From Asa Gray 25 May 1868
25 May, 1868
My Dear Darwin,
I want to write you a long letter—but the time is not to be had now. Many thanks for yours of May 8.1
My notice of your book in Nation was not intended to have any thing in it, except for the groundlings—was only to make the book known and understood—a light affair2
My preface was written at publisher’s request simply because yours had not come. The fellows put in both. The ed. is not very nicely printed.3
Judging from the Newspaper notices I think the book is taking famously. That Agricult newspaper is taken by the 100,000 in the country—4 As to close of my article, to match close of your book—you see plainly I was put on the defence by your reference to an old hazardous remark of mine. I found your stone-house argument unanswerable in substance (for the notion of design must after all rest mostly on faith, and on accumulation of adaptations, &c): so all I could do was to find a vulnerable spot in the shaping of it, fire my little shot, and run away in the smoke.5
Of course I understand your argument perfectly, & feel the weight of it.
We were intensely amused at the Edinburgh man, who suggests that I could easily smash you into little pieces!6 I wish he may live to see it done!
I am half dead with drudgery—half of it at least for other people—see no relief, but to break up, and run over, with wife who needs the change, to your side of the water for a good long while.7
Yours ever, | A. Gray
CD’s book taking on famously. AG’s review in Nation [see 5921] and preface to American edition.