From Charles Kingsley 18 November 1859
Eversley Rectory, | Winchfield.
I have to thank you for the unexpected honour of your book. That the Nat-uralist whom, of all naturalists living, I most wish to know & to learn from, should have sent a sciolist like me his book, encourages me at least to observe more carefully, & think more slowly.1
I am so poorly (in brain) that I fear I cannot read your book just now as I ought. All I have seen of it awes me; both with the heap of facts, & the prestige of your name, & also with the clear intuition, that if you be right, I must give up much that I have believed & written.
In that I care little. ‘Let God be true, & every man a liar’. Let us know what is, & as old Socrates has it επεσθαι τῳ λόγῳ—follow up the villainous shifty fox of an argument, into what soever unexpected bogs & brakes he may lead us, if we do but run into him at last.2
From two common superstitions, at least, I shall be free, while judging of your book. 1) I have long since, from watching the crossing of domesticated animals & plants, learnt to disbelieve the dogma of the permanence of species.3 2). I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development into all forms needful pro tempore & pro loco, as to believe that He required a fresh act of inter-vention to supply the lacunas wh he himself had made.4 I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.
Be it as it may, I shall prize your book, both for itself, & as a proof that you are aware of the existence of such a person as | Your faithful servant | C Kingsley Eversley | Novr 18/59
Will judge CD’s book [Origin] free from two superstitions: the dogma of the permanent species and the need of an act of intervention to bring change.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2534,” accessed on 26 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2534