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Letter 10821

Graham, C. C. to Darwin, C. R.

30 Jan 1877


He has defended Tyndall, CD, and others against attacks of a clergyman.


Office of | Public Library | and | Festival Halls, | Louisville, Ky.

January 30th, 1877.

As a convert to your doctrine and a defender of the faith against the subjects of Louisville, I take the liberty of droping you a line, and of sending you my little Book.f1 The clergy, in this country, commenced a tirade upon modern scientists, and one of their ablest, said he would bring to shame the whole batch, and after annihilating Prof. John Tyndall, he would expose the heresy of Darwin, Huxly and Spencer; and his positions were so ridiculously unscientific, that I, in the judgement of sound thinkers in Louisville, annihilated him.f2 I sent to Prof. Tyndall one of my numbers, and he thought so well of it as to let me know he had received it, and I have his letter fraimed, to be seen in the Kentucky Museum, (Graham-Museum so called, becaus I bestowed it upon the Public Library,) and I am anxious to get a letter from you for the same purpose. I aim to get five letters only, from yourself, Tyndall, Huxley, Spencer and Draper,f3 of our own country, which I purpose to have separately framed, and then inclosed in a large splendid frame, for our Museum and cabinet of Natural History, where I hope it may remain for centuries to come, by which time science will have gained the victory over ignorance and superstition.— Your Book has had a large circulation in Kentucky, and if I had any of my numbers of its defence on hand, I would send them to you.f4 Should you write, and I hope you may, let it be on one side only, of about the size of the smaller sheet, here inclosed, so that it can be framed.f5 I have one of the finest collections in the united states, the product of seventy years search throughout america, north and south, mostly fossils to which we have added the great QQQQ Cabinet of minerals, (at the cost of twentyfive thousand dollars) said to be superior to HumboldtsQQQQ in QQQQ.f6

Supposing you may say, who are you thus boring me with your long letters, I will say, I am not John the baptist from the wilderness of locusts and wild honey and girdled about with leather, but one from the far wilderness of the far west of cows, opossums, wild beasts and savage forms, who not only girdled but dressed in leather. And now, I will say, my history has been published in full in the Histories of Kentucky, and the last devotes 60 pages to it and three pages to that of Mr. Clay, he being simply a politician and I having lived a long, rough and adventurous life.f7

I was born in 1784 amidst the “dark and bloody landf8 parted from savages and wild beasts, and being left an orphan without a friend or a dime in the world, it was to roast pig or die, and better it was for me than to have heired a fortune and a herald of fame, as it threw me upon my own resources, which gave me health, strength and fortune, having retired on some two hundred thousand dollars. I never went to school in my life, and what book knowledge I have, has been acquired at night, never haveing lost one hour from active outdoor exertion through the day; and so far as I have published my thoughts, it has been from pencil notes set down in my various wanderings through the world, it being an illustrated book of nature ever open before me, and my own mind being present day and night, I thought for myself. I have been a soldier of three wars— first in 1812 against your country— secondly in the war of Mexico for independence from her mother country Spain, and thirdly, Jefferson Daviss, (late President of the southern Confederacy,) and myself, were messmates in the Black-hawk Indian war, of 1832.f9 I have been a prisoner twice by Indians, first in Canada, and secondly with the southern Comanchys and ApachesQQQQ, on the borders of Mexico, and was once tied to be burnt.f10 I have spent two winters in Mexico, first during the civil war that dethroned the Emperor Iturbidef11 in 1822, and again in 1852—was on one of the first railroad surveys to California— speculated at ChicagoQQQQ GalenaQQQQ and at the falls of St. Antony—f12 hunted the Moose over in the Adirondac mountains, at the head of the great Hudson of New-York.— In short, I have checkered this continent over and over. I am now in my 93rd year and my hand shakes so that I can with difficulty write, but my muscular strength and health is such that I can walk my 20 miles per day, and feel assured that I shall cast my first century behind me. In giving you a farther knowledge of ego, I—the QQQQ first person, I will say that Governor Bramlette of Kentucky, was a son in law of mine, General AdamsQQQQ of New Orleans also, and the Hon. Joseph Blackburn, a leader now in Congress, from Ashland, Mr. Clay’s district, is anotherf13

If Frederic Peal, son of Sir Robert, is living, he can tell you who I am, as he brought a letter to me from Mr. Clay, and was with me, for a time, at Harrodsburg Springs, when on his way to the Mammoth cave.f14

Your Father’s writings were very popular in my class, when a student of medicine, and I feel assured that he was the very closest and most unerring observer, best of the animal and vegetable kingdoms that ever lived, and his doctrine of the sensorial powers will some day be granted as a mental axiomf15

The reason why writers on the mind have been lost in wandering mazes and found no end, is that they have assumed an non entity, a thing that has no existence—and thus nothing to show its powers. Mind, so called, is a matter of fact, not a cause. You may see that I have crammedQQQQ and cateredQQQQ to you, parlousQQQQ sentiments, in my little book, as we must do, not to shock the faith of others too suddenly.

If you answer, direct to Doct. C. C. Graham, Public Library, Louisville, Kentucky, and if I am lucky with you, I will address Huxly and Spencer. I inclose you my advice to the wrangling parties for the Presidency, written a few days ago.f16

Most sincerely, | C. C. Graham, M. D.

DAR 165: 83–4


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