To B. D. Walsh 4 December 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
I have been greatly interested by your account of your American life.2 What an extraordinary & self-contained life you have led! & what vigour of mind you must possess to follow science with so much ardour after all that you have undergone.— I am very much obliged for your pamphlet on Geograph. Distrib,—on Agassiz &c.— 3 I am delighted at the manner in which you have bearded this lion in his den. I agree most entirely with all that you have written. What I meant, when I wrote to Agassiz to thank him for a bundle of his publications, was exactly what you suppose.4 I confess, however, I did not fully perceive how he had mistated my views; but I only skimmed through his “Method of Study” & thought it a very poor Book.— I am so much accustomed to be utterly misrepresented that it hardly excites my attention. But you really have hit the nail on the head capitally.5 All the younger good naturalists, whom I know think of Agassiz as you do; but he did grand service about Glaciers & Fish.—6 About the succession of forms, Pictet has given up his whole views,7 & no geologist now agrees with Agassiz.— I am glad that you have attacked Dana’s wild notions:8 I have a great respect for Dana, but I declare I fear that his long illness has somewhat enfeebled his brain.—9 If you have opportunity read in Transact. Linn. Soc.y. Bates on mimetic Lepidoptera of Amazons;10 I was delighted with his paper.—
I have got a notice of your views about the female Cynips inserted in N. Hist. Review; whether the notice will be favourable I do know not; but anyhow it will call attention to your views.—11 Many thanks about the connexion of male & female insects & their organs.—12 It occurred to me as just possible that the organs for oviposition might be very different in allied species; & that this might lead by correlation to differences in the male parts; but this was a simple groundless conjecture on my part, & not applicable anyhow to Bombus. Would species of Bombus copulate differently?13
I enclose a Photograph made of me by one of my sons, & I have no other.—14 I wrote to Westwood for a Carte for you, but I have received no answer.15 I have been told that he is most bitter about species, & perhaps wishes to show his feelings by this want of common courtesy to us both.—16
As you allude in your paper to the believers in change of species, you will be glad to hear that very many of the very best men are coming round in Germany.— I have lately heard of Häckel, Gegenbaur, F. Müller, Leuckart, Claparede, Alex. Braun, Schleiden &c &c.—17 So it is, I hear, with the younger Frenchmen.—18
Pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Discusses Agassiz’s misrepresentations of his views and J. D. Dana’s "wild notions".
The reception is friendlier from younger scientists in France, and many of the best men in Germany.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4695,” accessed on 27 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4695