To T. H. Huxley 21 September 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Huxley
Your letter has pleased me in many ways to a wonderful degree.2 I laughed over Mivart’s3 soul till my stomach was contracted into a ball, but that is a horrid sensation which you will not know.— What a wonderful man you are to grapple with those old metaphiso-divinity books. It quite delights me that you are going to some extent to answer & attack Mivart. His book, as you say, has produced a great effect: yesterday I perceived the reverberations from it even from Italy.4 It was this that made me ask Chauncey Wright to publish at my expence his article, which seems to me very clever, though ill-written.5 He has not knowledge enough to grapple with Mivart in detail. I think there can be no shadow of doubt that he is author of the article in Q. Review, in which he shows such scorn & spite towards me: this has mortified me, as he professed warm friendship towards me.6 Did you notice how coolly he assumes, without consulting my authorities, that I had mistaken the malar bone & premaxilla.—7 I wrote to Italy, & have received a fresh paper on Subject.8 I am preparing a new Edit. of Origin, & shall introduce a new chapter in answer to miscellaneous objections, & shall give up greater part to answer Mivart’s cases of difficulty of incipient structures being of no use; & I find it can be done easily.—9 He never states his case fairly & makes wonderful blunders. I have just had through great kindness of A. Agassiz abstract of his unpublished observations on the pedicellariæ of Echinodermata, showing beautifully their gradation & useful development.—10 I shall confine myself to details, & not enter on any general discussion with Mivart.— His Genesis at first appeared to me very formidable, on the principle of aggregation; but after maturely considering all that he has said, I never before in my life felt so convinced of the general truth of the Origin.— The pendulum is now swinging against one side, but I feel positive it will soon swing the other way; & no mortal man will do half as much as you in giving it a start in the right direction, as you did at the first commencement. God forgive me for writing so long & egotistical a letter; but it is your fault, for you have so delighted me; I never presumed that you would have time to say a word in defence of the cause which you have so often defended. It will be a long babble, after we are dead & gone, as we may infer from Malthus even yet not being understood.11 Great is the power of misrepresentation.
Give my love to all your family, including the dear little upcast or downcast fellow.12 | Ever yours | C. Darwin
On Mivart’s Genesis of species, and THH’s intention to reply to it.
Chauncey Wright’s pamphlet [see 7940].
CD is revising Origin and will answer Mivart on incipient organs. "Pendulum is swinging against us, but will swing back again".
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Huxley, T. H.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 279)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7958,” accessed on 7 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7958