To G. H. Darwin 19 October 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
My dear George,
We have been greatly interested by your whole letter.2 As I believe that no one can tell whether he can lecture fairly well, until he has tried, & whether his nerves will stand the exertion (& I imagine a person out of health wd be more apt to break down than another), I shd. certainly think it much safer for you to have had a trial in some smaller place & not before the elite of London, as at the R. Institution. But if you think you could succeed I am rather strongly of opinion it wd. be better to take up your new views of Pol. Economy rather than Dress:— I think this latter subject wd. rather rash for a young man unless he was certain that he cd. make it very amusing.3 A man with an established reputation might make the trial & it wd. be thought merely a jeu d’esprit,4 & if it failed nothing more wd. be thought about it. This, however, wd. not be the case with a young man. Assuming that the Pol. Lecture was too abstruse & would interest very few, yet those who did not care about it, or understand it, would not complain: they wd. have a silent conviction that the lecture was worth giving, though they did not profit by it. By some reiteration, I shd think you could make your new view intelligible. No doubt it is a grt evil not having illustrations, & I suppose any wd. be impossible.— A lecture on this subject, wd., I imagine be as intelligible to the multitude as one of Clifford’s.5 I shd add, as one sign, that your mother did not care about your published article on dress. It is a great honour being asked by such a man as Spottiswoode to lecture, but reflect well before you accede. Could you consult him whether such a subject as Pol. Econ. giving him some notion wd. do?
Your health is a serious point in the problem—6
This is the result of my reflexions on the subject.—
We received the Quarterly yesterday, & am sorry I did not forward it at once, but thought that you wd have seen it. The last sentence of the rejoinder is decently fair.— I have written to Murray to thank him for the copy, & have told him that the rejoinder was a fine specimen of words having been used in a Pickwickian sense. I have also told him my conviction that Mivart was the author, & have expressed my plain opinion about the man’s malice & utter disregard of truth.7
I shd doubt whether going to Abinger was worth the cost.—8 Thank you for telling me about Balfour9
Yours affect | C. Darwin
On account of any proofs of Index let me hear whether you go to Abinger & how long you stay there. I do not believe book will be ready for Murray’s sale!!10
Advice to GHD on whether to accept invitation to lecture at the Royal Institution.
Murray has sent the Quarterly Review issue. CD has told Murray that he is convinced Mivart is the author and what he thinks of him.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9687,” accessed on 17 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-9687