To J. D. Hooker 27 December 1
Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.
My dear Hooker
I return Mrs Gray’s most feeling & charming letter, which we have read with great interest.2
I have not heard from Mivart, & I do not expect to do so, as if he intended to write it would have been natural, for him to have done so at once.3 I am not so good a Christian as you & cannot forgive a man for malicious lying, merely because he says he is sorry. Mivart knows that I do not live in that world, & have no influence, & cannot write savagely, & therefore he will not be at the trouble to apologise to George & myself.— I will let you hear immediately if he does write, & if you do not hear you can judge by date of his letter to Huxley’s, how much law he ought to be allowed.4 It still seems to me the most manly & simple line for me to take is to write to Mivart & say what I think of his conduct, & thus come to a dead cut: I am sure that this will be the pleasantest course for me, in case I ever meet him.—
I am very glad you have got through Christmas day, as anniversaries after a heavy loss are often most painful.5
Farewell my dear old friend. Your conduct & sympathy in this odious Mivart affair has been most generous.—
Yours affect | Ch. Darwin
P.S. When I write to Mivart, I shall not allude to his confession to Huxley, but shall simply state that the article was written by him, of which fact I was firmly convinced before he owned to it.— I hope that you will not ask him to apologise publickly or privately to me; as an extorted apology wd be valueless.— He could not put a recantation in the Quarterly, stultifying & contradicting his shabby rejoinder when he thought himself unknown.6 And an apology in any other periodical will only stir up the dirt, & more of it, as Litchfield7 thinks, would stick to George, who, I do not doubt, has already been injured by the lying scoundrel.—
Has not heard from Mivart. He is not so good a Christian as JDH and cannot forgive a man for malicious lying merely because he says he is sorry. Does not think Mivart will apologise. Still thinks the simple, most manly thing, is to write to Mivart directly and tell him what he thinks of him.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9785,” accessed on 17 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-9785