To Joseph Leidy 4 March 1
Down Bromley Kent
I received a few days ago your note of Decr 10th & your most generous present of a whole bundle of your publications, which I value most highly & am extremely glad to possess.—2
Your note has pleased me more than you would readily believe; for I have during a long time heard all good judges speak of your palæontological labours in terms of the highest respect.3 Most palæontologists (with some few good exceptions) entirely despise my work; consequently approbation from you has gratified me much.— All the older geologists (with the one exception of Lyell, whom I look at as a host in himself) are even more vehement against the modification of species than are even the palæontologists. I have, however, been equally surprised & pleased at finding that several of the younger geologists who are now doing such good work in our geological survey, go with me & are as strong, as I can be, on the imperfection of the geological record.—4
Your sentence that you have some interesting facts “in support of the doctrine of selection, which I shall report at a favourable opportunity”, has delighted me even more than the rest of your note.5 I feel convinced that, though as long as I have strength I shall go on working on this subject, yet that the sole way of getting my views partially accepted will be by sound workers showing that they partially accept them. I say partially, for I have never for a moment doubted, that though I cannot see my errors, that much in my Book will be proved erroneous.—
Pray forgive this egotistical note & with cordial thanks for your letter & kind present, believe me Dear Sir, with sincere respect, Your obliged | Charles Darwin
JL’s approval of CD’s work is gratifying. Most palaeontologists despise it. Delighted that JL has some interesting facts "in support of … selection". Is sure his views will be partially accepted. Has never doubted that "much in my Book will be proved erroneous".