Many thanks for your note and for all the trouble about the seeds, which will be most useful to me next spring. On my return home I will send the shillings. (116/1. Shillings for the little girls in Henslow's parish who collected seeds for Darwin.) I concluded that Dr. Bree had blundered about the Celts. I care not for his dull, unvarying abuse of me, and singular misrepresentation. But at page 244 he in fact doubts my deliberate word, and that is the act of a man who has not the soul of a gentleman in him. Kingsley is "the celebrated author and divine" (116/2. "Species not Transmutable," by C.R. Bree. After quoting from the "Origin," Edition II., page 481, the words in which a celebrated author and divine confesses that "he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms, etc.," Dr. Bree goes on: "I think we ought to have had the name of this divine given with this remarkable statement. I confess that I have not yet fully made up my mind that any divine could have ever penned lines so fatal to the truths he is called upon to teach.") whose striking sentence I give in the second edition with his permission. I did not choose to ask him to let me use his name, and as he did not volunteer, I had of course no choice. (116/3. We are indebted to Mr. G.W. Prothero for calling our attention to the following striking passage from the works of a divine of this period:-- "Just a similar scepticism has been evinced by nearly all the first physiologists of the day, who have joined in rejecting the development theories of Lamarck and the 'Vestiges'...Yet it is now acknowledged under the high sanction of the name of Owen that 'creation' is only another name for our ignorance of the mode of production...while a work has now appeared by a naturalist of the most acknowledged authority, Mr. Darwin's masterly volume on the 'Origin of Species,' by the law of 'natural selection,' which now substantiates on undeniable grounds the very principle so long denounced by the first naturalists--the origination of new species by natural causes: a work which must soon bring about an entire revolution of opinion in favour of the grand principle of the self-evolving powers of nature."--Prof. Baden Powell's "Study of the Evidences of Christianity," "Essays and Reviews," 7th edition, 1861 (pages 138, 139).)
Dr. Freke has sent me his paper, which is far beyond my scope--something like the capital quiz in the "Anti-Jacobin" on my grandfather, which was quoted in the "Quarterly Review."
(117/1. The following letter was published in Professor Meldola's presidential address to the Entomological Society, 1897, and to him we are indebted for a copy.)
15, Marine Parade, Eastbourne, October 27th .
As I am away from home on account of my daughter's health, I do not know your address, and fly this at random, and it is of very little consequence if it never reaches you.
I have just been reading the greater part of your "Geological Gossip," and have found part very interesting; but I want to express my admiration at the clear and correct manner in which you have given a sketch of Natural Selection. You will think this very slight praise; but I declare that the majority of readers seem utterly incapable of comprehending my long argument. Some of the reviewers, who have servilely stuck to my illustrations and almost to my words, have been correct, but extraordinarily few others have succeeded. I can see plainly, by your new illustrations and manner and order of putting the case, that you thoroughly comprehend the subject. I assure you this is most gratifying to me, and it is the sole way in which the public can be indoctrinated. I am often in despair in making the generality of NATURALISTS even comprehend me. Intelligent men who are not naturalists and have not a bigoted idea of the term species, show more clearness of mind. I think that you have done the subject a real service, and I sincerely thank you. No doubt there will be much error found in my book, but I have great confidence that the main view will be, in time, found correct; for I find, without exception, that those naturalists who went at first one inch with me now go a foot or yard with me.
This note obviously requires no answer.
LETTER 118. TO H.W. BATES. Down, November 22nd .