To James Philip Mansel Weale 23 January 1
Down Bromley | Kent
My dear Sir
I congratulate you sincerely on your marriage, & I hope you will be happy & prosperous in your new life as a settler.2 I have always thought that there was a great charm in a settler’s life, & much better for the children than to struggle in this thickly packed country. I can well understand your regret at not soon revisiting your home. If you had been now in England you wd have had a chance for the botanical chair at Oxford; for they have found the greatest difficulty in finding any man who has done any botanical work.3
I thank you very cordially for your fresh information upon expression.4 I am sorry to hear from you so poor an account of the progress of civilization in S. Africa; but I have heard in other places of the great want of practical sense in the missionaries.5 It is quite intelligible to me that the bad government which you see round you leads you to doubt much about democracy. I fear much for England, as we shall soon be an almost pure democracy.6
I have heard nothing from Huxley as yet about the photograph of the Bushwoman;7 but I have received, together with your paper on the Bonatea, the striking photographs of many natives, but the scale is too small.8 I shall be glad to see your paper on the beautiful Orchis to which you refer; but so much has been published on the fertilization of these plants that I am doubtful whether any except very striking cases are worth publishing.9 Your belief in glacial action, unless it be supported by the clearest evidence will be disbelieved (if published) & will discredit you, as has lately occurred in the case of Brazil & Agassiz.10
You speak of the glacial period in the S. hemisphere as not having been severe; I do not know whether you have seen my paper published years ago in Geolog. Trans. on this period in S. America, where I think it must have been severe.11 If you send me your paper please to inform me what I am to do with it. I cannot help you with respect to the great African travellers, as from hardly ever leaving home owing to ill health I know none of them. Mr R. Trimen came here the other day, & I had much pleasure in seeing him.12 According to your request I enclose my photograph & shd be much obliged for yours.13
Your varied pursuits & tastes must make your life very interesting & I hope you will make many valuable discoveries in Nat. History
Believe me my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Weale, J. P. M.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Paul Victorius Evolution Collections, MSS 314, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
- Physical description
Thanks for information on expression.
Poor progress of civilisation in South Africa. CD’s doubts and fears about democracy.
JPMW’s views on glaciation in S. Africa will discredit him unless supported by clearest evidence.
- expression, emotion
- ice, ice-action, icebergs, glaciers
- negative criticism of correspondent
- social behaviour
- theory (including philosophy)
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5795,” accessed on 27 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-5795