Of course I do not want any answer to my quasi-theological discussion, but only for you to think of my notions, if you understand them.
I hope to Heaven your long and great labours on your new edition are drawing to a close.
LETTER 131. TO C. LYELL. Torquay, [August 13th, 1861].
Very many thanks for the orchids, which have proved extremely useful to me in two ways I did not anticipate, but were too monstrous (yet of some use) for my special purpose.
When you come to "Deification" (131/1. See Letter 105, note.), ask yourself honestly whether what you are thinking applies to the endless variations of domestic productions, which man accumulates for his mere fancy or use. No doubt these are all caused by some unknown law, but I cannot believe they were ordained for any purpose, and if not so ordained under domesticity, I can see no reason to believe that they were ordained in a state of nature. Of course it may be said, when you kick a stone, or a leaf falls from a tree, that it was ordained, before the foundations of the world were laid, exactly where that stone or leaf should lie. In this sense the subject has no interest for me.
Once again, many thanks for the orchids; you must let me repay you what you paid the collector.
(132/1. The first paragraph probably refers to the proof-sheets of Lyell's "Antiquity of Man," but the passage referred to seems not to occur in the book.)
...I have really no criticism, except a trifling one in pencil near the end, which I have inserted on account of dominant and important species generally varying most. You speak of "their views" rather as if you were a thousand miles away from such wretches, but your concluding paragraph shows that you are one of the wretches.