WCP1877

Letter (WCP1877.1767)

[1]

Down.

Bromley.

Kent. S.E.

[12-17] March [1867]1

My dear Wallace

I thank you much for your two notes.2 The case of Julia Pastrana3 is a splendid addition to my other cases of correlated teeth & hair, & I will give add it in correcting the proofs of my present volume.— Pray let me hear in course of summer if you get any evidence about the gaudy [2] caterpillars. I sh[oul]d. much like to give (or quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way supported, as suggested by you. It will, however, be a long time hence, for I can see that sexual selection is growing into quite a large subject, which I shall introduce into my essay on man, supposing that I ever publish it. I had intended giving a chapter on man, in as [3] much as many call him (not quite truly) an eminently domesticated animal; but I found the subject too large for a chapter. Nor would [two words illeg. crossed out] should shall I be capable of treating the subject well, & my sole reason for taking it up is that I am pretty well convinced that sexual selection has played an important part in the formation of races, & sexual selection has always been a subject which has [one word illeg. crossed out] interested me much.

[4] I have been very glad to see your impression from memory on the expression of Malays. I fully agree with you that the subject is in no way an important one: it is simply a "hobby-horse" with me about 27 years old; & after thinking that I would write an essay on man, it flashed on me that I could work in some "supplemental remarks on expression,"— After the horrid [5] tedious dull work of my present huge & I fear unreadable book, I thought I would amuse myself with my hobby-horse. The subject is, I think, more curious & more amenable to scientific treatment, than you seem willing to allow. I want anyhow to upset Sir C. Bell’s4 view, given in his most interesting work "the anatomy of Expression"5 that certain [6] muscles have been given to man solely that he may reveal to other men his feelings. I want to try & show how expressions have arisen.—

That is a good suggestion about newspapers; but my experience tells me that private applications are generally most fruitful.— I will, however, see if I can get the queries inserted in some Indian [7] paper.— I do not know name or address of any other papers.—

I have just ordered, but not yet received Murray’s book6: Lindley7 used to call him a blunder-headed man.— It is very doubtful whether I shall ever have strength to publish the latter part of my materials.

My two female amanuenses8 are busy with friends, & [8] I fear this scrawl will give you much trouble to read.—

With many thanks | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin [signature]

A red crayon annotation at the top right-hand corner of page adds 1 "? 1869". The Darwin Correspondence Project have established the dating of this letter as 12-17th of March 1867.
See WCP1876.4057. The Darwin Correspondence Project notes that the other letter is lost.
Pastrana, Julia (1834-1860). Mexican performer born with a genetic condition of hypertrichosis terminalis.
Bell, Charles (1774-1842). British physiologist and surgeon.
Bell, C. 1806. Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme.
Murray, A. D. 1866. The Geographical Distribution of Mammals. London: Day and Son, Ltd.
Lindley, John (1799-1865). British botanist and horticulturist.
Darwin, Emma (née Wedgwood) (1808-1896). Wife and first cousin of Charles Robert Darwin; and Litchfield (née Darwin), Henrietta Emma ("Etty") (1843-1927). Daughter of Charles Robert Darwin and his wife Emma.

Published letter (WCP1877.5960)

[1] [p. 181]

Down, Bromley, Kent, S.E. March, 1867.

My dear Wallace, — I thank you much for your two notes. The case of Julia Pastrana1 is a splendid addition to my other cases of correlated teeth and hair, and I will add it in correcting the proof of my present volume. Pray let me hear in course of the summer if you get any evidence about, the gaudy caterpillars. I should much like to give (or quote if published) this idea of yours, if in any way supported, as suggested by you. It will, however, be a long time hence, for I can see that sexual selection is growing into quite a large subject, which I shall introduce into my essay on Man, supposing that I ever publish it.

I had intended giving a chapter on Man, inasmuch as many call him (not quite truly) an eminently domesticated, animal; but I found the subject too large for a chapter. [2] [p. 182] Nor shall I be capable of treating the subject well, and my sole reason for taking it up is that I am pretty well convinced that sexual selection has played an important part in the formation of races, and sexual selection has always been a subject which has interested me much.

I have been very glad to see your impression from memory on the expressions of Malays. I fully agree with you that the subject is in no way an important one: it is simply a "hobby-horse" with me about twenty-seven years old; and after thinking that I would write an essay on Man, it flashed on me that I could work in some "supplemental remarks on expression." After the horrid, tedious, dull work of my present huge and, I fear, unreadable book, I thought I would amuse myself with my hobby-horse. The subject is, I think, more curious and more amenable to scientific treatment than you seem willing to allow. I want, anyhow, to upset Sir C. Bell's view, given in his most interesting work, "The Anatomy of Expression," that certain muscles have been given to man solely that he may reveal to other men his feelings. I want to try and show how expressions have arisen.

That is a good suggestion about newspapers; but my experience tells me that private applications are generally most fruitful. I will, however, see if I can get the queries inserted in some Indian paper. I do not know names or addresses of any other papers.

I have just ordered, but not yet received, Murray's book: Lindley used to call him a blunder-headed man. It is very doubtful whether I shall ever have strength to publish the latter part of my materials.

My two female amanuenses are busy with friends, and I fear this scrawl will give you much trouble to read. — With many thanks, yours very sincerely, CH. DARWIN.

A footnote here reads: "A bearded woman having an irregular double set of teeth. See "Animals and Plants," ii. 328."

Please cite as “WCP1877,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 15 July 2024, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1877