As far as my experience goes, improvements are never perfection. I am very sorry to hear that you are still so very busy, and have so much work. And now for the main purport of my note, which is to ask and beg you and Mrs. Hooker (whom it is really an age since I have seen), and all your children, if you like, to come and spend a week here. It would be a great pleasure to me and to my wife...As far as we can see, we shall be at home all the winter; and all times probably would be equally convenient; but if you can, do not put it off very late, as it may slip through. Think of this and persuade Mrs. Hooker, and be a good man and come.

Farewell, my kind and dear friend, Yours affectionately, C. DARWIN.

P.S.--I shall be very curious to hear what you think of my discussion on Classification in Chapter XIII.; I believe Huxley demurs to the whole, and says he has nailed his colours to the mast, and I would sooner die than give up; so that we are in as fine a frame of mind to discuss the point as any two religionists.

Embryology is my pet bit in my book, and, confound my friends, not one has noticed this to me.

CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, December 21st [1859].

My dear Gray,

I have just received your most kind, long, and valuable letter. I will write again in a few days, for I am at present unwell and much pressed with business: to-day's note is merely personal. I should, for several reasons, be very glad of an American Edition. I have made up my mind to be well abused; but I think it of importance that my notions should be read by intelligent men, accustomed to scientific argument, though NOT naturalists. It may seem absurd, but I think such men will drag after them those naturalists who have too firmly fixed in their heads that a species is an entity. The first edition of 1250 copies was sold on the first day, and now my publisher is printing off, as RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE, 3000 more copies. I mention this solely because it renders probable a remunerative sale in America. I should be infinitely obliged if you could aid an American reprint; and could make, for my sake and the publisher's, any arrangement for any profit. The new edition is only a reprint, yet I have made a FEW important corrections. I will have the clean sheets sent over in a few days of as many sheets as are printed off, and the remainder afterwards, and you can do anything you like,--if nothing, there is no harm done. I should be glad for the new edition to be reprinted and not the old.--In great haste, and with hearty thanks,

Yours very sincerely, C. DARWIN.

I will write soon again.

CHARLES DARWIN TO C. LYELL. Down, 22nd [December, 1859].

My dear Lyell, Thanks about "Bears" (See 'Origin,' edition i., page 184.), a word of ill- omen to me.

I am too unwell to leave home, so shall not see you.

I am very glad of your remarks on Hooker. (Sir C. Lyell wrote to Sir J.D. Hooker, December 19, 1859 ('Life,' ii. page 327): "I have just finished the reading of your splendid Essay [the 'Flora of Australia'] on the origin of species, as illustrated by your wide botanical experience, and think it goes very far to raise the variety-making hypothesis to the rank of a theory, as accounting for the manner in which new species enter the world.") I have not yet got the essay. The parts which I read in sheets seemed to me grand, especially the generalization about the Australian flora itself. How superior to Robert Brown's celebrated essay! I have not seen Naudin's paper ('Revue Horticole,' 1852. See historical Sketch in the later editions of the 'Origin of Species.'), and shall not be able till I hunt the libraries. I am very anxious to see it. Decaisne seems to think he gives my whole theory. I do not know when I shall have time and strength to grapple with Hooker...

P.S.--I have heard from Sir W. Jardine (Jardine, Sir William, Bart., 1800- 1874, was the son of Sir A. Jardine of Applegarth, Dumfriesshire. He was educated at Edinburgh, and succeeded to the title on his father's decease in 1821.

Charles Darwin

All Pages of This Book