From T. R. R. Stebbing 5 March 1869
Tor Crest Hall, | Torquay.
March 5th. 1869.
My dear Sir,
It may be interesting to you to know that I began the perusal of your works with the common prejudices strong upon me, and a very impertinent expectation that I should find a damaging flaw somewhere or another in your argument.
It was a vast surprize to me and soon became a great pleasure to find what was the real character of these insidious writings, which even men of considerable scientific attainments seemed anxious to taboo. Of course I had to undergo the useful pang of giving up some opinions on which I had formerly been very positive; but in return there was laid before me a view of the world’s history, so simple, so harmonious, so unlike the chaotic shreds and patches that most histories are made up of, that I should have felt genuine admiration, even had I not been also convinced.
Incidentally, I may add, it was no slight pleasure to “an orthodox clergyman” to find in his Author’s calm and temperate style that Science might make gigantic strides without offering such collateral opinions as, if true, would certainly dispense with clergymen altogether, whether orthodox or otherwise.
The kind letter in which you approve my slight attempt to get people to study your works for themselves has afforded me one more gratification.1
Believe me | Yours most faithfully | Thomas R. R. Stebbing.
Charles Darwin Esq
Explains how he, as "an orthodox clergyman" reading CD’s works, was totally convinced by his arguments. Expresses pleasure "that Science might make gigantic strides without offering such collateral opinions as, if true, would certainly dispense with clergymen altogether".
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6643,” accessed on 6 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6643