Remember it is only an abstract, and very much condensed. God knows what the public will think. No one has read it, except Lyell, with whom I have had much correspondence. Hooker thinks him a complete convert, but he does not seem so in his letters to me; but is evidently deeply interested in the subject. I do not think your share in the theory will be overlooked by the real judges, as Hooker, Lyell, Asa Gray, etc. I have heard from Mr. Slater that your paper on the Malay Archipelago has been read at the Linnean Society, and that he was EXTREMELY much interested by it.

I have not seen one naturalist for six or nine months, owing to the state of my health, and therefore I really have no news to tell you. I am writing this at Ilkley Wells, where I have been with my family for the last six weeks, and shall stay for some few weeks longer. As yet I have profited very little. God knows when I shall have strength for my bigger book.

I sincerely hope that you keep your health; I suppose that you will be thinking of returning (Mr. Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago.) soon with your magnificent collections, and still grander mental materials. You will be puzzled how to publish. The Royal Society fund will be worth your consideration. With every good wish, pray believe me,

Yours very sincerely, CHARLES DARWIN.

P.S. I think that I told you before that Hooker is a complete convert. If I can convert Huxley I shall be content.

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.D. FOX. Ilkley, Yorkshire, Wednesday [November 16th, 1859].

...I like the place very much, and the children have enjoyed it much, and it has done my wife good. It did H. good at first, but she has gone back again. I have had a series of calamities; first a sprained ankle, and then a badly swollen whole leg and face, much rash, and a frightful succession of boils--four or five at once. I have felt quite ill, and have little faith in this "unique crisis," as the doctor calls it, doing me much good...You will probably have received, or will very soon receive, my weariful book on species, I naturally believe it mainly includes the truth, but you will not at all agree with me. Dr. Hooker, whom I consider one of the best judges in Europe, is a complete convert, and he thinks Lyell is likewise; certainly, judging from Lyell's letters to me on the subject, he is deeply staggered. Farewell. If the spirit moves you, let me have a line...

CHARLES DARWIN TO W.B. CARPENTER. Ilkley, Yorkshire, November 18th [1859].

My dear Carpenter,

I must thank you for your letter on my own account, and if I know myself, still more warmly for the subject's sake. As you seem to have understood my last chapter without reading the previous chapters, you must have maturely and most profoundly self-thought out the subject; for I have found the most extraordinary difficulty in making even able men understand at what I was driving. There will be strong opposition to my views. If I am in the main right (of course including partial errors unseen by me), the admission in my views will depend far more on men, like yourself, with well-established reputations, than on my own writings. Therefore, on the supposition that when you have read my volume you think the view in the main true, I thank and honour you for being willing to run the chance of unpopularity by advocating the view. I know not in the least whether any one will review me in any of the Reviews. I do not see how an author could enquire or interfere; but if you are willing to review me anywhere, I am sure from the admiration which I have long felt and expressed for your 'Comparative Physiology,' that your review will be excellently done, and will do good service in the cause for which I think I am not selfishly deeply interested. I am feeling very unwell to-day, and this note is badly, perhaps hardly intelligibly, expressed; but you must excuse me, for I could not let a post pass, without thanking you for your note. You will have a tough job even to shake in the slightest degree Sir H.

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book