Has just finished Origin. CD has demonstrated a true cause for the production of species.
CD has loaded himself with unnecessary difficulty in adopting natura non facit saltum.
My dear Darwin
I finished your book yesterday a lucky examination having furnished me with a few hours of continuous leisure—
Since I read Von Bär's Essays nine years ago no work on Natural History Science I have met with has made so great an impression upon me & I do most heartily thank you for the great store of new views you have given me
Nothing I think can be better than the tone of the book—it impresses those who know nothing about the subject—
As for your doctrines I am prepared to go to the Stake if requisite in support of Chap. IX. & most part of Chaps. X, XI XII & Chap XIII
As to the first four chapters I agree thoroughly & fully with all the principles laid down in them— I think you have demonstrated a true cause for the production of species & have thrown the onus probandi that species did not arise in the way you suppose on your adversaries—
But I feel that I have not yet by any means fully realized the bearings of those most remarkable & original Chapt III IV & V and I will write no more about them just now—
The only objections that have occurred to me are 1
However, I must read the book two or three times more before I presume to begin picking holes—
I trust you will not allow yourself to be in any way disgusted or annoyed by the considerable abuse & misrepresentation which unless I greatly mistake is in store for you— Depend upon it you have earned the lasting gratitude of all thoughtful men— And as to the curs which will bark & yelp—you must recollect that some of your friends at any rate are endowed with an amount of combativeness which (though you have often & justly rebuked it) may stand you in good stead—
I am sharpening up my claws & beak in readiness
Looking back over my letter it really expresses so feebly all I think about you & your noble book that I am half ashamed of it—but you will understand that like the Parrot in the story ‘I think the more’
Ever yours faithfully | T H Huxley
- f1 2544.f1In 1853, Huxley published an English translation of selections from two of Karl Ernst von Baer's works, including Scholion V of his Ueber die Entwickelungsgeschichte der Thiere (1828) ([T. H. Huxley] trans. 1853). For Huxley's indebtedness to von Baer's embryological interpretation of the type concept, see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 163 and di Gregorio 1984, pp. 26–34.
- f2 2544.f2CD had criticised Huxley for his attacks on distinguished naturalists (Correspondence vol. 6, letters to J. D. Hooker 9 May  and 21 [May 1856]). See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 25 November .
- f3 2544.f3The story has not been identified. Stevenson's book of quotations, classical and modern gives George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1640) as the source of ‘Say nothing but think the more.’