Mentions Dutch translation [of Origin].
Discusses evolutionary origin of sexuality.
Asa Gray's suggestion that variation was directed by a higher power and Herschel's view of providential arrangement in nature.
Compares variation in domestic and wild species.
Asks CL for introductions for his son William in Southampton, where he has joined a bank.
2. Hesketh Crescent. Torquay
My dear Lyell
Emma has gone a little tour with Etty, but I have forwarded
Lady Lyell's letter with the sad account of M
I declare that you read the Reviews on the Origin more carefully than I do.— I agree with all your remarks.— The point of correlation struck me as well put, & on varieties growing together; but I have already begun to put things in train for information on this latter head, on which Bronn also enlarges.—
With respect to Sexuality, I have often speculated on it, & have always
concluded that we are too ignorant to speculate— no physiologist can
conjecture why the two elements go to form the new being; & more than that why
nature strives at uniting the two elements from two individuals; what I am now
working at, viz Orchids, is admirable illustration of the law.— I
There is another point on which I have occasionally wished to say a few
words.— I believe you think with Asa Gray that I have not allowed enough for
the stream of variation having been guided by a Higher power.— I have had lately a good deal of correspondence on
this head. Herschel in his Phy. Geograph. has
sentence with respect to the Origin something to the effect that the higher
law of providential arrangement sh
I doubt whether I have made what I think clear; but certainly A. Gray's notion of the course of variation having been led, like a stream of water by Gravity, seems to me to smash the whole affair. It reminds me of a Spaniard whom I told I was trying to make out how the Cordillera were formed; & he answered me that it was useless for ``God made them''. It may be said that God foresaw how they would be made. I wonder whether Herschel would say that you ought always to give the higher providential Law, & declare that God had ordered all certain changes of level that certain mountains should arise.— I must think that such views of Asa Gray & Herschel merely show that the subject in their minds is in Comte's theological stage of science.—
I have one other very distinct subject. William will, I apprehend, now certainly join
Of course I do not want any answer to my quasi theological discussion: but only for you to think of my notions, if you understand them.
I hope to Heaven your long & great labours on your new Edit. are drawing to a close.
Farewell | My dear Lyell | Yours most truly | C. Darwin
Very kind remembrances to all your party.—
- f1 3223.f1Dated by the endorsement. The first of August fell on a Thursday in 1861.
- f2 3223.f2Emma Darwin's diary records that she and Henrietta Emma Darwin, accompanied by Hope Elizabeth Wedgwood (the youngest daughter of Hensleigh and Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood), went on a tour of the Dartmoor area of Devon from 30 July until 5 August. Their tour included visits to Ashburton, Holne Chase, Lushleigh, Whyddon Park, Chagford, Fingle Bridge, and Drewsteignton. According to Henrietta Litchfield, this was the only tour Emma Darwin `ever took without the family in all her married life.' (Emma Darwin 2: 178).
- f3 3223.f3Frances Elizabeth Longfellow, wife of the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was burned to death in her home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after her dress caught fire. She was the sister of Mary Mackintosh, the wife of Robert Mackintosh, who was the brother of Fanny Mackintosh Wedgwood.
- f4 3223.f4The address is that of CD's brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, where CD stayed when in London.
- f5 3223.f5Winkler trans. 1860. The Dutch palaeontologist Tiberius Cornelius Winkler had sent a copy of the translation to Lyell to be forwarded to CD. See letter from T. C. Winkler, 7 July 1861.
- f6 3223.f6CD probably refers to George Maw's review of the third edition of Origin (Maw 1861a). The points he refers to are addressed in Maw's review and in Heinrich Georg Bronn's criticism of Origin in chapter 15 of Bronn trans. 1860. See letters to George Maw, 13 July , and to H. C. Watson, [17 July 1861].
- f7 3223.f7On CD's views on the origin and functional importance of sexual dimorphism in evolution, see Ghiselin 1969 and Hodge 1985.
- f8 3223.f8Thwaites 1847.
- f9 3223.f9Asa Gray argued in A. Gray 1861a that natural selection and natural theology were consistent if one conceived of the `stream' of variations, from which nature selects, as having been `guided' or `designed'. For the correspondence between Gray and CD on this point, see Correspondence vol. 8, letters to Asa Gray, 3 July , and 26 November . See also letters to Asa Gray, 5 June  and 21 July .
- f10 3223.f10In addition to the letters to Gray (see n. 9, above), see the letters to J. F. W. Herschel, 23 May , and to F. J. Wedgwood, 11 July .
- f11 3223.f11Herschel 1861, p. 12 n.
- f12 3223.f12Auguste Comte viewed the development of knowledge as having progressed through three stages: theological, metaphysical, and positive. CD had read an extensive review of the first two volumes of Comte's Cours de philosophie positive (Comte 1830--42) in 1838 (see Correspondence vol. 2, letter to Charles Lyell,  September ).
- f13 3223.f13William Erasmus Darwin was preparing to become a partner in the Southampton and Hampshire Bank.
- f14 3223.f14The sixth edition of Lyell's Elements of geology did not in fact appear until 1865. The delay was due to Lyell's eventual decision to publish the results of his study of the antiquity of man as a separate volume (C. Lyell 1863) rather than as a section within Elements.
- f15 3223.f15The Lyells were staying in Folkestone, Kent. Among their party was George Bentham (K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 347--8).