Letter 129 Henry Fawcett To Charles Darwin

(129/1. It was in reply to the following letter that Darwin wrote to Fawcett: "You could not possibly have told me anything which would have given me more satisfaction than what you say about Mr. Mill's opinion. Until your review appeared I began to think that perhaps I did not understand at all how to reason scientifically." ("Life of Henry Fawcett," by Leslie Stephen, 1885, page 100.)

Bodenham, Salisbury, July 16th [1861].

I feel that I ought not to have so long delayed writing to thank you for your very kind letter to me about my article on your book in "Macmillan's Magazine."

I was particularly anxious to point out that the method of investigation pursued was in every respect philosophically correct. I was spending an evening last week with my friend Mr. John Stuart Mill, and I am sure you will be pleased to hear from such an authority that he considers that your reasoning throughout is in the most exact accordance with the strict principles of logic. He also says the method of investigation you have followed is the only one proper to such a subject.

It is easy for an antagonistic reviewer, when he finds it difficult to answer your arguments, to attempt to dispose of the whole matter by uttering some such commonplace as "This is not a Baconian induction."

I expect shortly to be spending a few days in your neighbourhood, and if I should not be intruding upon you, I should esteem it a great favour if you will allow me to call on you, and have half an hour's conversation with you.

As far as I am personally concerned, I am sure I ought to be grateful to you, for since my accident nothing has given me so much pleasure as the perusal of your book. Such studies are now a great resource to me.

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