To Charles Lyell [5 July 1845]1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Lyell
I send you the first Part of the new Edition, which I so entirely owe to you.— You will see that I have ventured to dedicate it to you2 & I trust that this cannot be disagreeable. I have long wished, not so much for your sake as for my own feelings of honesty, to acknowledge more plainly than by mere references, how much I geologically owe you.— Those authors, however, who like you, educate people’s minds as well as teach them special facts, can never, I should think, have full justice done them except by posterity, for the mind thus insensibly improved can hardly perceive its own upward ascent.— I had intended putting in the present acknowledgment in the Third Part of my geology, but its sale is so exceedingly small that I should not have had the satisfaction of thinking, that as far as lay in my power, I had owned, though imperfectly, my debt.— Pray do not think, that I am so silly, as to suppose that my dedication can anyways gratify you, except so far as I trust you will receive it, as a most sincere mark of my gratitude & friendship.—
I think I have improved this edition; especially the 2d Part, which I have just finished; I have added a good deal about the Fuegians & cut down into half that mercilessly long discussion on climate & glaciers &c.—3 I do not recollect anything added to this 1st Part, long enough to call your attention to: there is a page descriptive of a very curious breed of oxen in B. Oriental.—4 I shd like you to read the few last pages; there is a little discussion on extinction, which will not perhaps strike you as new, though it has so struck me & has placed in my mind all difficulty with respect to the causes of extinction, in the same class with other difficulties, which are generally quite overlooked & undervalued by naturalists: I ought, however, to have made my discussion longer & shown by facts, as I easily could, how steadily every species must be checked in its numbers.5
I received your Travels6 yesterday; & I like exceedingly its external & internal appearance: I read only about a dozen pages last night (for I was tired with Hay-making) but I saw quite enough to perceive how very much it will interest me & how many passages will be scored: I am pleased to find a good sprinkling of Nat. History: I shall be astonished if it does not sell very largley.—
Remember me most kindly to Mrs Lyell & tell her that Emma remains in her most wearisome statu quo.—7 How sorry I am to think that we shall not see you here again for so long:8 I wish you may knock yourself a little bit up before you start, & require a day’s fresh air before the ocean-breezes blow on you.—
Will you please to remember me to Miss Lyell & give my respectful compliments to Mr Lyell9 | and believe me my dear Lyell | Ever yours | C. Darwin
Sends the first part of Journal of researches [2d ed.]. Explains his dedication of book to CL. Describes revisions.
Has received CL’s book [Travels in North America, 2 vols. (1845)].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 882,” accessed on 21 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-882