To Charles Lyell 1 [June 1860]
Down Bromley Kent
Friday night— 1st.
My dear Lyell
Poor Etty’s fever drags on its weary course & Sunday will be five weeks.— I believe there is no cause yet for serious anxiety, but we have sent for Sir H. Holland1 to aid our local Doctor.—
I sent yesterday A. Murray’s review:2 the speculative parts seem to me weak. I am not convinced that I have misrepresented Schiödte.—3 Have you seen Hopkins in the new Fraser?4 the public will I shd think, find it heavy. He will be dead against me as you prophesied; but he is generously civil to me personally. On his standard of proof, natural science would never progress; for without the making of theories, I am convinced there would be no observation.5 I have ordered the Future,6 & have begun reading the N. British,7 which so far strikes me as clever.
Phillips’ Lecture at Cambridge is to be published.8
All these reiterated attacks will tell heavily; there will be no more converts & probably some will go back. I hope you do not grow disheartened. I am determined to fight to the last.— I hear, however, that the great Buckle highly approves of my Book.—9
I have had note from poor Blyth of Calcutta, who is much disappointed at hearing that L. Canning will not grant any money;10 so I much fear that all your great pains will be thrown away.11 Blyth says (& he in many respect a very good judge) that his ideas on Species are quite revolutionised.
I send Asa Gray’s letter,12 though it is really not worth sending; & do not return it till you have occasion to write; though if I were not the most honourable of men, I should jump at the excuse of getting a note from you & require his letter back soon.—
I have never attended to gestation of dog question,13 thinking it’s importance overrated, as the period is known to be variable in many of our domestic animals.— But I have begun to make some enquiries, & have got accurate return from excellent stud of Grey-hounds—period varies from 60— or 61 (according as 1st day reckoned)—to 65 or 66 days.
I do not think lowness of Rodents has any bearing on the question of fertility of Hybrids, as plants, & even Fuci, follow same general laws in these respects with animals.—
My dear Lyell | Ever yours | C. Darwin
Comments on review of Origin by Andrew Murray [Proc. R. Soc. Edinburgh 4 (1860): 274–91] and views of William Hopkins on Origin ["Physical theories and the phenomena of life" Fraser’s Mag. 61 (1860): 739–52; 62 (1860): 74–90]. The attacks will tell heavily.
Mentions Blyth’s failure to receive appointment as naturalist to China expedition of 1860.
Encloses letter from Asa Gray.
Discusses gestation period in domesticated dogs.
Comments on hybrid fertility.
- fertility and/or sterility
- negative attitude/assessment
- reception of Darwinism
- scientific fieldwork/fieldtrips
- time and age (‘organic’ time)
- wild vs domestic forms
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2820,” accessed on 25 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2820