To James Shaw 30 November 1865
30th Nov. 1865.
Illness has prevented me sooner thanking you for your letter on the Origin, written with so much fervour and kindness.1 I am much gratified to hear that you have been defending my views, and in your country (Scotland), those who are bold enough to take this side of the question are few and far between.2 I am so weak, I must write briefly. I have reflected much on the question of beauty.3 It is a very complicated one. I quite agree with what you say on the beauty of birds, and the same view may be extended to butterflies and some other beings.4 I think I can show that the beauty of flowers and of many kinds of fruit is solely to attract, in the former case, insects for their intercrossing, and in the latter case, to attract birds for the dissemination of the seed.5
Gratified that JS defends views of Origin.
Thinks beauty of flowers is solely to attract insects.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4943,” accessed on 5 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4943