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Letter 8499

Harmer, F. W. to Darwin, C. R.

31 Aug 1872

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    He became entrapped in the W. Lyon controversy by defending CD against Frederic Bateman of Norwich.

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    As a religious man, FWH wants to apologise for the attacks CD has suffered in the name of religion.


Heigham Grove, | Norwich.

Aug 31/72

Dear Sir

I trust you will allow me to thank you for your kind reply to my enquiry.

I should not have engaged in a controversy with Mr. Lyon whose book seems to me abt. on a par with ``Dame Europa's School'' had I not been almost forced into it.

Dr. Bateman, a medical man of this City, the author of a work on ``Aphasia'', read some time since, before the Victoria Institute in London, a paper in which he claimed to prove the ``fallacy of Darwinism''(!) by shewing that ``speech could not be traced to a material centre'', & he published a letter in our ``Daily Press'' to the same effect.

I was unwise enough to reply to the latter, that a theory was not disproved by a mere objection being urged against it, & also to attempt to explain that an argument which he rested great weight upon, viz. the non production of the missing link, was valueless, owing to the imperfection of the geological record—

Dr. Bateman summoned Mr. Lyon to his assistance, with whom I at first declined to discuss the matter, but my refusal to do so was received so triumphantly by them as an acknowledgement of the collapse of my case that I felt unwilling to let the subject drop.

I trust you will pardon my doing so— I fear it almost borders on the intrusive—but I venture to take the opportunity which your courteous reply has given me, as a religious man, on behalf of a rapidly increasing number of persons with whom I am associated, of assuring you how warmly we protest against the unfair & personal attacks to which you have been & still are subjected, in the name of religion & by its self constituted champions. Mr. Lyon is I believe an Independent minister at Tunbridge Wells—

Again thanking you | I am | Yours truly | F. W. Harmer

Chas Darwin Esq F.R.S. &c

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