Has had a report on Oxford BAAS meeting from Hooker. Asks THH to write about it. Has heard he fought nobly with Owen and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce. Regrets trouble he has caused his friends.
Sudbrook Park | Richmond | (I return to Down on Saturday)
My dear Huxley
I have been water-curing here for a few days at first with very little success, but now with better hope; for I was quite worn out by anxiety about my girl & my stomach had got into dreadful state. My girl is a little better & I hope this day was moved first stage from home.
I had letter from Oxford written by Hooker late on Sunday night, giving me some account
of the awful battles which have raged about ``species'' at Oxford. He tells me you
fought nobly with Owen, (but I have heard no particulars) & that you answered
the B. of O. capitally.— I often
think that my friends (& you far beyond others) have good cause to hate me, for
having stirred up so much mud, & led them into so much odious
trouble.— If I had been a friend of myself, I should have hated me. (how to
make that sentence good English I know not.) But remember if I had not stirred up the
mud some one else certainly soon would.— I honour your pluck; I would as soon
have died as tried to answer the Bishop in such an assembly. Was Owen very blackguard?
H. says that the Bishop turned me into ridicule & was very savage
against you.— I hardly like to ask you to write, for I know how
you are overworked; but I sh
I can now see (which I did not at first) how very important the few early favourable reviews were.— Have you seen Hopkins in last Fraser: it is well done & good spirit shown, (except about the soul) but nothing new; the weak points are well put.— I have attacked him in letter for saying that I base my view on the difficulties of the subject; & for ignoring the fertility of some hybrids. & infertility of the Verbascum & Tobacco vars.—
I fancy from what Hooker says he must have answered the Bishop well.— God knows, I honour & thank you both.
Ever yours | C.D.
- f1 2854.f1CD was at Sudbrook Park hydropathic establishment from 28 June to 7 July 1860 (`Journal'; Appendix II).
- f2 2854.f2Emma Darwin recorded in her diary that she and the children left for Hartfield on 3 July 1860.
- f3 2854.f3See letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 July 1860. CD refers to Richard Owen and Samuel Wilberforce, the bishop of Oxford, both of whom attacked Origin at separate sessions at the Oxford meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. See Appendix VI.
- f4 2854.f4In the second part of his review of Origin published in Fraser's Magazine (Hopkins 1860), William Hopkins discussed the religious implications of CD's theory.
- f5 2854.f5e believe that man has an immortal soul, and that the beasts of the field have not. If any one deny this, we can have no common ground of argument with him. Now we would ask, at what point of his progressive improvement did man acquire this spiritual part of his being, endowed with the awful attribute of immortality? Was it an ``accidental variety'' seized upon by the power of ``natural selection'' and made permanent?` (Hopkins 1860, 62: 88).
- f6 2854.f6CD's letter to Hopkins has not been found. See also letter to Asa Gray, 3 July .