From T. H. Huxley To St. G. J. Mivart [23 December 1874]
I am much obliged for the letter which you have sent me in reply to the message which Mr Roberts was kind enough to convey from me— The letter is marked private & confidential, & I have endeavoured to respect your wishes in that matter So far as such a course may be consistent with justice to those concerned 〈 〉 〈 〉 with its contents.
You tell me that you now regret the publication of the attack on Mr G. Darwin, & that the impression made upon your mind by his article, & under the influence of which you wrote, is not to be justified— And I gather that this regret & conviction that your attack was not justifiable have existed in 〈 〉 〈 〉 mind for some months— in fact ever since the article was published.
Under these circumstances, had I been in your position, there were two things I shd have felt it my duty to do. In the first place I should have written to Mr G. Darwin or to Mr D.— with whom you have been in friendly correspondence & offered him the fullest & frankest apology I cd put into words, & in the second place, I 〈 〉 〈 〉 requested the Ed. of the 〈 〉 to insert a note fully & fairly retracting all that cd be considered unjust & therefore offensive to Mr. G. D—
You did neither of these things, & when an apology was extorted from the J.— what appeared presumably with your sanction, if not from your hand, was a defence rather than a retractation.
Proceedings of this kind are not in accordance with what I understood to be the rules by which men shd endeavour to guide their conduct— & as I concur with Mr G. D that the charges made & insinuated against him are, as he says “absolutely false”—it will be obvious to you that our views on those points which I hold to be the most important of all to mankind, are too hopelessly divergent to readers familiar intercourse between us pleasant or adviseable
I am | Yours very truly | T. H. H—
A severe letter of rebuke to Mivart for his attack on G. H. Darwin.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9774,” accessed on 28 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-9774