To Asa Gray 18 February 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Gray
I received about a week ago two sheets of your Review; read them, & sent them to Hooker; they are now returned & reread with care, & tomorrow I send them to Lyell.—2
Your Review seems to me admirable; by far the best which I have read.— I thank you from my heart both for myself, but far more for subject-sake. How curious your contrast between the views of Agassiz & such as mine is very curious & instructive.3 By the way if Agassiz writes anything on subject, I hope you will tell me.— I am charmed with your metaphor of the streamlet never running against the force of gravitation.4
Your distinction between an hypothesis & theory seems to me very ingenious; but I do not think it is ever followed.—5 Everyone now speaks of the undulatory theory of light; yet the ether is itself hypothetical & the undulations are inferred only from explaining the phenomena of light.— Even in the theory of gravitation, is the attractive power in any way known, except by explaining the fall of the apple & the movements of the Planets? It seems to me that an hypothesis is developed into a theory solely by explaining an ample lot of facts.
Again & again I thank you for your generous aid in discussing a view, about which you very properly hold yourself unbiassed.—
My dear Gray | Yours most sincerely | C. Darwin
There is Review in last Annals & Mag. of N.H. on my Book— rather bitter: I feel moral certainty it is by my good friend the Entomologist Wollaston: I have not derived any new idea from this Review.—6 Several Clergymen go far with me.— Rev. L. Jenyns, a very good naturalist: Henslow will go a very little way with me & is not shocked at me; he has just been visiting me.
Thinks AG’s review is admirable.
Reactions of others to the Origin.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2704,” accessed on 1 October 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-2704