Criticises the Duke of Argyll's book [Reign of law (1867)], particularly on sexual selection.
But CD overlooks God's intention to instruct man by nature's beauty.
Criticism of anonymous article in North British Review [by Fleeming Jenkin, 46 (1867): 277–318].
CK supports large sports in response to large environmental changes.
Eversley Rectory, | Winchfield. June 6/67 My dear M
I am very anxious to obtain a copy of a pamphlet, w
I advise you to look at a wonderful article in the North British about you. It is a pity the man who wrote it had not studied a little zoology & botany, before writing about them.
The Duke of Argyll's book is very fair & manly. He
cannot agree with you, but he writhes about under you as one who feels himself likely to
be beat. What he says about the humming birds is his weakest part. He utterly overlooks
sexual selection by the females, as one great branch of Natural selection.
Why on earth are the males only (to use his teleological view) ornamented, save
for the amusement of the females first? In his
earnestness to press the point—(w
Altogether—even the North British pleases me—for the man is forced to allow some Natural Selection, & forced to allow some great duration of the earth; & so every one who fights you, is forced to allow some of your arguments, as a tub to the whale, if only he may be allowed to shun others— While very few have the honesty to confess, that they know nothing about the matter, save what you have put into their heads.
Remark that the argument of the N. British, that geological changes were more violent, & the physical energies of the earth more intense in old times, cuts both ways. For if that be true—then changes of circumstance in plants & animals must have been more rapid, & the inclination to vary from outward circumstance greater, & also—if the physical energies of the earth were greater—so must the physical energies of the Animals & plants; & therefore their tendency to sport may have been greater; & not without a gleam of scientific insight have the legends of so many races talked of giants & monsters on the earth of old.
Yours ever faithfully | C Kingsley
- f1 05565.f1CD guessed that Kingsley was referring to a short paper in the Geologist by Frederick Wollaston Hutton (Hutton 1861; see letter to Charles Kingsley, 10 June ). There is a lightly marked copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection--CUL. The paper includes six objections to CD's theory and answers to them, and twenty-six questions answered by supposing that animals have descended from a common prototype.
- f2 05565.f2The article referred to by Kingsley, published in the North British Review for June 1867 ([Jenkin] 1867), was by Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin, an engineer and critic (Wellesley index). The North British Review was published in Edinburgh and was intended to be `liberal in politics and Christian in tone', giving due place to `art, science, philosophy, literature, and culture in general' (Wellesley index 1: 663). See D. L. Hull 1973, pp. 302--50, for a copy of [Jenkin] 1867, and Hull's commentary; see also n. 6, below.
- f3 05565.f3Kingsley refers to G. D. Campbell 1867.
- f4 05565.f4Campbell had written: `there is no connexion which can be traced or conceived between the splendour of the Humming Birds and any function essential to their life. If there were any such connexion, that splendour could not be confined, as it almost exclusively is, to one sex' (G. D. Campbell 1867, p. 243). See also letter to Charles Lyell, 1 June  and n. 3.
- f5 05565.f5Campbell had written (G. D. Campbell 1867, pp. 250--1):
it would appear that every variety which is to take its place as a new Species must be born male and female; because it is one of the facts of specific variation in the Humming Birds, that although the male and female plumage is generally entirely different, yet the female of each Species is as distinct from the female of every other, as the male is from the male of every other.
- f6 05565.f6For more on Jenkin and his criticism of CD's theory, see Morris 1994 and Gayon 1998, pp. 85--102. A tub to the whale: `(to throw out) a tub to the whale, to create a diversion, esp. in order to escape a threatened danger' (OED).
- f7 05565.f7See [Jenkin] 1867, pp. 296--302.