To Charles Lyell 11 August 
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell.
I was very glad to get your letter.1 We have returned home about a week.2 Etty stood the journey well & has decidedly improved a little. One of her most dangerous symptoms has disappeared; but the pulse keeps sadly too high. The Doctors, however, all keep sanguine. They say her face does not look like serious organic mischief.— Hope on is our motto; but of course all this anxiety has much interrupted my work.—
I have laughed at Woodward thinking that you were a man who could be influenced in your judgment by the voice of the public;3 & yet after mentally sneering at him, I was obliged to confess to myself that I had had fears, what the effect might be of so many heavy guns fired by great men.—4 As I have (sent by Murray) a spare Quarterly R. I send it by this post; as it may amuse you.—5 The anti-jacobin part amused me.— It is full of errors; & Hooker is thinking of answering it.6 There has been a cancelled page; I shd like to know what gigantic blunder it contained. Hooker says that Owen has played on the Bishop & made him strike whatever note he liked; he has wished to make the article as disagreeable to you as possible. I will send the Athenæum in a day or two.7
There has been a second discussion before the American Academy, in which A. Gray argued capitally, but my copy was imperfect so I could not send it to the Athenæum.8
By the way the other day Owen sent me a copy of one of his Reports,9 so he does not wish to come to quarrel with me.
As you wish to hear what Reviews have appeared, I may mention that Agassiz has fired off shot in last Silliman—not good at all—denies variations & rests on perfection of geological evidence.10 Asa Gray tells me that a very clever friend has been almost converted to our side by this Review of Agassiz’s.11 Rudolph Wagner has published in Germany abstract of Agassiz Essay on classification in relations to “Darwins ansichten”, & concludes that the truth lies between us;12 & this will make Agassiz savage. Talking of Germany Huxley tells me the grand news that the truly great Von Baer is much interested with the Origin & goes a long way with us; & that he has spoken publicly & in letter to Huxley says he will perhaps publish on subject.— 13
Prof. Parsons has published in same Silliman a speculative paper correcting my notions—worth nothing.—14 In Highland Agricult Journal, there is Review by some entomologist—not worth much.—15 This is all that I can remember; I forget whether I said that there was a third article very good & geological & favourable in London Review;16 I cannot think who author can be.— As Huxley says the platoon-firing must soon cease. Hooker & Huxley & Asa Gray, I see, are determined to stick to the battle, & not give in.— I am fully convinced that whenever you publish, it will produce great effect on all trimmers, & on many others.— By way I forgot to mention Daubeny’s pamphlet—very liberal & candid; but scientifically weak.—17
I believe Hooker is going nowhere this summer: he is excessively busy. Mrs. H. is at Worthing, & their Baby has been very delicate & in precarious health. He has written me many most nice letters.— I shall be very curious to hear on your return some news of your Geological doings. Talking of geology, you used to be interested about the “pipes” in the chalk.—18 About 3 years ago a perfectly circular hole suddenly appeared in a flat grass field to everyone’s astonishment & was filled up with many waggon loads of earth; & now 2 or 3 days ago, again it has circularly subsided about two feet more.— How clearly this shows what is still slowly going on.—
This morning I recommenced work & am at dogs— when I have written my short discussion on them; I will have it copied & if you like you can then see how the argument stands about their multiple origin. As you seemed to think this important; it might be worth your reading; though I do not feel sure that you will come to same probable conclusion that I have done.—19
By the way, the Bishop makes a very telling case against me by accumulating several instances, where I speak very doubtfully; but this is very unfair, as in such cases, as this of the Dog the evidence is & must be very doubtful.—
Good night with kindest remembrances to Lady Lyell & all your party— | Believe me my dear Lyell | Ever yours most truly | C. Darwin
Comments on his fear that "so many heavy guns fired by great men" might influence the public and scientists.
Sends CL the Owen-inspired Wilberforce review [Q. Rev. 108 (1860): 225–64].
Mentions defence of Origin by Asa Gray at American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Agassiz and Theophilus Parsons have poor criticisms ["Prof. Agassiz on the origin of species", Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 30 (1860): 142–54].
Lists other negative reviews by Rudolph Wagner ["An essay on classification by Louis Agassiz", Göttingische Gelehrte Anz. (1860) pt 2: 761–800], Charles Daubeny ["Remarks on the final causes of the sexuality of plants, with particular reference to Mr Darwin’s work On the origin of species by natural selection", Rep. BAAS 30 (1860) pt 2: 109–10], and two anonymous ones (one favourable).
Huxley says K. E. von Baer "goes a long way with us".
Comments on "pipes" in chalk as evidence of geological processes still at work.
Is writing on origin of dog breeds [Variation 1: 15–43].
- constant varieties, races
- negative attitude/assessment
- negative criticism of correspondent
- positive attitude/assessment
- reception of Darwinism
- species, speciation
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2895,” accessed on 1 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2895