To Charles Lyell 15 and 16 [February 1860]
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell
It is very goodnatured in you to write & tell me so many things which are very interesting to me. Bravard’s discoveries seem to me magnificent, & especially interesting is the fact of Palæotherium Paranense, taken with (I think) the Nebraska Palæotherium.1 Bravard has sent me two Spanish pamphlets (which I find to my surprise I can hardly translate) in which he has strange geological doctrine, of whole enormous Pampean deposit being a subaerial deposit.—2 He disputes the coembedment of the Bahia Blanca fossils with recent shells; but I am by no means convinced. It seems to me impossible that a whole skeleton, (even to knee-cap) could be washed out of one formation & embedded in another & that other formation a turbulent one with largish pebbles & cross layers.—
I am perfectly convinced (having read this morning) that the Review in Annals is by Wollaston:3 no one else in the world would have used so many parentheses. I have written to him & told him that the “pestilent” fellow thanks him for his kind manner of speaking about him.4 I have also told him that he wd. be pleased to hear that the B. of Oxford says it is the most unphilosophical work he has ever read.—5 The review seems to me clever & only misinterprets me in a few places. Like all hostile men he passes over the explanation given of Classification, Morphology, Embryology & Rudimentary organs &c.— —
I read Wallace’s paper in M.S & thought it admirably good: he does not know that he has been anticipated about depth of intervening sea determining distribution.6 The expression “coincidence” in time & space between new & old species is unfortunate, as he believes, as we do, that new species are very slowly formed.—7 The most curious point in Paper seems to me that about the African character of the Celebes productions;8 but I shd. require further confirmation: I believe the aberrant Anoa, or so-called Antelope is really a small Buffalo.—
That is a very very interesting fact of the Loess Man belonging to peculiar of man;9 do get that well worked out.— 10 Remember what you told me of fossil monkey; very man-like in middle Tertiaries. I will send (when I get from Hooker) Asa Gray’s capital review.—11 Henslow is staying here:12 I have had some talk with him: he is in much same state as Bunbury13 & will go a very little way with us, but brings up no real argument against going further. He, also, shudders at the Eye!14 It is really curious (& perhaps is an argument in our favour) how differently different opposers view the subject.— Henslow used to rest his opposition on imperfection of Geolog: Record, but he now thinks nothing of this, & says I have got well out of it; I wish15 I could quite agree with him. Baden Powell says he never read anything so conclusive as my statement about the Eye!!16 A stranger writes to me about “sexual selection” & regrets that I boggle about such a trifle as the brush of Hair on Male Turkey. And so on.—
As L. Jenyns has a really philosophical mind, & as you say you like to see everything, I send an old letter of his.17 In a later letter to Henslow which I have seen, he is more candid than any opposer I have heard of; for he says though he cannot go as far as I do, yet he can give no good reason why he should not.— 18 It is funny how each man draws his own imaginary line at which to halt.— It reminds me so vividly what I was told about you, when I first commenced geology, to believe a little but on no account to believe all.—19
Ever yours affect | C. Darwin
I hope you will succeed in finding out what the great Celts were used for, it bears on state of civilisation of the old natives.—20
Henslow means this spring to visit the Celt-Beds in France21
Many thanks for Bunbury letter received this morning & for your note.—22 I doubt whether I use term Natural Selection more as a Person, than writers use Attraction of Gravity as governing the movement of Planets &c. but I suppose I could have avoided the ambiguity.
Auguste Bravard’s discoveries magnificent.
Bravard has sent pamphlets [Observaciones geológicas (1857) and Monografia de los terrenos marinos terciarios (1858)] with strange doctrine that Pampean deposit is subaerial.
Review of Origin by Wollaston [Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 3d ser. 5 (1860): 132–43] clever and misinterprets CD only in a few places.
Wallace’s MS ["Zoological geography of the Malay Archipelago", J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Zool.) 4 (1860): 172–84] admirably good.
Henslow "will go very little way with us". "He, also, shudders at the eye!"
Baden Powell says CD’s statement about eye is conclusive.
Leonard Jenyns cannot go as far as CD, yet cannot give good reason.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2700,” accessed on 30 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2700