to the Athenaeum Club under Rule 2, which provides for the annual election of "a certain number of persons of distinguished eminence in science, literature, or the arts, or for public services."), but I am inclined quite to agree with you, and that we had better pause before anything is said...(N.B. I found Falconer very indignant at the manner in which Huxley treated Cuvier in his Royal Institution lectures; and I have gently told Huxley so.) I think we had better do nothing: to try in earnest to get a great naturalist into the Athenaeum and fail, is far worse than doing nothing.

How strange, funny, and disgraceful that nearly all (Faraday and Sir J. Herschel at least exceptions) our great men are in quarrels in couplets; it never struck me before...


(47/1. In the "Life and Letters," II., page 72, is given a letter (June 16th, 1856) to Lyell, in which Darwin exhales his indignation over the "extensionists" who created continents ad libitum to suit the convenience of their theories. On page 74 a fuller statement of his views is given in a letter dated June 25th. We have not seen Lyell's reply to this, but his reply to Darwin's letter of June 16th is extant, and is here printed for the first time.)

53, Harley Street, London, June 17th, 1856.

I wonder you did not also mention D. Sharpe's paper (47/2. "On the Last Elevation of the Alps, etc." ("Quart. Journ. Geol. Soc." Volume XII., 1856, page 102.), just published, by which the Alps were submerged as far as 9,000 feet of their present elevation above the sea in the Glacial period and then since uplifted again.

Charles Darwin

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