To T. H. Huxley 27 May 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Huxley
I have taken a long time to thank you for the Catalogue, the introduction to which I read with much interest.2 The cause has been that I have had a very bad month; but I know begin to hope that through the aid of an acquaintance of yours (Dr Chapman) my health will receive some considerable improvement from the application of ice to the spine.3
I write now to ask a favour of you, a very great favour from one so hard worked as you are. It is to read 30 pages of M.S, excellently copied out, & give me not lengthened criticism, but your opinion whether I may venture to publish it.4 You may keep the M.S. for a month or two. I wd not ask this favour, but I really know no one else whose judgment on the subject wd be final with me.
The case stands thus; in my next book5 I shall publish long chapters on bud—& seminal—variation, on inheritance, reversion, effects of use & disuse &c. I have also for many years speculated on the different forms of reproduction.6 Hence it has come to be a passion with me to try to connect all such facts by some sort of hypothesis. The M.S which I wish to send you gives such a hypothesis; it is a very rash & crude hypothesis yet it has been a considerable relief to my mind, & I can hang on it a good many groups of facts.7 I well know that a mere hypothesis, & this is nothing more, is of little value; but it is very useful to me as serving as a kind of summary for certain chapters. Now I earnestly wish for your verdict given briefly as “Burn it”—or, which is the most favorable verdict that I can hope for, “It does rudely connect together certain facts & I do not think it will immediately pass out of my mind” If you can say this much & you do not think it absolutely ridiculous I shall publish it in my concluding Chapter.8 Now will you grant me this favour? You must refuse if you are too much over worked—
I must say for myself that I am a hero to expose my hypothesis to the fiery ordeal of your criticism
Believe me my dear Huxley | yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin
Thanks for Catalogue.
Has had a bad month. Somewhat improved as a result of John Chapman’s ice-bag cures.
Asks THH to read MS on his hypothesis Pangenesis. THH only man whose judgment on it would be final with him.
- Letter no.
- Charles Robert Darwin
- Thomas Henry Huxley
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 214)
- Physical description