To Caroline Darwin 27 February 1837
Monday, Feb.y 27th 1837.1
My dear Caroline
It is nearly twelve o’clock, but before going to bed I will write my last letter from Cambridge.— I have just been reading a short paper to the Philosoph. Socy of this place, and exhibiting some specimens & giving a verbal account of them.2 It went off very prosperously & we had a good discussion in which Whewell & Sedgwick took an active part.— Sedgwick has just come from Norwich & we have been drinking tea with him.— He always enquires very particularly about my Father and all of you.— I really sometimes think he will go mad; he is so very absent & odd, but a more high-minded man does not anywhere exist. On Friday morning I migrate. My Cambridge life is ending most pleasantly.— You enquired in yr last letter about Lyell’s Speech; very little was said about me, as of course he could only allude to published accounts.—3 But if you think it worth while I will send it down to you,—(and at the same time the Missionary paper, which has arrived from C. of Good Hope.) I heard from Lyell yesterday, he says it will be published in two or three days.— He wants me to be up on Saturday for a party at Mr Babbage, who has sent me a card for his parties this season Lyell says Babbage’s parties are the best in the way of literary people in London—and that there is a good mixture of pretty women—4
You tell me you do not see what is new in Sir J. Herschell’s idea about the chronology of the old Testament being wrong.— I have used the word Chronology in dubious manner, it is not to the days of Creation which he refers, but to the lapse of years since the first man made his wonderful appearance on this world— As far as I know everyone has yet thought that the six thousand odd years has been the right period but Sir J. thinks that a far greater number must have passed since the Chinese, the [space left in copy], the Caucasian languages separated from one stock.—5
The other day I met at Mr Peacocks a dozen young lordlings.— You, who are a “Bishop”, will be pleased to hear that I feel quite full of admiration for these Lordlings.— It would have been very difficult to have picked a more intelligent, well informed set of men.— I happened to sit by the heir of the Howards:6 ought not my soul to be exalted?— It really is very curious the great change which a few years has made in the young men from the Upper classes.— A far larger proportion of them go on Sundays to St Marys to hear the Sermon, than from any other set amongst the Undergraduates.— I am sure my Father will say there is some glimmerings of common sense in this respect for young lords— Give my best love to all at home. Really I will not write another letter so untidy as this. My dear Caroline, write soon. I do so like hearing from home, and never mind whether the letters contain any news or not—only write, write, write—
Yours affectionly, | C. Darwin.
Has just given a paper [on "Sand tubes"] at Cambridge Philosophical Society and exhibited some specimens. It went well, with Whewell and Sedgwick taking an active part.
Herschel thinks 6000–odd years since the creation not nearly long enough to explain the separations from a single stock.
- creationism, religion
- positive attitude/assessment
- specimens / samples
- theory (including philosophy)
- time, ‘inorganic’ (geological, historical)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 346,” accessed on 24 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-346