Pleased by ARW's response to Pangenesis.
On negative reception by his friends.
Further argument concerning sterility and natural selection.
Polygamy and sexual selection.
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Wallace
You cannot well imagine how much I have been pleased by what you say about Pangenesis. None of my friends will speak out, except to a certain extent Sir H. Holland who found it very tough reading, but admits that some view ``closely akin to it'' will have to be admitted. Hooker, as far as I understand him, which I hardly do at present, seems to think that the hypothesis is little more than saying that organisms have such & such potentialities.
What you say exactly & fully expresses my feeling, viz that it is a relief to have some feasible explanation of the various facts, which can be given up as soon as any better hypothesis is found.
It has certainly been an immense relief to my mind; for I have been stumbling over the subject for years, dimly seeing that some relation existed between the various classes of facts. I now hear from H. Spencer that his views quoted in my foot-note refer to something quite distinct, as you seem to have perceived.
I shall be very glad to hear at some future day, your criticisms on the ``causes of variability''.
Indeed I feel sure that I am right about sterility & natural
selection. Two of my grown up children who are acute reasoners have
2 or 3 times at intervals tried to prove me wrong, & when y
But I do not know that I have made this any clearer than in the Chapt. in my Book— — It is a most difficult bit of reasoning, which I have gone over & over again on paper with diagrams.—
I shall be intensely curious to see your Article in Journal of Travel.
Many thanks for such answers as you could give. From what
you say I sh
I suspect Owen wrote article in Athenæum, but I have been told that it is Berthold Seeman— The writer despises & hates me.—
Hearty thanks for your letter— You have indeed pleased me, for I had given up the great God Pan as a still-born Deity— I wish you could be induced to make it clear with your admirable powers of elucidation in one of the Scientific Journals.—
I think we almost entirely agree about sexual selection: As I now follow you to large extent about protection to females, having always believed that colour was often transmitted to both sexes: but I do not go quite so far about protection.—
Always yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin
- f1 5940.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February 1868.
- f2 5940.f2See letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February 1868 and n. 5.
- f3 5940.f3See letter from Henry Holland, 11 February .
- f4 5940.f4CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 26[--7] February 1868.
- f5 5940.f5CD refers to Herbert Spencer; see letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February 1868 and n. 6.
- f6 5940.f6CD refers to George Howard Darwin, and probably to Francis Darwin. For Wallace's further argument that hybrid sterility could evolve through natural selection, see the enclosure to his letter of 1 March 1868.
- f7 5940.f7See Variation 2: 185--9.
- f8 5940.f8A. R. Wallace 1868. See letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February 1868 and n. 3.
- f9 5940.f9On birds of paradise, see the letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February 1868.
- f10 5940.f10CD was in London from 3 March to 1 April (see `Journal' (Appendix II)). He refers to Emma, Henrietta Emma, and Elizabeth Darwin.
- f11 5940.f11The review of Variation that appeared in the Athenæum was by John Robertson ([Robertson] 1868a). CD refers to Richard Owen and Berthold Carl Seeman (see also letter to John Murray, 25 February  and n. 5).
- f12 5940.f12On Wallace's theory of protective coloration, see the letter from Albany Hancock, 8 February 1868 and n. 3.