From George Henslow 5 December 1871
17, Colville Terrace West, | Notting Hill, | W.
I have frequently been compelled to stand up amongst my clerical brethren & others on behalf not only of Evolution, but to condemn the wild & false assertions of your being an Atheist and all the rest of it!1 But I should very much like to hear from you if the following impression which I have is correct: viz. that when you speak of Chance in connection with Nat: Selection you leave it to be understood that higher natural laws (but undiscoverable at present) cause the issue of specific forms out of those ‘chance’ variations &c.2
If this be correct:—& I gather corroboration of such being your idea, from the topmost paragraph on p. 396. Vol II Descent of Man:3—all those calculations of Mathematicians (vide: to wit Mivart’s Genesis of Sp: pp 59 &c) are beside the real question entirely:4 Moreover if my idea be true, it removes the “Lucretian” colour to your opinions I have so frequently heard stated: and steadily oppose5
truly yours | Geo: Henslow
Has frequently defended evolution and natural selection among his clergy brethren.
Now elicits CD’s views on chance.