Letter 78 To Jd Hooker

(78/1. The reference in the following letter is to the proofs of Hooker's "Australian Flora.")

The returned sheet is chiefly that which I received in MS. Parts seem to me (though perhaps it may be forgetfulness) much improved, and I retain my former impression that the whole discussion on the Australian flora is admirably good and original. I know you will understand and not object to my thus expressing my opinion (for one must form one) so presumptuously. I have no criticisms, except perhaps I should like you somewhere to say, when you refer to me, that you refer only to the notice in the "Linnean Journal;" not that, on my deliberate word of honour, I expect that you will think more favourably of the whole than of the suggestion in the "Journal." I am far more than satisfied at what you say of my work; yet it would be as well to avoid the appearance of your remarks being a criticism on my fuller work.

I am very sorry to hear you are so hard-worked. I also get on very slowly, and have hardly as yet finished half my volume...I returned on last Tuesday from a week's hydropathy.

Take warning by me, and do not work too hard. For God's sake, think of this.

It is dreadfully uphill work with me getting my confounded volume finished. I wish you well through all your labours. Adios.

LETTER 79. TO ASA GRAY. Down, November 29th [1859].

This shall be such an extraordinary note as you have never received from me, for it shall not contain one single question or request. I thank you for your impression on my views. Every criticism from a good man is of value to me. What you hint at generally is very, very true: that my work will be grievously hypothetical, and large parts by no means worthy of being called induction, my commonest error being probably induction from too few facts. I had not thought of your objection of my using the term "natural selection" as an agent. I use it much as a geologist does the word denudation--for an agent, expressing the result of several combined actions. I will take care to explain, not merely by inference, what I mean by the term; for I must use it, otherwise I should incessantly have to expand it into some such (here miserably expressed) formula as the following: "The tendency to the preservation (owing to the severe struggle for life to which all organic beings at some time or generation are exposed) of any, the slightest, variation in any part, which is of the slightest use or favourable to the life of the individual which has thus varied; together with the tendency to its inheritance." Any variation, which was of no use whatever to the individual, would not be preserved by this process of "natural selection." But I will not weary you by going on, as I do not suppose I could make my meaning clearer without large expansion. I will only add one other sentence: several varieties of sheep have been turned out together on the Cumberland mountains, and one particular breed is found to succeed so much better than all the others that it fairly starves the others to death. I should here say that natural selection picks out this breed, and would tend to improve it, or aboriginally to have formed it...

You speak of species not having any material base to rest on, but is this any greater hardship than deciding what deserves to be called a variety, and be designated by a Greek letter? When I was at systematic work, I know I longed to have no other difficulty (great enough) than deciding whether the form was distinct enough to deserve a name, and not to be haunted with undefined and unanswerable questions whether it was a true species. What a jump it is from a well-marked variety, produced by natural cause, to a species produced by the separate act of the hand of God! But I am running on foolishly. By the way, I met the other day Phillips, the palaeontologist, and he asked me, "How do you define a species?" I answered, "I cannot." Whereupon he said, "at last I have found out the only true definition,--any form which has ever had a specific name!"...

LETTER 80. TO C. LYELL. Ilkley, October 31st [1859].

