Expresses pleasure and relief at ARW's response to joint publication of their pieces about natural selection.
Plans for the "abstract" [Origin].
Birds' nests as evidence of variation of instincts.
Their collection of bees' combs.
Praises ARW's article.
Lyell's and Hooker's views [of species issue].
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I was extremely much pleased at receiving three days ago your letter to me &
that to D
I sent off, by same address as this note, a copy of Journal of Linn. Soc. &
subsequently I have sent some
I am glad to hear that you have been attending to Bird's nest; I have done so, though almost exclusively under one point of view, viz to show that instincts vary, so that selection could work on & improve them. Few other instincts, so to speak, can be preserved in a museum—
Many thanks for your offer to look after Horses stripes; if there are any Donkey's pray add them.—
I am delighted to hear that you have collected Bees' combs; when next in
London I will enquire of F. Smith & M
Everyone whom I have seen has thought your paper very well written & interesting. It puts my extracts, (written in 1839 now just 20 years ago!) which I must say in apology were never for an instant intended for publication, in the shade.
You ask about Lyell's frame of mind. I think he is somewhat staggered, but
does not give in, & speaks with horror often to me, of what a thing it would be
& what a job it would be for the next Edition of Principles, if he were
“perverted”.— But he is most candid &
honest & I think will end by being perverted.—
Most cordially do I wish you health & entire success in all your pursuits & God knows if admirable zeal & energy deserve success, most amply do you deserve it.
I look at my own career as nearly run out: if I can publish my abstract & perhaps my greater work on same subject, I shall look at my course as done.
Believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 2405.f1The year is given by the relationship to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 January , and to the letter from A. R. Wallace to J. D. Hooker, 6 October 1858.
- f2 2405.f2See letter to J. D. Hooker, 23 January .
- f3 2405.f3CD was working on his material on geographical distribution, which eventually formed chapters 11 and 12 of Origin. CD's journal entries of 15 January 1859 (‘Abstract. Geograph.: Distr:’) and of 28 February 1859 (‘Affinities & Classification’) (‘Journal’; Appendix II) record him beginning work on these chapters, as indicated by subsequent correspondence (see following letter and letters to T. H. Huxley, 8 March , and to J. D. Hooker, 15 March ).
- f4 2405.f4CD refers to Wallace's view that ‘no inferences as to varieties in a state of nature can be deduced from the observation of those occurring among domestic animals.’ According to Wallace, artificial and natural selection ‘are so much opposed to each other in every circumstance of their existence, that what applies to the one is almost sure not to apply to the other.’ (Darwin and Wallace 1858,p. 61; see also Appendix IV).
- f5 2405.f5Darwin and Wallace 1858 was published in the zoological part of the Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society.
- f6 2405.f6Joseph Barnard Davis was the author of Crania Britannica (1856–65), a study of the anatomy of the early inhabitants of the British Isles.
- f7 2405.f7CD's notes on the nest-building instincts of birds are in DAR 205.11. He discussed the subject at length in Natural selection, pp. 498–506, but simply mentioned variation in birds' nests in Origin,p. 212. See also letters to W. D. Fox, 14 January  and 31 January .
- f8 2405.f8CD refers to Frederick Smith, entomologist at the British Museum, and William Wilson Saunders, a founding member and twice president of the Entomological Society. Saunders had communicated a paper to the Linnean Society on 3 December 1858 in which Smith described an important collection of hymenopterous insects made by Wallace in the Aru and Key islands (F. Smith 1859).
- f9 2405.f9Wallace apparently did send CD specimens of bees. A label in CD's hand on a specimen box now on display in his old study in Down House reads: ‘Bees: Timor Wallace of which I have Comb’.
- f10 2405.f10See letter from J. D. Hooker and Charles Lyell to the Linnean Society, 30 June 1858, n. 4.
- f11 2405.f11CD intended to publish an expanded version of his theory, with full notes and sources, after his ‘abstract’ was issued in 1859. This plan was only partially completed with the publication of Variation (1868).