From Charles Kingsley 18 November 1859
Eversley Rectory, | Winchfield.
I have to thank you for the unexpected honour of your book. That the Nat-uralist whom, of all naturalists living, I most wish to know & to learn from, should have sent a sciolist like me his book, encourages me at least to observe more carefully, & think more slowly.1
I am so poorly (in brain) that I fear I cannot read your book just now as I ought. All I have seen of it awes me; both with the heap of facts, & the prestige of your name, & also with the clear intuition, that if you be right, I must give up much that I have believed & written.
In that I care little. ‘Let God be true, & every man a liar’. Let us know what is, & as old Socrates has it [GREEK CHARACTERS]—follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into what soever unexpected bogs & brakes he may lead us, if we do but run into him at last.2
From two common superstitions, at least, I shall be free, while judging of your book. 1) I have long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals & plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species.3 2). I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development into all forms needful pro tempore & pro loco, as to believe that He required a fresh act of inter-vention to supply the lacunas wh he himself had made.4 I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.
Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself, & as a proof that you are aware of the existence of such a person as | Your faithful servant | C Kingsley Eversley | Novr 18/59
Will judge CD’s book [Origin] free from two superstitions: the dogma of the permanent species and the need of an act of intervention to bring change.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2534,” accessed on 2 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2534