That you may not misunderstand how far I go with Pallas and his many disciples I should like to add that, though I believe that our domestic dogs have descended from several wild forms, and though I must think that the sterility, which they would probably have evinced, if crossed before being domesticated, has been eliminated, yet I go but a very little way with Pallas & Co. in their belief in the importance of the crossing and blending of the aboriginal stocks. (80/1. "With our domesticated animals, the various races when crossed together are quite fertile; yet in many cases they are descended from two or more wild species. From this fact we must conclude either that the aboriginal parent-species at first produced perfectly fertile hybrids, or that the hybrids subsequently reared under domestication became quite fertile. This latter alternative, which was first propounded by Pallas, seems by far the most probable, and can, indeed, hardly be doubted" ("Origin of Species," Edition VI., page 240).) You will see this briefly put in the first chapter. Generally, with respect to crossing, the effects may be diametrically opposite. If you cross two very distinct races, you may make (not that I believe such has often been made) a third and new intermediate race; but if you cross two exceedingly close races, or two slightly different individuals of the same race, then in fact you annul and obliterate the difference. In this latter way I believe crossing is all-important, and now for twenty years I have been working at flowers and insects under this point of view. I do not like Hooker's terms, centripetal and centrifugal (80/2. Hooker's "Introductory Essay to the Flora of Tasmania," pages viii. and ix.): they remind me of Forbes' bad term of Polarity. (80/3. Forbes, "On the Manifestation of Polarity in the Distribution of Organised Beings in Time."--"R. Institution Proc." I., 1851-54.)

I daresay selection by man would generally work quicker than Natural Selection; but the important distinction between them is, that man can scarcely select except external and visible characters, and secondly, he selects for his own good; whereas under nature, characters of all kinds are selected exclusively for each creature's own good, and are well exercised; but you will find all this in Chapter IV.

Although the hound, greyhound, and bull-dog may possibly have descended from three distinct stocks, I am convinced that their present great amount of difference is mainly due to the same causes which have made the breeds of pigeons so different from each other, though these breeds of pigeons have all descended from one wild stock; so that the Pallasian doctrine I look at as but of quite secondary importance.

In my bigger book I have explained my meaning fully; whether I have in the Abstract I cannot remember.

I forget whether you take in the "Times;" for the chance of your not doing so, I send the enclosed rich letter. (81/1. See the "Times," December 1st and December 5th, 1859: two letters signed "Senex," dealing with "Works of Art in the Drift.") It is, I am sure, by Fitz-Roy...It is a pity he did not add his theory of the extinction of Mastodon, etc., from the door of the Ark being made too small. (81/2. A postscript to this letter, here omitted, is published in the "Life and Letters," II., page 240.)

LETTER 82. FRANCIS GALTON TO CHARLES DARWIN. 42, Rutland Gate, London, S.W., December 9th, 1859.

Pray let me add a word of congratulation on the completion of your wonderful volume, to those which I am sure you will have received from every side. I have laid it down in the full enjoyment of a feeling that one rarely experiences after boyish days, of having been initiated into an entirely new province of knowledge, which, nevertheless, connects itself with other things in a thousand ways. I hear you are engaged on a second edition. There is a trivial error in page 68, about rhinoceroses (82/1. Down (loc. cit.) says that neither the elephant nor the rhinoceros is destroyed by beasts of prey. Mr. Galton wrote that the wild dogs hunt the young rhinoceros and "exhaust them to death; they pursue them all day long, tearing at their ears, the only part their teeth can fasten on." The reference to the rhinoceros is omitted in later editions of the "Origin."), which I thought I might as well point out, and have taken advantage of the same opportunity to scrawl down half a dozen other notes, which may, or may not, be worthless to you.

(83/1. The three next letters refer to Huxley's lecture on Evolution, given at the Royal Institution on February 10th, 1860, of which the peroration is given in "Life and Letters," II., page 282, together with some letters on the subject.)

LETTER 83. TO T.H. HUXLEY. November 25th [1859].

I rejoice beyond measure at the lecture. I shall be at home in a fortnight, when I could send you splendid folio coloured drawings of pigeons. Would this be in time? If not, I think I could write to my servants and have them sent to you. If I do NOT hear I shall understand that about fifteen or sixteen days will be in time.

I have had a kind yet slashing letter against me from poor dear old Sedgwick, "who has laughed till his sides ached at my book."

Phillips is cautious, but decidedly, I fear, hostile. Hurrah for the Lecture--it is grand!

LETTER 84. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 13 th [1859].

