To T. H. Huxley 30 September 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear Huxley
It was very good of you to send the proof-sheets, for I was very anxious to read your article.2 I have been delighted with it. How you do smash Mivart’s theology; it is almost equal to your article versus Comte,—that never can be transcended.3 Mivart under his mild & pleasing & modest manners must have a good stock of self-sufficiency, not to say arrogance.— Nothing will vex him so much as this part of your review.— But I have been preeminently glad to read your discussion on his metaphysics, especially about reason & his definition of it.4 I felt sure he was wrong, but having only common observation & sense to trust to, I did not know what to say in any 2d Edit. of my Descent. Now a footnote & reference to you will do the work.—5
Good Heavens what a mess he has made of it. For me, this is one of most important parts of the Review. But for pleasure, I have been particularly glad that my few words on the distinction, if it can be so called, between Mivart’s two forms of morality, caught your attention. I am so pleased that you take the same view, & give authorities for it; but I searched Mill in vain on this head. How well you argue the whole case.6
I am mounting climax on climax; for after all there is nothing, I think, better in your whole review than your argument v. Wallace on intellect of savages.7 I must tell you what Hooker8 said to me a few years ago—“when I read Huxley, I feel quite infantile in, intellect.” By Jove I have felt the truth of this throughout your Review.— What a man you are.— There are scores of splendid passages, & vivid flashes of wit.—
I have been a good deal more than merely pleased by the concluding part of your Review, & all the more, as I own I felt mortified by Mivarts accusation of bigotry, arrogance &c. in the Q. Review, as he had expressed friendship, & as I liked him.9 But I assure you, he may write his worst, & he will never mortify me again—
My dear Huxley | Yours gratefully | Ch. Darwin
P.S. Since the above was written I have received your long & interesting letter. You are very good.—10
I daresay it is quite wise in Editor to delay publication; but I am naturally a little sorry.—11 I will forward sheets to Hooker at once; but I think I have right to have them back again—12
What you say about Mivart writing differently when anonymous & with his name is true.— In the Month, which preceded his Genesis, he used coarse abuse about Pangenesis & called it grossly atheistical—the most atheistical production which he had ever read, or something to that effect.—13 In Scientific Opinion the Editor inserted foot-note to the effect that it must not be supposed that the writer of the article in the Month, wished to depriciate me,—a good instance of he who excuses himself assures himself.14
Farewell— I am tired— Most hearty thanks.—
On THH’s review [see 7977] of Mivart’s Genesis of species and the Quarterly Review article on Descent.
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Huxley, T. H.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 283)
- Physical description
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7976,” accessed on 22 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7976