Letter 7651

Wedgwood, F. J. to Darwin, H. E.

1 Apr 1871


Writes to HED for fear of tiring CD and to pass on, if she deems suitable, her view that there is no distinction to be made between self-regarding and other-regarding virtues.



April 1/1871

My dear Harrot

I hope you will not get quite sick of the sight of myhandwriting, but I want you to act as a funnel to your father forso much of my remarks as you may deem suitable. I never like tosay all I have to say to him, for fear of tiring him. I feel Ihave a number of heterogeneous remarks to make some of themprobably not worth making, but I shd like to tumble them all outof my mind. I gave him a little Abstract I had made of what Itook for his views on Ethics, & I understood him to say heaccepted them entirely so far as all except the self-regardingvirtues went.f2 Now I so want him to abolish that distinctionbetween self-regarding & others-regarding virtues. (This isnot a criticism of anything in his book only of this remark tome.)f3 It is like the governess’s division of plants into shrubs,bulbous plants & weeds. (the division is much better but I cantget hold of it exactly.) Of course in the police regulations of anation we have to recognise some sort of distinction of that kindjust as a gardener has to recognize the distinction betweenflowers & weeds, but there is surely no more science in oneclassification than in the other. I suppose temperance is atypical example of a self-regarding virtue, & yet if drunkennessdid not put one out of the way of doing any good to one’s fellowcreatures & into the way of doing them a great deal of harm (Isuppose no single fact is a larger source of crime) I cannot seewhat harm there wd be in it.f4 I do so thoroughly feel nothing isself-regarding in that sense. We radiate whatever we are.

I wanted to say something about Mr Morley’s letter, whichinterested me very muchf5—& yet I dont think there was much init for Uncle Ch. The drift of it seemed to me, as far as I cdtake it in without remembering the criticism from which thecorrespondence took its rise, a vindication of the intellectualcharacter of what we mean by the sense of beauty, as an essentialpart of what he calls the Association philosophy.f6 It was much asif in some chemical work you shd find some compound spoken of bythe name which you wished to keep for one of it’s constituentelements. I shd hardly think it was worth Uncle Ch’s while toattend to a matter of nomenclature like that [1 page or more missing]

have them here but how silly to take it amiss that atea-cup wont hold a gallon!

Adieu dear Harrot I am so glad youhad that charming evening with the delightful Jane.f7 I think Euphquite agrees with you about her.f8 Yrs FJW

DAR 88: 68–70



Frances Julia Wedgwood probably refers to Trowmer Lodge, Down, thehome of Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood (Freeman 1978).
Wedgwood’s abstract has not been found. See also the letter fromHensleigh Wedgwood, [after 9 March 1871].
Wedgwood refers toDescent.
CD had discussed temperance as a self-regarding virtue in hisletter to Hensleigh Wedgwood, 9 March 1871. See also Descent 1: 96–7.
Wedgwood refers to the letter from John Morley, 30 March 1871.
Wedgwood probably refers to Associationism.
Jane has not been identified.
Wedgwood probably refers to Katherine Euphemia Wedgwood.
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