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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-7135

To Edwin Ray Lankester   15 March [1870]1

Down Beckenham Kent

March 15.

My dear Sir

I do not know whether you will consider me a very troublesome man, but I have just finished your book & cannot resist telling you how the whole has much interested me.—2 No doubt, as you say, there must be much speculation on such a subject, & certain results cannot be reached; but all your views are highly suggestive, & to my mind that is high praise. I have been all the more interested as I am now writing on closely allied though not quite identical points. I was pleased to see you refer to my much despised child, Pangenesis who, I think, will some day under some better nurse turn out a fine stripling.—3

It has also much pleased me to see how thoroughly you appreciate (& I do not think that this is general with the men of science) H. Spencer:4 I suspect that hereafter he will be looked at as by far the greatest living philosopher in England, perhaps equal to any that have lived.— But I have no business to trouble you with my notions.— With sincere thanks for the interest which your work has given me, I remain, | yours very faithfully, | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

1
The year is established by the reference to Lankester’s On comparative longevity in man and the lower animals, which was published in 1870 (Lankester 1870).
2
There is an annotated copy of Lankester 1870 in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 482).
3
Lankester discussed CD’s hypothesis of pangenesis (see Variation 2: 357–404) in Lankester 1870, pp. 30–1, 35.
4
Lankester discussed Herbert Spencer’s ‘physiological units’ as an alternative to CD’s ‘gemmules’ in Lankester 1870, pp. 32, 35–8.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7135
From
Darwin, C. R.
To
Lankester, E. R.
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 249: 92

Summary

CD much interested by ERL’s book [On comparative longevity (1870)]. Is pleased to find ERL refers to CD’s "despised child" Pangenesis, and is also pleased how thoroughly ERL appreciates Herbert Spencer, a philosopher perhaps equal to any that has lived.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7135,” accessed on 2 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7135

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