To Charles Lyell 17 March 
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell.
I have been much interested by your letters & enclosure,1 & thank you sincerely for giving me so much time, when you must be so busy.— What a curious letter from B. de P. He seems perfectly satisfied & must be a very amiable man.2 I know something about his errors, & looked at his book many years ago, & am ashamed to think that I concluded the whole was rubbish!3 Yet he has done for man something like what Agassiz did for Glaciers.—4 I am astounded & truly grieved at what I read in your letter to Hooker about Falconer: I never read anything like his conduct about the monkey-case!5
With respect to your reference to Principles, it was in early part that I felt that others might feel bothered:6 I did not mark passages so cannot find without rereading, & I have no strength to spare.—
I cannot say that I agree with Hooker about the Public not liking to be told what to conclude, if coming from one in your position.7 But I am heartily sorry that I was led to make complaints, or something very like complaints, on manner in which you have treated subject; & still more so anything about myself.8 I steadily endeavour never to forget my firm belief that no one can at all judge about his own work. As for Lamarck, as you have such a man as Grove with you, you are triumphant;9 not that I can alter my opinion that to me it was an absolutely useless Book.—10 Perhaps this was owing to my always searching books for facts; perhaps from knowing my Grandfather’s earlier & identically the same speculation.—11
I will only further say that if I can analyse my own feelings (a very doubtful process) it as nearly as much for your sake, as for my own, that I so much wish that your state of belief could have permitted you to say boldly & distinctly out that species were not separately created. I have generally told you progress of opinion, as I have heard it on Species-question. A first-rate German naturalist (I now forget name!!) who has lately published grand folio has spoken out to the utmost extent on the “Origin”.—12 De Candolle in very good paper on Oaks goes, in Asa Gray’s opinion, as far as he himself does;13 but De Candolle in writing to me, says “we” “we” think this & that;14 so that I infer he really goes to full extent with me; & tells me of French good Bot. Palæontologist (name forgotten, Count Laperda or Saperda or some such name) who writes to De Candolle that he is sure that my views will ultimately prevail.—15
But I did not intend to have written to all this. It satisfies me with the final result; but this result I begin to see will take 2 or 3 life-times. The entomologists alone are enough to keep subject back for a century.16
I really pity you having to balance the claims of so many eager aspirants for notice; it is clearly impossible to satisfy all. By the way I can see that Lubbock is not satisfied with notice of his Somme paper!!17 Certainly I was struck with the full & due honour you conferred on Falconer.—18 I have just had note from Hooker;19 I think he forgets that he told me himself date of publication of his Essay.20 I am heartily glad that you have made him so conspicuous; he is so honest, so candid & so modest.21 He tells me that he has got more plants from Cameroon mountains & that he will discuss mundane cold period.—22
I have read Owen’s Aye-Aye:23 I could find nothing to lay hold of, which in one sense I am very glad of, as I shd. hate a controversy; but in another sense I am very sorry for, as I long to be in the same boat with all my friends; & I had written so good a letter(!) all ready, with a blank for his sentence claiming more than he had any right to; but I could pick out no such sentence. Hooker says he so despises him that he cannot hate him:24 I do not know whether this a right frame of mind, but by Jove it is not my frame of mind.
I am heartily glad the Book is going off so well.—25
Ever yours | C. Darwin
I quite agree with what you say about Huxley & about the Review.26 The Review, however, is excellent.— As I have spoken against entomologists; see in next number a notice by me on Bates’ paper on mimetic resemblances;27 it is, I think, worth your reading, & will give you cream of facts.
His better opinion [of work of Boucher de Perthes].
Explains his position on CL’s treatment of species.
Mentions positive response to his ideas on the part of a German professor [Ernst Haeckel], Alphonse de Candolle, and a botanical palaeontologist [Gaston de Saporta].
Notes negative reaction of entomologists.
Mentions Falconer’s objections [to Antiquity].
Mentions work of Hooker.
Comments on paper by Owen ["On the aye-aye", Rep. BAAS 32 (1862) pt 2: 114–16]
and CD’s review of Bates’s paper [Collected papers 2: 87–92].
Thinks Natural History Review is excellent.
- botanical palaeontologist
- Candolle, Alphonse de
- Falconer, Hugh
- German professor
- Haeckel, E. P. A.
- Hooker, J. D.
- Saporta, L. C. J. G. de
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4047,” accessed on 4 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4047