Discusses GdeS's studies on fossil plants;
response to Origin in France.
Down. Bromley. Kent. S.E.
Sep: 24 1868.
Owing to your letter of Sep: 6 having been addressed to
London and not at once fowarded here, I received it only 2
or 3 days ago, otherwise I should not have allowed so long
an interval to have elapsed before thanking you most
sincerely for the honour which you have done me— Your
letter abounds with statements & remarks of the highest
interest to me. A few years ago it would have been thought
quite incredible that the Genus Magnolia should have existed
so long ago; & how much light the Antiquity of the genus
Fagus throws on the distribution of the existing species on
which subject, I have often felt much surprise. I fully
appreciate the importance of your observations on the
antiquity of certain varieties— It is also surprising to
find that paleontology aids so much in giving us the origin
of our fruit trees.— I am particularly obliged to you for
telling me of the excellent instance of the direct action of
pollen in Pistacia— As I have formerly read with great
interest many of your papers on fossil plants you may
believe with what high satisfaction I hear that you are a
believer in the gradual evolution of Species— I had
supposed that my book on the origin of species, had made
very little impression in France and therefore it delights
me to hear a different statement from you. All the great
authorities of the Institute seem firmly resolved to believe
in the immutability of species, and this has always
astonished me in the country which has given birth to
Buffon, Lamarck & Geoffroy S
With cordial thanks & the most sincere respect | I beg leave to remain dear Sir | Yours faithfully & obliged | Charles Darwin
- f1 6390.f1See letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868.
- f2 6390.f2See letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868 and n. 6.
- f3 6390.f3For Saporta's work on Miocene and modern beech (Fagus) species, see the letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868 and n. 8.
- f4 6390.f4See letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868 and nn. 16--19.
- f5 6390.f5See letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868 and n. 13.
- f6 6390.f6See letter from Gaston de Saporta, 6 September 1868 and n. 3.
- f7 6390.f7CD refers to the Institut de France. For more on the reception of CD's theory in France, see Stebbins 1988 and J. Harvey 1997.
- f8 6390.f8CD refers to Georges Louis Leclerc, comte de Buffon, Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, and Jean Baptiste de Lamarck; see also letter to Albert Gaudry, 21 January .
- f9 6390.f9CD had been corresponding with the palaeontologist Albert Gaudry since 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Albert Gaudry, 17 September ).