Discusses the Duke of Argyll's book [Reign of law (1867)].
Cites his own views on diversity of structure and beauty.
Encloses letter from Wallace. Sexual selection: evidence advanced by Wallace.
Discusses correlation of growth.
Comments on article in the North British Review [by Fleeming Jenkin].
Discusses the evidence from physics on the age of the earth.
[Four pages of the final letter are missing, but the draft is complete.]
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. June 10 My dear M
I have been deeply interested by your letter. I have looked through my whole large
collection of pamphlets on the ``Origin'' & the only thing which I
can find at all answering to y
I have just finished reading the Duke's book & N. Brit. Rev.; & I sh
No doubt sexual selection seems very improbable when one looks at a
peacock's tail, but it is an error to suppose that the female selects each detail of
colour. She merely selects beauty, & laws of growth determine the varied zones
of colour: thus a circular spot w
The N. Brit. Rev. seems to me one of the most telling Reviews of the
hostile kind, & shews much ability, but not, as you say, much knowledge. The
R. lays great stress on our domestic races having been rapidly formed, but I
can shew that this is a complete error; it is the work of centuries, probably in some
cases of 1000s of years. With respect to the
antiquity of the world & the uniformity of its changes, I cannot implicitly
believe the mathematicians, seeing what widely different results Haughton Hopkins
& Thompson have arrived at. By the way I had a note
from Lyell this m
Is there not great doubt on the bearing of the attraction of gravity with respect to
the conservation of energy? The glacial period may make one doubt whether the
temperature of the universe is so simple a question. No one can long study the
Geolog. work done during the glacial period, & not end profoundly
impressed with the necessary lapse of time; & the crust of the earth was at this
recent period as thick as now & the force of Nature not more
energetic. But what extremely concerns me, is
R. statement that I require million of years to make new species; but I have
not said so, on contrary, I have lately stated that the change is
probably rapid both in formation of single species & of whole groups
of species, in comparison with the duration of each species when once formed
or in comparison with the time required for the development of a group of
species— with respect to
Classification, it is the idea of a natural classification, which the
genealogical explains. The best bit of
Review, which c
When speaking of the formation for instance of a new sp. of Bird with long beak Instead of saying, as I have sometimes incautiously done a bird suddenly appeared with a beak [particularly] longer than that of his fellows, I would now say that of all the birds annually born, some will have a beak a shade longer, & some a shade shorter, & that under conditions or habits of life favouring longer beak, all the individuals, with beaks a little longer would be more apt to survive than those with beaks shorter than average.
The preservation of the longer-beaked birds, would in addition add to the
augmented tendency to vary in this same direction.— I have
given this idea, but I have not done so in a sufficiently
exclusive manner.— The Reviewer w
<missing text> of facts. Pray excuse this unreasonable letter, which you may not think worth the labour of reading; but it has done me good to express my opinion on the 2 works in question, so I hope & think that you will forgive me—
With very sincere thanks for letter believe me my dear M
Do you know who wrote the article in N. B. Review?
- f1 05567.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Charles Kingsley, 6 June 1867.
- f2 05567.f2CD refers to Frederick Wollaston Hutton and to Hutton 1861; see letter from Charles Kingsley, 6 June 1867 and n. 1.
- f3 05567.f3CD refers to G. D. Campbell 1867 and [Jenkin] 1867; see letter from Charles Kingsley, 6 June 1867.
- f4 05567.f4The letter is in Emma Darwin's hand, except for the last sentence. A missing section, from `as now & the force of Nature' in the fifth paragraph to `problem of [variation]' in the seventh has been supplied from a draft in CD's hand.
- f5 05567.f5George Douglas Campbell criticised a statement of John Stuart Mill's about human action in G. D. Campbell 1867, pp. 314--16.
- f6 05567.f6Campbell discussed rudimentary limbs and homology of structure in G. D. Campbell 1867, pp. 204--16. He argued that rudimentary limbs were part of a universal plan that had clearly been mentally conceived.
- f7 05567.f7Campbell discussed humming-birds in G. D. Campbell 1867, pp. 233--52, and CD's work on orchids in ibid., pp. 37--46. He suggested that a bill adapted to probing all flowers with ease would be more advantageous than a specialised one (ibid., pp. 241--2).
- f8 05567.f8Origin 4th ed.
- f9 05567.f9CD probably sent the letter from A. R. Wallace, 26 April .
- f10 05567.f10See letter from Charles Kingsley, 6 June 1867 and n. 5. For more on correlated variation, see Descent 1: 208, 282--3, 285--6; fowls are discussed in ibid., pp. 294--5.
- f11 05567.f11See letters from A. R. Wallace, 26 April  and 1 May 1867. For CD's ongoing work on sexual selection, see, for example, the letter to Fritz Müller, 22 February , and the letter to A. R. Wallace, [12--17] March .
