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Letter 2528

Darwin, C. R. to Jenyns, Leonard

13 Nov [1859]

    Summary Add

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    Invites criticisms of his book [Origin] which is "only an abstract & very much condensed". Knows LJ will not agree with the lengths to which CD goes. It took long years to convert CD, but he cannot persuade himself "that a theory which explains … several large classes of facts, can be wholly wrong".

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    Hopes to publish his full MS if he ever gets strong enough.


Wells Terrace | Ilkley, Otley | Yorkshire

Nov. 13th

My dear Jenyns

I must thank you for your very kind note forwarded to me from Down.— I have been much out of health this summer & have been hydropathising here, for last six weeks with very little good as yet.— I shall stay here for another fortnight at least.

Please remember that my Book is only an abstract & very much condensed & to be at all intelligible must be carefully read. I shall be very grateful for any criticisms. But I know perfectly well that you will not at all agree with the lengths which I go. It took long years to convert me.— I may of course be egregiously wrong; but I cannot persuade myself that a theory which explains (as I think it certainly does) several large classes of facts, can be wholly wrong; notwithstanding the several difficulties which have to be surmounted somehow, & which stagger me even to this day.

I wish that my health had allowed me to publish in extenso; if I ever get strong enough I will do so, as the greater part is written out, & of which M.S. the present volume is an abstract.—

I fear this note will be almost illegible; but I am poorly & can hardly sit up.

Farewell with thanks for your kind note & pleasant remembrances of good old days | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2528.f1
    Jenyns's note has not been found. From CD's letter, it appears that he had informed Jenyns that a copy of Origin would be sent to him shortly.
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    f2 2528.f2
    CD and Jenyns had discussed the transmutation of species as early as 1844 (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Leonard Jenyns, 25 [November 1844]). Jenyns was interested in the subject, having published a short paper on the variation of species (Jenyns 1856). He sent his notes on variation to CD early in 1858 (see letters to Leonard Jenyns, 18 April [1858] and [28 April 1858]).
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