To Charles Lyell 14 [June 1860]
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell
We have been grievously disappointed in Etty having retrograded a little.1 I cannot work, so will pass a little time in scribbling to you.— I copy extract from letter of Blyth, who expresses much gratitude to you for interest about the Chinese Expedition.—2 I enclose letter of Hopkins, thinking that you might like to see it.— I fancy he is horrified about man; I have told him that I thought man must be included under same category with animals.3
I return by this Post 4 Pamphlets (Binney sent today by mistake in duplicate).4 I do not see much in Binney. Lowels review is pleasantly written; but it is clear he is not naturalist.5 He quite overlooks the importance of accumulation of mere individual differences; & which I think I can show is great agency of change under domestication. It is no wonder Agassiz denies varieties in animals, when he calls even the same forms in two distant countries, two species.—6
I have not finished Schaafhausen,7 as I read German so badly: I have ordered copy for self & shd. like to keep yours till my own arrives; but will return it to you instantly if wanted.— He admits statements rather rashly, as I daresay I do.— I see only one sentence as yet at all approaching nat. selection.8
There is notice of me in penultimate nor of “All the Year Round”, but not worth consulting; chiefly a well-done hash of my own words.—9 Your last note was very interesting & consolatory to me.10
I have expressly stated that I believe physical conditions have more direct effect on Plants than on animals.— But the more I study the more I am led to think that natural selection regulates in a state of nature most trifling differences.— As squared stones, or bricks, or timber are the indispensable materials for a building & influence its character; so is variability not only indispensable, but influential; Yet, in same manner, as the architect is the all-important person in a Building, so is Selection with organic bodies.—
I do not in least understand what A. Murray meant by Agassiz & ab ovo; but I did not much puzzle my brains on subject.—11
My dear Lyell | Yours affect. | C. Darwin
Blyth says in Sabines Translation of Wrangell’s Voyage Introduction p. 117 there is account of Flint tool fd. in ice.—12 Bears perhaps or Mastodon in ice &c. Worth looking to, I shd think Blyth thinks Esquimaux had no iron tools, when first discovered, refers to some Essay by Sir J. Richardson13
Mentions letters from Edward Blyth and William Hopkins.
Sees little in review of Origin by J. A. Lowell [Christian Examiner (1860): 449–64].
Sees only one sentence approaching natural selection in paper by Hermann Schaaffhausen. Emphasises importance of natural selection.
Comments on Agassiz’s view of species.
Cites account of flint tools in travel book by F. P. Wrangell [Narrative of an expedition to the Polar Sea (1840)]. Mentions Eskimo tools.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2832,” accessed on 1 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2832