- f12 05567.f12On the wing-bars of pigeons and ocellated spots on peacocks' tails, see Descent 2: 131--5. On correlation of growth, see Origin 4th ed, pp. 11--12, 170--4; CD wrote: `I mean by this expression that the whole organisation is so tied together during its growth and development, that when slight variations in any one part occur, and are accumulated through natural selection, other parts become modified' (Origin 4th ed., p. 170). Campbell discussed CD's theory of correlation of growth in G. D. Campbell 1867, pp. 256--62. He suggested that correlation of growth comprised two distinct notions, symmetry, which he thought had simple physical causes akin to those governing the growth of a crystal, and fitness; the latter he thought suggested `the operation of Forces working under Adjustment with a view to Purpose' (G. D. Campbell 1867, p. 260).
- f13 05567.f13CD refers to Robert Bakewell, a notable stock-improver, and probably to Robert or Charles Colling, brothers who produced an improved breed of shorthorn cattle (see Trow-Smith 1959).
- f14 05567.f14See [Jenkin] 1867, pp. 280--6. Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin had argued that there were physical limits to the amount of variation that could be produced in any one direction. He had used the example of a breeder selecting a feature and effecting remarkable variation in it in the first few years but reaching a limit beyond which no further variation could be achieved (a `sphere of variation'; see ibid., p. 282). He then argued that no extension of time could reverse the `rule' governing the limits of a given sphere of variation. CD evidently interpreted Jenkin's argument as having been based on the mistaken notion that CD's own argument was that since varieties could be produced in domestic animals in a relatively short period of time, by extension new species could be created given a sufficiently long period of time (see also Gayon 1998, pp. 88--9). In Variation 2: 243, CD pointed out that several animals had already been domesticated in the Neolithic era.
- f15 05567.f15CD refers to Samuel Haughton, William Hopkins, and William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin). CD made a similar comment regarding the estimates of physical scientists in his letter to J. D. Hooker, [28 February 1866] (Correspondence vol. 14). Thomson held that the crust of the earth had solidified only 100 million years ago, and had criticised CD's estimate in the first edition of Origin of 300 million years for the denudation of the Weald (see W. Thomson 1862, pp. 391--2). In 1864, Haughton had calculated a period of 2 billion years from the formation of the oceans to the beginning of the Tertiary period, though earlier he had agreed with Thomson (see Burchfield 1990, pp. 100--1). Hopkins had sought to put geology on a firm mathematical footing but was not noted for speculations about the age of the earth (DSB).
- f16 05567.f16Charles Lyell's letter has not been found.
- f17 05567.f17See [Jenkin] 1867, p. 294, and Origin 4th ed., pp. 359--60.
- f18 05567.f18See [Jenkin] 1867, pp. 305--13, where Jenkin argued that the difficulty in classifying species did not need to be explained by a theory of the transmutation of species, but was a common problem in many systems of classification, and could be explained by the vast number of possible combinations of variables that existed among living beings. See also Origin 4th ed., pp. 486--9, for CD's views on the `Natural System' of classification.
- f19 05567.f19See [Jenkin] 1867, pp. 288--92. In Origin 4th ed., p. 47, CD had speculated that if a monstrous form occurred in nature and was propagated, albeit in a modified state owing to its being crossed with the ordinary form, if it was advantageous to the organism it would spread by means of natural selection. In Origin 5th ed., p. 49, he said that such variations would spread only under unusually favourable circumstances. CD cited Jenkin's article in Origin 5th ed., p. 104, for his argument on how rarely single variations in nature could be perpetuated.
- f20 05567.f20See Origin 3d ed., p. 46, and Origin 4th ed., p. 47. See also Peckham ed. 1959, p. 121. In the fourth edition of Origin, CD omitted, amongst other changes, the words added in the third edition, `Monsters are very apt to be sterile'. William Henry Harvey had published an article in the Gardeners' Chronicle, 18 February 1860, pp. 145--6, reporting the apparent origination of a new species through the abnormal development of Begonia frigida. See also Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Charles Lyell, 18 [and 19 February 1860], and Correspondence vol. 12, letter from W. H. Harvey, 19 May 1864, n. 4. CD also discussed the nature of monstrosities in the manuscript of his `big book' on species (see Natural selection, pp. 318--21).
- f21 05567.f21In Origin, p. 61, CD wrote: `Owing to this struggle for life, any variation, … if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, … will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring.' In the fifth edition, he changed `an individual' to `the individuals', and `that individual' to `such individuals' (p. 72). See also Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 379--80, for CD's comments on the gradation in the sizes and shapes of the beaks of different species of Geospiza on the Galápagos Islands. For a discussion of Jenkin's argument about the tendency of variation appearing in a single individual to be swamped, and CD's response, see Gayon 1998, pp. 94--102. See also D. L. Hull 1973.
- f22 05567.f22The text from `as thick as now' to `problem of [variation]' is supplied from a draft.
- f23 05567.f23The article was by Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin (Wellesley index).