To William Benjamin Carpenter 6 January 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Carpenter
I have just read your excellent article in the National.2 It will do great good; especially if it becomes known as your production. It seems to me to give an excellently clear account of Mr. Wallace’s & my views.3 How capitally you turn the flanks of theological opposers by opposing to them such men as Bentham & the more philosophical of the Systematists!4 I thank you sincerely for the extremely honourable manner in which you mention me.— I shd. have liked to have seen some criticisms or remarks on Embryology, on which subject you are so well instructed.5 I do not think any candid person can read your article without being much impressed with it. The old doctrine of immutability of specifics will surely but slowly die away. It is a shame to give you trouble, but I shd be very much obliged if you could tell me where differently coloured eggs in individuals of the Cuckoo have been described & their laying in 27 kinds of nests.6 Also do you know from your own observation that the lambs of sheep imported into W. Indies change colour. I have had detailed information about the loss of wool; but my accounts made the change slower than you describe.—7
With most cordial thanks & respect, Believe me | My dear Carpenter | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
WBC’s review [of Origin, Natl Rev. 10 (1860): 188–214] will do great good. It "turns the flanks of theological opposers" capitally.
Asks for information about cuckoo eggs and West Indian sheep.