How splendidly Asa Gray is fighting the battle. The effect on me of these multiplied attacks is simply to show me that the subject is worth fighting for, and assuredly I will do my best...I hope all the attacks make you keep up your courage, and courage you assuredly will require...
CHARLES DARWIN TO A.R. WALLACE. Down, May 18th, 1860.
My dear Mr. Wallace,
I received this morning your letter from Amboyna, dated February 16th, containing some remarks and your too high approval of my book. Your letter has pleased me very much, and I most completely agree with you on the parts which are strongest and which are weakest. The imperfection of the Geological Record is, as you say, the weakest of all; but yet I am pleased to find that there are almost more geological converts than of pursuers of other branches of natural science...I think geologists are more easily converted than simple naturalists, because more accustomed to reasoning. Before telling you about the progress of opinion on the subject, you must let me say how I admire the generous manner in which you speak of my book. Most persons would in your position have felt some envy or jealousy. How nobly free you seem to be of this common failing of mankind. But you speak far too modestly of yourself. You would, if you had my leisure, have done the work just as well, perhaps better, than I have done it...
...Agassiz sends me a personal civil message, but incessantly attacks me; but Asa Gray fights like a hero in defence. Lyell keeps as firm as a tower, and this Autumn will publish on the 'Geological History of Man,' and will then declare his conversion, which now is universally known. I hope that you have received Hooker's splendid essay...Yesterday I heard from Lyell that a German, Dr. Schaaffhausen (Hermann Schaaffhausen 'Ueber Bestandigkeit und Umwandlung der Arten.' Verhandl. d. Naturhist. Vereins, Bonn, 1853. See 'Origin,' Historical Sketch.), has sent him a pamphlet published some years ago, in which the same view is nearly anticipated; but I have not yet seen this pamphlet. My brother, who is a very sagacious man, always said, "you will find that some one will have been before you." I am at work at my larger work, which I shall publish in a separate volume. But from ill-health and swarms of letters, I get on very very slowly. I hope that I shall not have wearied you with these details. With sincere thanks for your letter, and with most deeply felt wishes for your success in science, and in every way, believe me,
Your sincere well-wisher, C. DARWIN.
CHARLES DARWIN TO ASA GRAY. Down, May 22nd 1860.
My dear Gray,
Again I have to thank you for one of your very pleasant letters of May 7th, enclosing a very pleasant remittance of 22 pounds. I am in simple truth astonished at all the kind trouble you have taken for me. I return Appleton's account. For the chance of your wishing for a formal acknowledgment I send one. If you have any further communication to the Appletons, pray express my acknowledgment for [their] generosity; for it is generosity in my opinion. I am not at all surprised at the sale diminishing; my extreme surprise is at the greatness of the sale. No doubt the public has been SHAMEFULLY imposed on! for they bought the book thinking that it would be nice easy reading. I expect the sale to stop soon in England, yet Lyell wrote to me the other day that calling at Murray's he heard that fifty copies had gone in the previous forty-eight hours. I am extremely glad that you will notice in 'Silliman' the additions in the 'Origin.' Judging from letters (and I have just seen one from Thwaites to Hooker), and from remarks, the most serious omission in my book was not explaining how it is, as I believe, that all forms do not necessarily advance, how there can now be SIMPLE organisms still existing...I hear there is a VERY severe review on me in the 'North British,' by a Rev. Mr. Dunns (This statement as to authorship was made on the authority of Robert Chambers.), a Free Kirk minister, and dabbler in Natural History.