To F. W. Farrar 2 November 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
As I have never studied the science of language it may perhaps be presumptuous, but I cannot resist the pleasure of telling you what interest & pleasure I have derived from hearing read aloud your volume.—2
I formerly read Max Müller & thought his theory (if it deserves to be called so) both obscure & weak;3 & now after hearing what you say, I feel sure that this is the case & that your cause will ultimately triumph.4
My indirect interest in your book has been increased from Mr Hensleigh Wedgwood, whom you often quote, being my brother in law.5
No one could dissent from my views on the modification 〈o〉f species with more courtesy 〈t〉han you do.6 But from the 〈te〉nor of your mind I feel an entire & comfortable conviction (& which cannot possibly be disturbed) that if your studies led you to attend much to general questions in Natural History, you wd come to the same conclusions that I have done.
Have you ever read Huxley’s little book of Six Lectures7 I wd gladly send you a copy if you think you would read it.
Considering what Geology teaches us, the argument fo〈r〉 the supposed immutability of specific Types seems to me much the same as if, in a nation whic〈h〉 had no old writings, some wise ol〈d〉 savage was to say that his language had never changed; but my metaphor is too long to fill up.
Pray believe me dear Sir yours very sincerely obliged | Ch. Darwin
Has enjoyed FWF’s volume [Chapters on language]. Had found Max Müller’s theory obscure and weak.
Believes FWF would come to agree with him on species if he studied general questions in natural history. To argue for immutability of species on the basis of geology resembles a wise savage in a nation with no books saying his language has never changed.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Farrar, F. W.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- University of Virginia Library, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, Darwin Evolution Collection (3314)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4929,” accessed on 20 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4929