From F. W. Farrar 6 November 1865
Nov 6. 1865.
I can say with perfect sincerity that your word of approval is to me the most pleasant result which my “Chapters on Language” have yet procured me.1 That the theory which I have advocated appears to you to rest on secure grounds is to my mind a great confirmation of its reasonableness.
With regard to the “Origin of Species〈”〉 I am not vain enough to claim the right of attaching any great value to my own opinion.2 Perhaps my Polygenist prejudices may have led me to it, although I am aware that your views are not absolutely incompatible with a belief in the primordial diversity of the present families of the human race,—since it is of course conceivable that there may have been different lines of development each terminating in a specific human type.3 Still I suppose that you would hardly hold this view, & I see that Prof. Huxley in the little book which you name, & which I possess, distinctly gives in his adhesion to Monogenism.4 Now I confess that, so far as I can see, History, & even Tradition, as far back as their primeval dawn, prove to us the existence of the several human races unchanged from their present physical characteristics; & if it be demonstrable that, under every possible variety of external influence & physical condition, the chief existing races have remained unaltered for say 5000 years—is not this a very strong argument for the Polygenist?—5
My state of mind however on this question is a mere suspension of assent & nothing would surprise me less than the discovery of some fresh palæontological fact, or the artificial production of some new species, which would practically decide the question in favour of your hypothesis.6
I am so ignorant on these subjects that I only hope that I have been saying nothing absurd. Pray pardon me if I have. Since in your former note you were so good as to mention some Ethnological papers of mine,7 I have taken the liberty of enclosing one of my anonymous contributions to the Anthropological Review, which may possibly have a moment’s interest for you, though I fear it is very crude.8
I hope that you will not take the trouble to acknowledge it, and that you will believe me to be, with very great respect, | Your’s very faithfully, | Frederic W Farrar.
Grateful for CD’s approval of Chapters on language.
Is inclined to believe that the races of man were primordially distinct.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4933,” accessed on 11 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4933