To J. D. Hooker 12 July 1
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.
My dear Hooker
Two of the kinds of seeds will be very useful to me; but why the others were sent by Col. Playfair, I know not, except from the abundance of his kindness.—2
I am sure I never heard of Curtis’ observations on Dioneæa; nor have I met with anything more than general statements about this plant or about Nepenthes catching insects &c—3
I have always thought the D. of Argyll wonderfully clever; but as for calling him “a little beggar” my inherited, instinctive feelings wd. declare it was a sin thus to speak of a real old Duke.—4
Your conclusion that all speculation about preordination is idle waste of time is the only wise one: but how difficult it is not to speculate. My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent design, or indeed of design of any kind in the details.— As for each variation that has ever occurred having been preordained for a special end, I can no believe in it, than that the spot on which each drop of rain falls has been specially ordained.—
Spontaneous generations seems almost as great a puzzle as preordination; I cannot persuade myself that such a multiplicity of organisms can have been produced, like crystals, in Bastian’s solutions of the same kind.—5 I am astonished that as yet I have met with no allusion to Wyman’s positive statement that if the solutions are boiled for 5 hours, no organisms appear; yet, if my memory serves me, the solutions when opened to air, immediately became stocked.6 Against all evidence I cannot avoid suspecting that organic particles (my gemmules from the separate cells of the lower creatures!) will keep alive & afterwards multiply under proper conditions.7 What an interesting problem it is.—
Your affect | C. Darwin
Has not heard of Curtis on Dionaea.
Duke of Argyll is clever, but it is a sin to speak of a real old Duke as a "little beggar".
"My theology is a simple muddle: I cannot look at the Universe as the result of blind chance, yet I can see no evidence of beneficent Design."
On spontaneous generation and Bastian.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7273,” accessed on 23 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7273