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Letter 6670

Darwin, C. R. to Huxley, T. H.

19 Mar [1869]

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    Thanks for THH's address [to Geological Society, Q. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 25 (1869): 28–53]. Admires it and enjoyed attack on William Thomson hugely, but would tremble if he were in THH's boots. Distinction made by THH between evolutionists and uniformitarians is too great. CD's sentences on age of world in Origin will do, but he might have been less timid had he read THH.


Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

March 19th

My dear Huxley

Thanks for your Address. People complain of the unequal distribution of wealth, but it a much greater shame & injustice that any one man shd. have the power to write so many brilliant essays as you have lately done. There is no one who writes like you.— I have hugely enjoyed your attack on Thompson; but if I were in your shoes I should tremble for my life.— I agree with all you say, except that I must think that you draw too great a distinction between your evolutionists & the uniformitarians.

I find that the few sentences which I have sent to press in the Origin about the age of the world will do fairly well, though if I had read you first, perhaps I shd have been less deferential towards Thompson.

Many thanks for your note received a day or two ago with yourself represented as a bristly little Terrier.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 6670.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. H. Huxley, 17 March 1869.
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    f2 6670.f2
    CD refers to Huxley's presidential address to the Geological Society of London on 19 February 1869 (T. H. Huxley 1869c).
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    f3 6670.f3
    Huxley's address was a response to William Thomson's statements concerning the conflicting calculations of astronomers and geologists in regard to the age of the earth (see T. H. Huxley 1869c, p. xxxviii). For Huxley's comparison of catastrophism, uniformitarianism, and evolutionism, see T. H. Huxley 1869c, pp. xlvi--xlvii.
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    f4 6670.f4
    In Origin 5th ed., pp. 354, 379, CD discussed Thomson's estimates of the age of the earth, but did not dispute the evidence for his findings.
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    f5 6670.f5
    See letter from T. H. Huxley, 17 March 1869.
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