CK is drawn into discussions of Darwinism everywhere in Cambridge. The climate has changed in the past three years: the younger M.A.s are greedy to know more and the criticism of the older Fellows has a new tone.
Trinity Lodge, | Cambridge. Dec
I have been here 3 or 4 days; & have been accidentally drawn, again & again, into what the world calls Darwinism, & you & I & some others fact & science— I have been drawn thereinto, simply because I find everyone talking about it to anyone who is supposed to know (or mis-know) anything about it: all shewing how men's minds are stired.
I find the best & strongest men coming over. I find one or 2 of them like Adams (& Cayley) fighting desperately.
1. Because, being really great men, they know so much already
That last dash is the key of the position. They dont know. The dear good fellows have
been asking me questions.—e.g. ``You dont say that there are links between a
cat & a dog? If so, what are they?— To w
That is what it comes to, my dear & honoured master, for so I call you openly where I can, among ``great swells', as well as here in Cambridge— Why men dont agree with you, is because they dont know facts: & what I do is—simply to say to every one, as I have been doing for 3 days past ``Will you kindly ascertain a few facts—or at least ascertain what facts there are, to be known or disproved, before you talk on this matter at all?''—& I find, in Cambridge, that the younger M.A's. are not only willing, but greedy, to hear what you have to say; & that the elder, (who have of course more old notions to overcome) are facing the whole question in a quite different tone from what they did 3 years ago. I wont mention names for fear of ``compromising'' men who are in an honest, but ``funky'' stage of conversion: but I have been surprised, coming back for 3 or 4 days, at the change since last winter.
I trust you will find the good old university (w
I say this—especially now—because you will get, I suppose, an
attack on you by an anonymous ``Graduate of Cambridge''—w
Excuse the bad writing— I have a pen w
I have—as usual—a thousand questions to ask you—& no time, nor brain, to ask them now.
But ever I am— | Your affte pupil | C Kingsley
Dont trouble yourself to answer me. But if you write to me, I return to Eversley tomorrow.—& give my love to Lubbock.
- f1 05730.f1Kingsley went to Cambridge twice a year to deliver his professorial lectures (Kingsley ed. 1877, 2: 153).
- f2 05730.f2The Cambridge mathematicians John Couch Adams and Arthur Cayley were friends (DNB, s.v. Cayley, Arthur).
- f3 05730.f3Kingsley refers to Robert Mackenzie Beverley's The Darwinian theory of the transmutation of species examined by a graduate of the University of Cambridge ([Beverley] 1867).
- f4 05730.f4Eversley, Hampshire.
- f5 05730.f5John Lubbock.