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Letter 8790F

Darwin, C. R. to Smith, Robert

27 Feb [1873]

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    CD answers a question about the attitude of foreign naturalists towards Darwinism by distinguishing between the belief in evolution and belief in natural selection. Gives the views of [Louis] Agassiz, [R. A.] Kölliker, [C. W.] Nägeli, [Ernst] Häckel, [C. F. W.] Claus, [F. J.] Cohn, Alphonse de Candolle, [J. L.] Claparède, Asa Gray, Gaston de Saporta, [E. D.] Cope, and [Carl] Gegenbaur.


Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Feb. 27

Dear Sir

I thank you sincerely for your extremely kind letter, & I wish you well through your difficult task. A good many books have been published about my views but not many by distinguished foreign naturalists. Very many have, however, expressed a decided judgment in their favour in various memoirs. In any remarks, which you may make, it would be well state that almost all foreign naturalists (with the exception of some of the older ones, such as Agassiz) now believe in evolution, though many only agree with me partially on the importance of natural selection. K¨olliker for instance, believes in evolution, but hardly at all, (less than almost anyone) in Nat. Selection.— The great botanist N¨ageli believes to a somewhat larger extent in N. Selection, but thinks that there is some innate tendency to progressive development. H¨ackel is the great supporter in Germany of N. Selection. Claus believes in it to a large extent, Cohn has recently in his excellent anniversary address spoken most strongly in favour of my views. So has Alp. De Candolle in Switzerland, as well as the recently dead great geologist Clapar`ede.— The greatest American Botanist, Asa Gray, takes the same line. So does Count Gaston de Saporta in France, who has lately written so well on fossil plants.

But I could go on in this manner for any length of time.— The zoologist Cope in America, believes most firmly???? in evolution, but only very moderately N. Selection.

I hope that this from memory will suffice

Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

I had forgotten Gegenbaur, one of the greatest Comp. Anatomists in the world, who is very strong supporter.

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