Has reread AG's third Atlantic Monthly article. It is admirable, but CD cannot go as far as AG on design.
Mentions other opinions and reviews of Origin.
Relates some experiments on Drosera showing its extreme sensitivity; requests some observations on orchids.
Down Bromley Kent.
My dear Gray.
I have to thank you for two letters. The latter with corrections, written before you received my letter asking for an American Reprint & saying that it was hopeless to print your Reviews as a pamphlet, owing to impossibility of getting pamphlets known.— I am very glad to say that the August or second Atlantic Article has been reprinted in Annals & Mag of N. History; but I have not yet seen it there.
Yesterday I read over with care the third Article; & it seems to me, as before, admirable. But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance; & yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design.— To take a crucial example, you lead me to infer (p. 414) that you believe ``that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines''.— I cannot believe this; & I think you would have to believe, that the tail of the Fan-tail was led to vary in the number & direction of its feathers in order to gratify the caprice of a few men. Yet if the fan-tail had been a wild bird & had used its abnormal tail for some special end, as to sail before the wind, unlike other birds, everyone would have said what beautiful & designed adaptation. Again I say I am, & shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle.—
Thank you much for Bowen's 4
I have not much to tell you about my Book.— I have just heard that Dubois Reymond agrees with me. The sale of my Book goes on well, & the multitude of Reviews has not stopped the sale. Murray sold a few days ago at his sale 700 copies; & he has not half; so I must begin at once on new corrected Edition.— I will send you a copy; for chance of your ever rereading; but good Heavens how sick you must be of it.—
Hooker has returned ``rosy fat & jolly'', I am glad to say; but I have not seen
him & not heard much news; except that he found traces of Glacial action on
Lebanon.— I have gone on working at Drosera, but
shall not publish till next summer, as I am frightened at my results & must
retest them; (By the way I have been rereading in consequence some part of your Lesson
in Botany, & have been so much pleased with the
extremely clear way you put things), but you may rely on the truth of the fact that the
prolonged weight of an innutritious atom, placed with all care on
one of the glands, though it weighed only
I suppose in summer you take walks in the country: I see in your Flora, you say that Apocynum androsæmifolium is common & another species. Will you observe whether the flowers of both species catch numbers of flies by their probosces, as the former does in England. And whether Bees visit the flowers. I mean to get this plant, if I can, & observe it; as a Boy I was surprised at number of flies captured. Please make a memorandum about this plant & the Spiranthes.—
My daughter improves very slowly & I have now the heart to work again nearly as hard (strictly as lightly) as I ever can.—
My dear Gray | Ever yours most truly | C. Darwin
Have you read Olmsted Journey in the Back Country; what a remarkably interesting Book.—
- f1 2998.f1Dated by the reference to reprinting the second part of [Gray] 1860b (see n. 4, below).
- f2 2998.f2Neither of Gray's letters has been found.
- f3 2998.f3Letter to Asa Gray, 31 October .
- f4 2998.f4CD refers to the second part of Gray's review of Origin published in the Atlantic Monthly ([Gray] 1860b, pp. 229--39). On CD's recommendation, it was published in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 6 (1860): 373--86. See letter to Asa Gray, 26 September .
- f5 2998.f5CD received the third part of the article ([Gray] 1860b, pp. 406--25) in September. See letter to Asa Gray, 26 September .
- f6 2998.f6CD annotated this passage ([Gray] 1860b, p. 414) in his copy of the paper (Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL): `Look at variation in domestic productions leading to all sorts of mutations. Fantail Pouter'.
- f7 2998.f7Bowen 1860b. There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL.
- f8 2998.f8Francis Bowen stated that CD's theory was unphilosophic in its dependence on accidental variations. In his copy of the paper, CD wrote (Bowen 1860b, p. 103): `Without selection it is fatal.' At the top of the page, he added: `The chance of an improved Short-Horn being produced by accumulative variation, without man's selection, is as nothing, so with species not acted on by natural selection'.
- f9 2998.f9The third part of [Gray] 1860b, pp. 406--25, included a critique of an earlier review of Origin by Bowen ([Bowen] 1860a). The point mentioned by CD is in [Gray] 1860b, p. 419.
- f10 2998.f10Emil Heinrich Du Bois-Reymond. According to the letter to T. H. Huxley, 16 November , CD had learned about Du Bois-Reymond's favourable opinion from Leonard Horner.
- f11 2998.f11CD learned of the find in a letter from Joseph Dalton Hooker passed on to CD by Thomas Henry Huxley (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 1 November ). CD added a sentence to the fourth edition of Origin describing Hooker's assessment of evidence of glaciation in the Lebanon mountains (Peckham ed. 1959, pp. 591--2). See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 1 November  and n. 4.
- f12 2998.f12Gray 1857. CD's copy is in the Darwin Library--CUL.
- f13 2998.f13Gray 1856, p. 350.
- f14 2998.f14CD remembered the plant growing in the garden of his father, Robert Waring Darwin; he had ascertained its name by questioning Daniel Oliver. See letters to Daniel Oliver, 16 November  and [21 November 1860], and letter from Daniel Oliver, 23 November 1860.
- f15 2998.f15CD had sent Gray a memorandum outlining observations he hoped Gray would make on the American species of the orchid genus Spiranthes. See letter to Asa Gray, 31 October  and the enclosure.
- f16 2998.f16CD had read Frederick Law Olmsted's two previous books about his tours through the slave states of America with great interest, remarking that Olmsted 1856 was `excellent' (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 23, 25). Olmsted's third book, A journey in the back country (Olmsted 1860), chronicled Olmsted's travels from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia. Many believed it to be an unbiased and accurate picture of conditions in the South. Gray knew Olmsted, having met him in England in 1850 (Dupree 1959, p. 192).