I have got fine large drawings (84/1. For Mr. Huxley's R.I. lecture.) of the Pouter, Carrier, and Tumbler; I have only drawings in books of Fantails, Barbs, and Scanderoon Runts. If you had them, you would have a grand display of extremes of diversity. Will they pay at the Royal

Institution for copying on a large size drawings of these birds? I could lend skulls of a Carrier and a Tumbler (to show the great difference) for the same purpose, but it would not probably be worth while.

I have been looking at my MS. What you want I believe is about hybridism and breeding. The chapter on hybridism is in a pretty good state--about 150 folio pages with notes and references on the back. My first chapter on breeding is in too bad and imperfect a state to send; but my discussion on pigeons (in about 100 folio pages) is in a pretty good state. I am perfectly convinced that you would never have patience to read such volumes of MS. I speak now in the palace of truth, and pray do you: if you think you would read them I will send them willingly up by my servant, or bring them myself next week. But I have no copy, and I never could possibly replace them; and without you really thought that you would use them, I had rather not risk them. But I repeat I will willingly bring them, if you think you would have the vast patience to use them. Please let me hear on this subject, and whether I shall send the book with small drawings of three other breeds or skulls. I have heard a rumour that Busk is on our side in regard to species. Is this so? It would be very good.

LETTER 85. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 16th [1859].

I thank you for your very pleasant and amusing note and invitation to dinner, which I am sorry to say I cannot accept. I shall come up (stomach willing) on Thursday for Phil. Club dinner, and return on Saturday, and I am engaged to my brother for Friday. But I should very much like to call at the Museum on Friday or Saturday morning and see you. Would you let me have one line either here or at 57, Queen Anne Street, to say at what hour you generally come to the Museum, and whether you will be probably there on Friday or Saturday? Even if you are at the Club, it will be a mere chance if we sit near each other.

I will bring up the articles on Thursday afternoon, and leave them under charge of the porter at the Museum. They will consist of large drawings of a Pouter, a Carrier, and rather smaller drawings of some sub-varieties (which breed nearly true) of short-faced Tumblers. Also a small drawing of Scanderoon, a kind of Runt, and a very remarkable breed. Also a book with very moderately good drawings of Fantail and Barb, but I very much doubt whether worth the trouble of enlarging.

Also a box (for Heaven's sake, take care!) with a skull of Carrier and short-faced Tumbler; also lower jaws (largest size) of Runt, middle size of Rock-pigeon, and the broad one of Barb. The form of ramus ofjaw differs curiously in these jaws.

Also MS. of hybridism and pigeons, which will just weary you to death. I will call myself for or send a servant for the MS. and bones whenever you have done with them; but do not hurry.

You have hit on the exact plan, which, on the advice of Lyell, Murray, etc., I mean to follow--viz., bring out separate volumes in detail--and I shall begin with domestic productions; but I am determined to try and [work] very slowly, so that, if possible, I may keep in a somewhat better state of health. I had not thought of illustrations; that is capital advice. Farewell, my good and admirable agent for the promulgation of damnable heresies!

LETTER 86. TO L. HORNER. Down, December 23rd [1859].

I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your extremely kind letter. I am very much pleased that you approve of my book, and that you are going to pay me the extraordinary compliment of reading it twice. I fear that it is tough reading, but it is beyond my powers to make the subject clearer. Lyell would have done it admirably.

You must enjoy being a gentlemen at your ease, and I hear that you have returned with ardour to work at the Geological Society. We hope in the course of the winter to persuade Mrs. Horner and yourself and daughters to pay us a visit. Ilkley did me extraordinary good during the latter part of my stay and during my first week at home; but I have gone back latterly to my bad ways, and fear I shall never be decently well and strong.

P.S.--When any of your party write to Mildenhall I should be much obliged if you would say to Bunbury that I hope he will not forget, whenever he reads my book, his promise to let me know what he thinks about it; for his knowledge is so great and accurate that every one must value his opinions highly. I shall be quite contented if his belief in the immutability of species is at all staggered.

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