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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. L. Brunton   14 February 1881

Oasis Hotel Algiers

Feby 14th. 1881

My dear Mr. Darwin

On arriving here I found your kind letter awaiting me & I thank you very much for it.1 I regret that my omission to enclose the preface should have given you so much trouble & I now rectify my mistake.2 From the preface you will see what my object in writing has been. There is much truth in what you say regarding the retarding effect on the progress of knowledge of which the Bible record has been made the instrument. Yet I am not certain that it was the record itself— I am rather inclined to think it was the men who used it who were to blame. They misused the record just as they misused the doctrine of mercy and in order that Holy Church might not be guilty of blood shed they caused those who had offended to be burned alive. Yet no doubt it has delayed the acceptance of true scientific ideas amongst those who have held it in all sincerity   But here again I am not sure that this delay has been really injurious any more than the delay in walking which I have seen parents purposely & rightly produce in children. My own ideas regarding inspiration are so unsettled that some times I have felt inclined to cancel the work as giving a false impression of them yet on the whole I have allowed it to stand as it may help others who are in the same condition as myself & as it fairly represents the truth as it appears to me now.3 One of the greatest charms of your works is to me their absolute truthfulness and the example you have set in this respect I shall try to imitate. Your kind wishes were to me a perfect cordial & I hope soon to be strong enough to begin work again   I shall not stay long here but go on soon to Davos & I am already much better though not yet well.4 With kindest regards & best thanks yours very sincerely T Lauder Brunton

C. Darwin Esq


Forwards the preface to his book [see 12999] and comments on the effect of the Bible on science.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Lauder Brunton, 1st baronet
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 344
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13053,” accessed on 22 November 2019,