To William Turner 28 March 1
Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
I am much obliged for your kind note & especially for your offer of sending me some time corrections, for which I shall be truly grateful.—2 I know that there are many blunders, to which I am very liable.— There is a terrible one confusing the supra-condyloid foramen with another one. This, however, I have corrected in all the copies struck off after the first lot of 2500.—3
I daresay there will be a new Edition in the course of 9 months or year, & this I will correct, as well as I can. As yet, the publishers have kept up type & grumble dreadfully if I make heavy corrections.—4 I am very far from surprised that “you have not committed yourself to full acceptation” of the evolution of man.— Difficulties & objections there undoubtedly are enough & to spare to stagger any very cautious man who has much knowledge like yourself.—
I am now at work at my hobby-horse essay on Expression, & I have been reading some old notes of yours.5 In one you say, it is easy to see that the spines of the Hedge-hog are moved by the voluntary panniculus.6 Now can you tell me whether each spine has likewise an oblique unstriped or striped muscle as figured by Lister?7 Do you know whether the tail-covert of peacock or tail of Turkey are erected by unstriped or striped muscles, & whether these are homologous with the panniculus or with the single oblique unstriped muscles going to each separate hair in man & many animals?8 I wrote some time ago to Kölliker to ask this question (& in relation to quills of Porcupine) & I received a long & interesting letter, but he cd. not answer these questions.9 If I do not receive any answer (for I know how busy you must be) I will understand you cannot aid me
Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
I heard yesterday that Paget was very ill: I hope this is not true.10 What a loss he wd be: he is so charming a man.
P.S. As I am writing I will trouble you with one other question.— Have you seen anything or read of any facts, which would induce you to think that the mind being intently & long directed to any portion of the skin (or indeed any organ) would influence the action of the capillaries, causing them either to contract or dilate? Any information on this head wd be of great value to me,—as bearing on Blushing.11
If I remember right Paget seems to be a great believer in the influence of the mind in the nutrition of parts & even in causing disease.—12 It is awfully audacious on my part, but I remember thinking (with respect to the latter assertion on disease). when I read the passage, that it seemed rather fanciful, though I shd. like to believe in it.—
Sir H. Holland alludes to this subject frequently, of the influence of the mind on local circulation, but gives no clear evidence.—13
Discusses errors in Descent. Not surprised that WT is not committed to full acceptance of evolution of man.
At work on Expression. Asks about muscles that raise spines of hedgehog and tail coverts of peacock. Asks about influence of mind on capillaries with regard to blushing. Mentions views of James Paget on influence of the mind on nutrition of body parts.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7632,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7632