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Letter 4569

Darwin, C. R. to Haeckel, E. P. A.

19 July [1864]

    Summary Add

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    Thanks for praise [of Origin].

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    Comments on EH's Die Radiolarien.

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    Grieved EH has suffered calamity [death of Anna Sethe Haeckel].

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    CD recovering from long illness.

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    Doing easy botanical work.

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    Mentions variability.

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    Discusses reception of CD's views in Germany.


Down Bromley Kent

July 19

Dear Sir

I have been deeply interested by your most kind letter.— I naturally feel much curiosity on the progress of opinion on the descent of species, & I am delighted to hear that the subject is progressing in Germany which so abounds with great naturalists.— But what you tell me about yourself interests me the most, & I thank you sincerely for your confidence. I feel what you say in praise of my book & your intention of carrying onwards & perfecting the subject, as by far the greatest honour which could be paid me. I was shewn in London your magnificent work on Radiolariæ. The passage which you refer to was pointed out to me & I was struck by it & admired the boldness of your expressions.

I am grieved to hear that you have suffered any heavy calamity; but at so early a period of life I cannot but hope that time, the great allayer of all evils, will do much for you. I am rendered by ill--health old for my years, which are 56, but I still feel a lively interest on many subjects, & your letter has delighted me. I have thought that perhaps you wd like to have a photograph of me (lately taken by one of my sons) & which I enclose. Some time I hope that you will have the goodness to send me your photograph, as I should much like to possess a copy.

I am very much obliged for your promised book, which I will read with care, for what you say on individual variability in the Cœlenterata is very remarkable; & this kind of variability has been greatly neglected by naturalists. I have however a very bad head for languages; & every German book takes me a long time which is a great evil, there is so much to read in German. I am slowly recovering from a long illness, which has quite prevented all work; but I hope soon to resume my nearly finished book on ``Variation under Domestication''; in the mean time, I have been doing a little easy Botanical work, & one of the papers which I have prepared, will possibly interest you as it relates to reproduction & when printed I will send you a copy.

This kind of work being in some degree new to me, I have been much struck with the interest which the theory of descent & modification gives to all researches in Natural History; for I was able to use my own views with a feeling of novelty almost as if I had only lately learnt them.

Pray present my respects to Schleicher & Gegenbaur. I am much pleased to know that men so distinguished agree to a large extent with my views.

Accept my cordial thanks for your long letter which has interested me in a high degree

I remain with much respect | Dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 4569.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864]. There is a draft of this letter in DAR 96: 18--20.
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    f2 4569.f2
    Letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864].
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    f3 4569.f3
    CD may have been shown Die Radiolarien (Haeckel 1862) by Thomas Henry Huxley when he visited London in 1863. Huxley had obtained a copy in October 1862 (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 237). CD received his own copy from Haeckel early in 1864 (see letter to Ernst Haeckel, 3 March [1864]).
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    f4 4569.f4
    See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864].
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    f5 4569.f5
    See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864] and n. 18.
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    f6 4569.f6
    CD was 55 on 12 February 1864.
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    f7 4569.f7
    CD refers to the photograph recently taken by his son William Erasmus Darwin (see the frontispiece to this volume).
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    f8 4569.f8
    See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864] and n. 15.
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    f9 4569.f9
    CD resumed work on the manuscript of Variation on 14 September 1864 (see `Journal' (Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II)). Variation was not published until 1868.
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    f10 4569.f10
    `Three forms of Lythrum salicaria'. Haeckel's name appears on CD's presentation list for the paper (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix III).
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    f11 4569.f11
    August Schleicher and Carl Gegenbaur. See letter from Ernst Haeckel, 9 [July 1864] and n. 20.
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