Responds to comments on geology of Florida.
Discusses coral reefs and paper by John Murray ["On the structure and origin of coral reefs and islands", Proc. R. Soc. Edinburgh 10 (1880): 505–18].
Comments on AA's paper ["Paleontological and embryological development", Proc. Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci. 29 (1880): 389–414].
Down | Beckenham Kent
My dear Mr Agassiz.
It was very good of you to write to me from Tortugas, as I always feel much interested in hearing what you are about, and in reading your many discoveries— It is a surprising fact that the penninsula of Florida should have remained at the same level for the immense period requisite for the accumulation of so vast a pile of debris—
You will have seen M
Pray—forgive me troubling you at such length,. but it has occurred to me
that you might be disposed to give after your wide experience, your
judgment. If I am wrong, the sooner I am knocked on the head and
annihilated so much the better. It still seems to me a marvellous thing
that there should not have been much & long continued subsidence in
the beds of the great oceans.— I wish that some doubly rich millionaire
would take it into his head to have borings made in some of the
Pacific and Indian Atolls; and bring home cores for slicing from
a depth of 500 or 600 feet. Believe me my dear M
Yours very sincerely— | Charles Darwin.
P.S. I read with much interest your address, before Am: Soc: Adv: of Sc: However true your remarks on the genealogies of the several groups may be, I hope & believe that you have overestimated the difficulties to be encountered in the future.— A few days after reading your address, I interpreted to myself your remarks on one point (I hope in some degree correctly.) in the following fashion.
``Any character of an ancient generalised or intermediate form
may & often does reappear in its descendants after countless
generations & this explains, the extraordinarily complicated
affinities of existing groups''. This idea seems to me to throw a flood of light on the lines, sometimes used to represent affinities, which radiate in all directions, often to very distant sub-groups.—A difficulty which has haunted me for half a century— A strong case could be made out in favour of believing in such reversion or ??version after immense intervals of time— I wish the idea had been put into my head in old days— for I shall never again write on difficult subjects as I have seen too many cases of old men becoming feeble in their minds, without being in the least conscious of it— If I have interpreted your ideas at all correctly I hope that you will reurge on any fitting occasion your view— I have mentioned it to a few persons, capable of judging and it seemed quite new to them— I beg you to forgive the proverbial garrulity of old age.