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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Richard Randolph   19 and 20 February 1878

247 North 12th St. | Philadelphia, U.S.

19th 2nd Mo. 1878.

Respected Friend:

As one of a people which perhaps the most systematically carries science, under the auspices of faith, into the realm of etiquette, I hope thou wilt understand by my very style of addressing thee, that the present communication is of an exploring, or inquiring, and deferential, rather than a dictatorial and arrogating character. The very affix “Esq.”, I conceive, is a mode by which the humblest aspirant for universal sovereignty is entitled to distinguish those whom he may elect or seek to elect, as councillors, “from the crowd of the literate,” (as the diplomas run). Faint as may be the probability of my enlisting thy interest or my prospect of receiving any correction, cooperation or countenance from thee in my work, my overture, I claim, is made in the spirit of reverence for truth, and of honor for all the devotees of truth.

I send two numbers of an American Journal, on pp. 320, & 417 of which thou mayst find an article on “Polarity in Character”, which is substantially perhaps nothing more nor less than a plea for the general subordination of Science to Faith.1 Of course we do not want a religion which cannot furnish us with the law of progress in Science; and it is my belief that the Authority of Christianity will yet be vindicated on this very ground.

I send also some accompaniments which I have been distributing with some copies of the Essay which were furnished me by the Editor in a detached form,2 and am | Sincerely thy friend | Richd. Randolph

To Charles Darwin, Esq | England.

P.S. 220. Holding that the Acrostic is no more trifling in conception than other forms of versification, I conceive that I am only upholding the standard of thoroughness in execution by habitually adhering to it in my metrical efforts. Those occurring in the printed essay were mostly inscriptions in some tardily selling volumes which I saw fit so to re-advertise in our late Centennial year.3 I consider that I am obtruding sufficiently without sending any of them to thee now; but, the blank page has seemed to invite the experiment with thy name—

The Precedence of the Internal.

Job, xxxviii, 36; Ps. li, 6; Jer, xxxi, 33.4

Christ in creation is a theme profound

Hardly approached while faith in truth around

Absorbs the thinker’s zeal.

Religion, as a chastened second thought,

Looks still beneath the deepest movement wrought

Externally, to deal

Supremely with the influences which

Divide, “this life” and its surroundings rich.

As its deep draughts reveal

Recondite lessons of causation, still

Unlooked for methods of creative skill

Upon man’s spirit steal,

In whose pure vision all his powers, sufficed,

No longing cherish not fulfilled in Christ.

20th. 2nd. Mo. 1878.


A Quaker essayist and poet who seeks to reconcile science and religion sends some samples of his work.

Letter details

Letter no.
Richard Randolph
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 201: 31
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11366,” accessed on 18 June 2018,