WCP1945

Letter (WCP1945.1835)

[1]

Down,

Beckenham, Kent.

July 9th [1871]1

My dear Wallace

I send by this post a Review2 by Chauncey Wright3, as I much want your opinion of it, as soon as you can send it. I consider you an incomparably better critic than I am. The article, though not very clearly written & poor in parts from want of knowledge, seems to me admirable.

Mivart's book4 is producing a great effect against Natural Selection, & more especially against me. Therefore if you [2] think the article even somewhat good, I will write & get permission to publish it as a shilling pamphlet,5 together with the M.S. additions (enclosed) for which there was not room at the end of the [one word illeg. crossed out] the Review.— I do not suppose I sh[oul]d lose more than £20 or £30.—

I am now at work at a new & cheap Edit[ion]. of Origin & shall answer several points in Mivart's [3] book & introduce a new Chapter for this purpose;7 but I treat the subject so much more concretely, & I daresay less philosophically, than Wright7, that we shall not interfere with each other.— You will think me a bigot, when I say after studying Mivart6, I was never before in my life so convinced of [the] general (i.e. not in detail) truth truth of views in the Origin. I grieve to see the omission of the words by Mivart, (as given by to Wright) [4] detected by Wright.— I complained to M[ivart]. that in two cases he quotes only the commencement of sentences by me & thus modifies my meaning; but I never supposed he w[oul]d have omitted words. There are other such cases of what I consider unfair treatment. I conclude with sorrow that though he means to be honourable, he is so bigoted that he cannot act fairly. I was glad to see your letter in Nature,7 though I think you were a little hard on the silly & presumptuous man.—

[5] I hope that your house & grounds are progressing well, & that you are in all ways flourishing.—

I have been rather seedy, but a few days in London did me much good; & my dear good wife8 is going to take me somewhere, nolens, volens,9 at the end of this month.

Ever yours | C. Darwin [signature]

A pencil annotation at the top of page 1 adds '1871'. The Darwin Correspondence Project have established the year of 1871 as the correct date. See DCP-LETT-7855.
Wright, C. 1871. Contributions to the Theory of Natural Selection by Alfred Russel Wallace; On the Genesis of Species by St. George Mivart; The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin; On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life by Charles Darwin. The North American Review. Vol. 113. No. 232. (July 1871). 63-103.
Wright, Chauncey (1830-1875). American philosopher and mathematician; defender of Charles Darwin’s works.
Mivart, St. G. J. 1871. On the Genesis of Species. London: Macmillan and Co.
Chauncey Wright review was republished by John Murray with a three page appendix added. See Wright, C. 1871. Darwinism: Being an Examination of Mr. St. George Mivart's 'Genesis of Species'. London: John Murray.
Mivart, St. George Jackson (1827-1900). British physician, zoologist and Roman Catholic polemicist.
Wallace, A. R. 1871. A New View of Darwinism. Nature 4 (6 July 1871). 180-181.
Darwin, Emma (née Wedgwood) (1808-1896). Wife and first cousin of Charles Robert Darwin.
Latin for 'willing or unwilling'.

Published letter (WCP1945.6029)

[1] [p. 264]

Down, Beckenham, Kent. July 9, 1871.

My dear Wallace, — I send by this post a review by Chauncey Wright,1 as I much want your opinion of it, as soon as you can send it. I consider you an incomparably better critic than I am. The article, though not very clearly written, and poor in parts for want of knowledge, seems to me admirable.

Mivart’s2 book is producing a great effect against Natural Selection, and more especially against me. Therefore, if you think the article even somewhat good, I will write and get permission to publish it as a shilling pamphlet, together with the MS. addition (enclosed), for which there was not room at the end of the review. I do not suppose I should lose more than £20 or £30.

I am now at work at a new and cheap edition of the "Origin," and shall answer several points in Mivart’s book and introduce a new chapter for this purpose; but I treat [2] the subject so much more concretely, and I daresay less philosophically, than Wright, that we shall not interfere with each other. You will think me a bigot when I say, after studying Mivart, I was never before in my life so convinced of the general (i.e. not in detail) truth of the views in the "Origin." I grieve to see the omission of the words by Mivart, detected by Wright.3 I complained to M. that in two cases he quotes only the commencement of sentences by me and thus modifies my meaning; but I never supposed he would have omitted words. There are other cases of what I consider unfair treatment. I conclude with sorrow that though he means to be honourable, he is so bigoted that he cannot act fairly.

I was glad to see your letter in Nature, though I think you were a little hard on the silly and presumptuous man.

I hope that your house and grounds are progressing well, and that you are in all ways flourishing.

I have been rather seedy, but a few days in London did me much good; and my dear good wife is going to take me somewhere, nolens volens, at the end of this month. | C. Darwin.

Wright, Chauncey (1830-1875). American philosopher and mathematician; defender of Charles Darwin’s works.
Mivart, St. George Jackson (1827-1900). British physician, zoologist and Roman Catholic polemicist.
A footnote on page 265 of the publication reads "North American Review, Vol. 113, pp. 83, 84. Chauncey Wright points out that the words omitted are "essential to the point on which he [Mr. Mivart] cites Mr. Darwin's authority." It should be mentioned that the passage from which words are omitted is not given within inverted commas by Mr. Mivart. — See "Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, iii. 144."

Please cite as “WCP1945,” in Beccaloni, G. W. (ed.), Ɛpsilon: The Alfred Russel Wallace Collection accessed on 7 June 2023, https://epsilon.ac.uk/view/wallace/letters/WCP1945