Going to Shrewsbury on Monday.
Means to attempt the question of species: "though I shall get more kicks than half-pennies, I will, life serving, attempt my work".
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
I write to say that we are going on Monday for a month to my Father's at
Shrewsbury: when, therefore, you can quite spare
Cosmos wd you send it directed to me.
“Shrewsbury”: please not send anything else with it.— I
will not trouble you for the Asiatic Journal, as I can see it at the Club.— I
send my Journal today for you.— N.B. If by chance you
Many thanks for your letter received yesterday, which, as always, sets me thinking: I
laughed at your attack at my stinginesss in changes of level towards Forbes, being so
liberal towards myself; but I must maintain, that I have never let down or upheaved our
mother earth's surface, for the sake of explaining any one phenomenon,
& I trust I have very seldom done so without some distinct evidence. So I must
still think it a bold step, (perhaps a very true one) to sink into depths of
ocean, within the period of
existing species, so large a tract of surface. But there is no amount or extent
of change of level, which I am not fully prepared to admit, but I must say I
How painfully (to me) true is your remark that no one has hardly a right to examine the
question of species who has not minutely described many. I was,
however, pleased to hear from Owen (who is vehemently opposed to any mutability in
species) that he thought it was a very fair subject & that there was a mass of
facts to be brought to bear on the question, not hitherto collected. My only comfort is,
(as I mean to attempt the subject) that I have dabbled in several branches of Nat. Hist:
& seen good specific men work out my species & know something of
geology; (an indispensable union) & though I shall get
more kicks than half-pennies, I will, life serving, attempt my work.— Lamarck
is the only exception, that I can think of, of an accurate describer of species at least
in the Invertebrate kingdom, who has disbelieved in permanent species, but he in his
absurd though clever work has done the subject harm, as has
Is not Aug. St. Hilaire a good Botanist? I presume he follows his father & Brother's views?
It is a shame to plague you with this long note; but I did not sit down, with malice prepence.
Farewell; I shall long to hear the result in October.— | Ever your's | C. Darwin
- f1 915.f1CD left for Shrewsbury on 15 September. He also visited William Herbert and Charles Waterton. See ‘Journal’ (Correspondence, vol. 3, Appendix II).
- f2 915.f2Humboldt 1845–8.
- f3 915.f3Gérard 1844.
- f4 915.f4Hooker's criticism of Gérard 1844 (see previous letter) clearly struck CD as an implied criticism of his own position. Hooker denied this intention (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 14 September 1845), but CD's response here and in the letter to J. D. Hooker, [18 September 1845], shows his sensitivity on the point. CD subsequently undertook a systematic study of cirripedes and ‘minutely described’ many species (see Correspondence vol. 4), thus establishing his ‘right to examine the question of species’.
- f5 915.f5See letter to Emma Darwin, 5 July 1844, in which CD makes such a union of talents a criterion for choosing the literary executor to work up and publish his essay of 1844.
- f6 915.f6Auguste Saint-Hilaire was not related to Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire or his son Isidore, who both favoured transformist views.