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Letter 7366

Darwin, C. R. to Sclater, P. L.

11 Nov [1870]


Accepts PLS’s offer to read proofs of [Descent].

W. H. Hudson’s paper is interesting.


Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Nov. 11

My dear Mr. Sclater

I will most gladly accept your kindness.—f2 I look at the delay causedas nothing comparatively to the great benefit.— I never expectedor hoped for many criticisms, but I still hope you will point out anyserious error,—whatever trouble this may cause to my Printers.—I suppose I shall soon receive Revises, but Messrs Clowesf3 sometimesdelay the 2d proofs till 23 of a whole vol. is corrected in firstproof.—

Mr Hudson’s paper is very interesting & it pleases me to seeso staunch a hater of evolution a little staggered at the end of hispaper.—f4

Yours very truly obliged | Ch. Darwin

I will not now waste quite so much time in trying to find every namequoted in some book; so you will doubly help me.

Edward Ford (private collection)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter to P. L. Sclater, 9 November 1870.
Sclater’s letter to CD has not been found, but he had evidentlyreiterated his offer to read the proof-sheets of the chapters on birdsand mammals in Descent (see letter to P. L. Sclater, 9 November1870).
William Clowes & Sons were printing Descent.
Sclater had sent CD proofs of William Henry Hudson’s letters to theZoological Society of London (Hudson 1870; see letter to P. L. Sclater, 9 November1870). CD may refer to a passage at the end of a letter read at theZoological Society on 23 June 1870 (Hudson 1870, p. 550), on the wasteof other birds’ eggs caused by Molothrus bonariensis:I often wonder that the little birds in whose nests they lay do notbecome extinct, or all but extinct, by their means…. How strangethat it should be so disorderly in the midst of the general order ofnature! Or must we come to consider these habits of the Molothrusbonariensis ‘not as especially endowed or created instincts, but assmall consequences of one general law,’ namely, transition?The quotation is from Origin, p. 244, where CD had said that it wasmore satisfactory to him to see such instincts as the cuckoo ejectingother birds from the nest, ants making slaves, and ichneumonidaelarvae feeding within the bodies of live caterpillars as theconsequences of one general law, ‘namely, multiply, vary, let thestrongest live and the weakest die’, rather than as specially endowedor created instincts. Molothrus bonariensis is theshiny cowbird.
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