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Letter 2893

Darwin, C. R. to Huxley, T. H.

8 Aug [1860]

    Summary Add

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    News of K. E. von Baer's support is magnificent – far outweighs Owen and Agassiz. Asks THH to tell Baer that a statement from him would be of utmost value.

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    R. Wagner [in an article on Louis Agassiz's principles of classification, Göttingsche gelehrte Anzeiger (1860) pt 2: 761–800] "goes half way" between Agassiz and Origin.


Down Bromley Kent

Aug 8th

My dear Huxley

Your note contained magnificient news & thank you heartily for sending it me.— Von Baer weighs down with a vengeance all the virulence of Owen & weak arguments of Agassiz. If you write to Von Baer for Heaven sake tell him that we should think one nod of approbation on our side of the greatest value; & if he does write anything beg him to send us a copy; for I would try & get it translated & published in the Athenæum & in Silliman to touch up Agassiz.— By Jove how it would rile Owen! I am getting very spiteful towards that grand Seigneur. The other day he sent me a copy of one of his Reports!!!

Have you seen Agassiz's weak metaphysical & theological attack on the Origin in last Silliman; I would send it you, but apprehend it would be less trouble for you to look at it in London than return it to me.—   R. Wagner has sent me a German Pamphlet, giving an Abstract of Agassiz Essay on Classification ``Mit Rucksicht auf Darwin's Ansichten &c &c''.— He wont go vy ``dangerous lengths'' but thinks the truth lies half way between Agassiz & the Origin.— As he goes thus far he will nolens & volens have to go further. He says he is going to review me in yearly Report.

My good & kind agent for the propagation of the Gospel ie the Devil's gospel.— Ever yours | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2893.f1
    Letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 August 1860.
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    f2 2893.f2
    See letter to T. H. Huxley, 2 December [1860].
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    f3 2893.f3
    R. Owen 1859b. See preceding letter.
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    f4 2893.f4
    Louis Agassiz reviewed Origin in the American Journal of Science and Arts, popularly known as `Silliman's journal' after the founding editor Benjamin Silliman. There is an annotated copy of the review (Agassiz 1860) in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL, presented to CD by Benjamin Silliman Jr. Agassiz's critique was drawn from a discussion of the species question in his forthcoming third volume of Contributions to the natural history of the United States (Agassiz 1857--62).
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    f5 2893.f5
    Wagner 1860b. A separately paginated offprint of the article, which was first published in the G¨ottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. In the article, Rudolph Wagner discussed points relating to the species question brought forward by Agassiz in the first volume of Agassiz 1857--62, reprinted separately as Agassiz 1859. Wagner received a letter from CD in response to his pamphlet, a passage from which Wagner later published (Wagner 1862, p. 167): `Although You are far from agreeing with me I thank You by heart for the liberal and most kind way in which You allude to it. All that I can hope and expect is, that my views should be fairly considered'.
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    f6 2893.f6
    Wagner 1860b, p. 795. The passage is marked in CD's copy.
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    f7 2893.f7
    Wagner contributed a report to the 1861 volume of the Archiv f¨ur Naturgeschichte on recently published works in general zoology and the natural history of man; he devoted a considerable portion of this report to a discussion of Origin. See Wagner 1861.
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