Struck by singular clarity of EH's Generelle Morphologie. Remarks on various authors seem too severe. Severity leads the reader to take the side of the attacked person.
Making slow progress in correcting Variation.
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. Ap 12. My dear Sir
I hope you have returned home well in health, & that you have reaped
a rich harvest in natural science. I have been intending
for some time to write to you about your great work, of which I have lately
been reading a good deal. But it makes me almost mad
with vexation that I am able to read imperfectly only 2 or 3 pages at a
time. The whole book w
Your whole discussion on dysteologie has struck me as particularly good. But it is hopeless to specify this or that part; the
whole seems to me excellent. It is equally hopeless to attempt thanking you
for all the honours with which you so repeatedly crown me. I hope that you
will not think me impertinent if I make one criticism: some of your remarks
on various authors seem to me too severe; but I cannot judge well on this
head from being so poor a German scholar. I have however heard complaints
from several excellent authorities & admirers of your work on the
severity of your criticisms. This seems to me very
unfortunate for I have long observed that much severity leads the reader to
take the side of the attacked person. I can call to mind distinct instances
in which severity produced directly the opposite effect to what was
intended. I feel sure that our good friend Huxley,
though he has much influence, w
With respect to my own book on Variation under domestication I am making slow, but sure progress in correcting the proofs. I fear that it will interest you but little, & you will be struck how badly I have arranged some of the subjects which you have discussed. The chief use of my book will be in the large accumulation of facts by which certain propositions are I think established. I have indulged in one lengthened hypothesis, but whether this will interest you or any one else, I cannot even conjecture.
I hope before long you will write to me & tell me how you are & what you have been doing & believe me my dear Häckel yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
- f1 5500.f1The year is established by the reference to CD's working on the page-proofs of Variation (see CD's `Journal' (Appendix II)).
- f2 5500.f2Haeckel had spent from November 1866 to March 1867 travelling and doing research on Tenerife and Lanzarote (see Haeckel 1867; see also letter from Ernst Haeckel, 12 May 1867).
- f3 5500.f3CD had received a copy of Haeckel's Generelle Morphologie (Haeckel 1866) in late 1866 (see letter to Ernst Haeckel, 8 January 1867). There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library--CUL (see Marginalia 1: 355--7).
- f4 5500.f4CD wrote in his copy of Haeckel 1866, 2: 239: `good criticism on my term of struggle for existence—says ought to be confined to struggle between organisms for the same end—all other cases are dependance—Misseltoe depends on apple' (Marginalia 1: 356).
- f5 5500.f5Haeckel discussed dysteleology (`the study of functionless rudimentary organs in animals and plants': Chambers) in Haeckel 1866, 2: 266--85; these pages are annotated in CD's copy in the Darwin Library--CUL (see Marginalia 1: 356--7). CD cited Haeckel for his discussion of rudimentary organs in Descent 1: 17.
- f6 5500.f6CD had received letters criticising Haeckel 1866 from Julius Victor Carus and Fritz Müller (see letter from J. V. Carus, 5 April 1867, and letter to J. V. Carus, 11 April  and n. 7).
- f7 5500.f7Thomas Henry Huxley and Haeckel corresponded with one another; see Uschmann and Jahn 1959--60.
- f8 5500.f8CD refers to Variation, and to his `provisional hypothesis of pangenesis' (Variation 2: 357--404).