Darwin would be one of the last to refuse to any one prepared to exercise it with candour and courtesy." Speaking of this review, my father wrote to Dr. Asa Gray: "I have remonstrated with him [Hopkins] for so coolly saying that I base my views on what I reckon as great difficulties. Any one, by taking these difficulties alone, can make a most strong case against me. I could myself write a more damning review than has as yet appeared!" A second notice by Hopkins appeared in the July number of 'Fraser's Magazine.') On his standard of proof, NATURAL science would never progress, for without the making of theories I am convinced there would be no observation.
...I have begun reading the 'North British' (May 1860.), which so far strikes me as clever.
Phillips's Lecture at Cambridge is to be published.
All these reiterated attacks will tell heavily; there will be no more converts, and probably some will go back. I hope you do not grow disheartened, I am determined to fight to the last. I hear, however, that the great Buckle highly approves of my book.
I have had a note from poor Blyth (Edward Blyth, 1810-1873. His indomitable love of natural history made him neglect the druggist's business with which he started in life, and he soon got into serious difficulties. After supporting himself for a few years as a writer on Field Natural History, he ultimately went out to India as Curator of the Museum of the R. Asiatic Soc. of Bengal, where the greater part of his working life was spent. His chief publications were the monthly reports made as part of his duty to the Society. He had stored in his remarkable memory a wonderful wealth of knowledge, especially with regard to the mammalia and birds of India--knowledge of which he freely gave to those who asked. His letters to my father give evidence of having been carefully studied, and the long list of entries after his name in the index to 'Animals and Plants,' show how much help was received from him. His life was an unprosperous and unhappy one, full of money difficulties and darkened by the death of his wife after a few years of marriage.), of Calcutta, who is much disappointed at hearing that Lord Canning will not grant any money; so I much fear that all your great pains will be thrown away. Blyth says (and he is in many respects a very good judge) that his ideas on species are quite revolutionised...
CHARLES DARWIN TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, June 5th .
My dear Hooker,
It is a pleasure to me to write to you, as I have no one to talk about such matters as we write on. But I seriously beg you not to write to me unless so inclined; for busy as you are, and seeing many people, the case is very different between us...
Have you seen --'s abusive article on me?...It out does even the 'North British' and 'Edinburgh' in misapprehension and misrepresentation. I never knew anything so unfair as in discussing cells of bees, his ignoring the case of Melipona, which builds combs almost exactly intermediate between hive and humble bees. What has -- done that he feels so immeasurably superior to all us wretched naturalists, and to all political economists, including that great philosopher Malthus? This review, however, and Harvey's letter have convinced me that I must be a very bad explainer. Neither really understand what I mean by Natural Selection. I am inclined to give up the attempt as hopeless. Those who do not understand, it seems, cannot be made to understand.
By the way, I think, we entirely agree, except perhaps that I use too forcible language about selection. I entirely agree, indeed would almost go further than you when you say that climate (i.e. variability from all unknown causes) is "an active handmaid, influencing its mistress most materially." Indeed, I have never hinted that Natural Selection is "the efficient cause to the exclusion of the other," i.e. variability from Climate, etc. The very term SELECTION implies something, i.e. variation or difference, to be selected...
How does your book progress (I mean your general sort of book on plants), I hope to God you will be more successful than I have been in making people understand your meaning.