To Ernst Haeckel 19 July 1
Down Bromley Kent
I have been deeply interested by your most kind letter.—2 I naturally feel much curiosity on the progress of opinion on the descent of species, & I am delighted to hear that the subject is progressing in Germany which so abounds with great naturalists.— But what you tell me about yourself interests me the most, & I thank you sincerely for your confidence. I feel what you say in praise of my book & your intention of carrying onwards & perfecting the subject, as by far the greatest honour which could be paid me. I was shewn in London your magnificent work on Radiolariæ.3 The passage which you refer to was pointed out to me & I was struck by it & admired the boldness of your expressions.4
I am grieved to hear that you have suffered any heavy calamity;5 but at so early a period of life I cannot but hope that time, the great allayer of all evils, will do much for you. I am rendered by ill–health old for my years, which are 56,6 but I still feel a lively interest on many subjects, & your letter has delighted me. I have thought that perhaps you wd like to have a photograph of me (lately taken by one of my sons) & which I enclose.7 Some time I hope that you will have the goodness to send me your photograph, as I should much like to possess a copy.
I am very much obliged for your promised book, which I will read with care, for what you say on individual variability in the Cœlenterata is very remarkable; & this kind of variability has been greatly neglected by naturalists.8 I have however a very bad head for languages; & every German book takes me a long time which is a great evil, there is so much to read in German. I am slowly recovering from a long illness, which has quite prevented all work; but I hope soon to resume my nearly finished book on “Variation under Domestication”;9 in the mean time, I have been doing a little easy Botanical work, & one of the papers which I have prepared, will possibly interest you as it relates to reproduction & when printed I will send you a copy.10
This kind of work being in some degree new to me, I have been much struck with the interest which the theory of descent & modification gives to all researches in Natural History; for I was able to use my own views with a feeling of novelty almost as if I had only lately learnt them.
Pray present my respects to Schleicher & Gegenbaur.11 I am much pleased to know that men so distinguished agree to a large extent with my views.
Accept my cordial thanks for your long letter which has interested me in a high degree
I remain with much respect | Dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin
Thanks for praise [of Origin].
Comments on EH’s Die Radiolarien.
Grieved EH has suffered calamity [death of Anna Sethe Haeckel].
CD recovering from long illness.
Doing easy botanical work.
Discusses reception of CD’s views in Germany.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4569,” accessed on 23 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4569