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Letter 7453A

Darwin, C. R. to Mivart, St G. J.

23 Jan [1871]

    Summary Add

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    Acknowledges StGJM's kind letter. [See 7451.]

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    Offers to alter the "dogmatic assertion" referred to on page 102 [of StGJM's On the genesis of species] but in 5th ed. of Origin and in Variation CD finds only qualified expressions.

Transcription

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Jan. 23d

My dear Sir

Our letters have crossed. I am very much obliged for the kind one just received. I am sorry I added the P.S. but I truly thought you wd. be very glad of a fair excuse for not writing to me.—

At p. 102 you speak of my dogmatic assertion ``that it is a false belief'' that natural species &c &c.— It sounds very dogmatic, but as I have not hitherto been accused of dogmatism, I shd. be very glad to alter the expression in any future edition.— I have hunted through the most likely places in the 5th Edit of Origin & in two chapters in Variation under Domestication, & I find only the most guarded expressions, resting chiefly on my failure to find Evidence of sudden & great changes, & the admission that the conditions of life may have produced a considerable effect, especially in book on Domestic animals.— All this makes me very anxious to correct so positive a statement, unaccompanied, as it appears in your book, with any softening expressions.— So pray oblige me & forgive me for troubling you.—

I will not positively make any more remarks, & will only again thank you for the very kind expressions in your note & remain

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 7453a.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 January 1871.
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    f2 7453a.f2
    CD refers to the letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 January 1871. His first letter to Mivart of 23 January 1871 has not been found, but see the draft letter to St G. J. Mivart, [23 January 1871], and the letter from St G. J. Mivart, 24 January 1871.
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    f3 7453a.f3
    In Mivart 1871a, p. 102, Mivart wrote, `Now, considering the number of instances adduced of sudden modifications in domestic animals, it is somewhat startling to meet with Mr. Darwin's dogmatic assertion that it is ``a false belief'' that natural species have often originated in the same abrupt manner.' See also letter to Francis Darwin, [after 21 January 1871] and n. 2, which relates to a similar claim by Mivart.
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    f4 7453a.f4
    CD refers to Origin 5th ed. and Variation.
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