To Miles Joseph Berkeley 7 September 1868
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
Sep 7 1868
My dear Sir
I am very much obliged to you for having sent me your Address (which however I had read in the Gard. Chron.)1 for I thus gain a fair excuse for troubling you with this note to thank you for your most kind & extremely honorable notice of my works.2
When I tell you that ever since I was an under-graduate at Cambridge I have felt towards you the most unfeigned respect, from all that I continually heard from poor dear Henslow3 & others of your great knowledge & original researches, you will believe me when I say that I have rarely in my life been more gratified than by reading your address; tho’ I feel that you speak much too strongly of what I have done. Your notice of Pangenesis has particularly pleased me, for it has been generally neglected or disliked by my friends; yet I fully expect that it will some day be more successful. I believe I quite agree with you in the manner in which the cast off atoms or so-called gemmules probably act; I have never supposed that they were developed into free cells, but that they penetrated other nascent cells & modified their subsequent development. This process, I have actually compared with ordinary fertilization. The cells thus modified, I suppose—cast off in their turn modified gemmules, which again combine with other nascent cells, & so on.4 But I must not trouble you any further.
Accept my cordial thanks & with sincere respect Pray believe me my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin
Appreciates MJB’s address [Rep. BAAS 38 (1868): 83–7]. Has had great respect for MJB’s knowledge since his undergraduate days at Cambridge.
Agrees that Pangenesis gemmules probably do not develop into free cells, but penetrate other cells in a manner analogous to fertilisation, and modify their development.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6353,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6353