From Roland Trimen 20 September 1871
24, Woburn Square, | London (W.C.)
20th. September, 1871.
My dear Mr. Darwin,
Many thanks for your kindness in sending me the critique on Mivart’s ‘Genesis of Species”.1 I seem to recognize the name of Chauncey Wright, but I cannot recall where I met with it. I like the critique very much in the main; partly no doubt, from the fact that I couldn’t get on at all with Mivart’s book when I tried to read it. I think that Mr. Wright very fairly points out Mivart’s deficiency in the mental grasp and range necessary for dealing with the great subject of your works. For my own part, I confess I could not follow the arguments in many parts of the “Genesis”, and where I could follow them I usually thought them weak if not fallacious. Mr. Wright’s illustration (p. 20) of the “obstructed path” across a field strikes me as a good one. Where he seems to me, however, to have quite lost his head is (at pp. 35–36) in his treatment of the Gospel record of Our Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus.2 It is inconceivable to me how anybody can expect to strengthen a scientific argument by quoting a few detached expressions from passages of the Scriptures which in their entirety deal with wholly different matters.
Your letter of May 24th. came back from the Cape yesterday, and I am much obliged for your kind answers to my inquiries.3 The moon does seem to a certain extent to attract moths; for all collectors will tell you that on bright moon-lit nights moths fly higher than they do on dark ones, and I have noticed that on such bright nights comparatively few are attracted by artificial light—the moon seeming to exert a strong counter-attraction.4
I was very sorry to hear so poor an account of your health from Albury, and trust that you are now feeling stronger.5
Permit me to offer my congratulations to Mrs. Darwin and yourself on your daughter’s marriage, which I lately saw notified in the papers.6
Very faithfully yours, | Roland Trimen.
On St G. J. Mivart’s Genesis of species and Chauncey Wright’s review of it [North Am. Rev. (July 1871)].