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about seven my dear mother declaring that I was as heavy

time:2023-11-29 13:50:07 source:History Network author:hot read:136次

LETTER 58. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, September 26th [1857].

about seven my dear mother declaring that I was as heavy

Thanks for your very pleasant note. It amuses me to see what a bug-bear I have made myself to you; when having written some very pungent and good sentence it must be very disagreeable to have my face rise up like an ugly ghost. (58/1. This probably refers to Darwin's wish to moderate a certain pugnacity in Huxley.) I have always suspected Agassiz of superficiality and wretched reasoning powers; but I think such men do immense good in their way. See how he stirred up all Europe about glaciers. By the way, Lyell has been at the glaciers, or rather their effects, and seems to have done good work in testing and judging what others have done...

about seven my dear mother declaring that I was as heavy

In regard to classification and all the endless disputes about the "Natural System," which no two authors define in the same way, I believe it ought, in accordance to my heterodox notions, to be simply genealogical. But as we have no written pedigrees you will, perhaps, say this will not help much; but I think it ultimately will, whenever heterodoxy becomes orthodoxy, for it will clear away an immense amount of rubbish about the value of characters, and will make the difference between analogy and homology clear. The time will come, I believe, though I shall not live to see it, when we shall have very fairly true genealogical trees of each great kingdom of Nature.

about seven my dear mother declaring that I was as heavy

LETTER 59. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Down, December 16th [1857].

In my opinion your Catalogue (59/1. It appears from a letter to Sir J.D. Hooker (December 25th, 1857) that the reference is to the proofs of Huxley's "Explanatory Preface to the Catalogue of the Palaeontological Collection in the Museum of Practical Geology," by T.H. Huxley and R. Etheridge, 1865. Mr. Huxley appends a note at page xlix: "It should be noted that these pages were written before the appearance of Mr. Darwin's book on 'The Origin of Species'--a work which has effected a revolution in biological speculation.") is simply the very best resume, by far, on the whole science of Natural History, which I have ever seen. I really have no criticisms: I agree with every word. Your metaphors and explanations strike me as admirable. In many parts it is curious how what you have written agrees with what I have been writing, only with the melancholy difference for me that you put everything in twice as striking a manner as I do. I append, more for the sake of showing that I have attended to the whole than for any other object, a few most trivial criticisms.

I was amused to meet with some of the arguments, which you advanced in talk with me, on classification; and it pleases me, [that] my long proses were so far not thrown away, as they led you to bring out here some good sentences. But on classification (59/2. This probably refers to Mr. Huxley's discussion on "Natural Classification," a subject hardly susceptible of fruitful treatment except from an evolutionary standpoint.) I am not quite sure that I yet wholly go with you, though I agree with every word you have here said. The whole, I repeat, in my opinion is admirable and excellent.

LETTER 60. TO J.D. HOOKER. Down, February 28th [1858].

Hearty thanks for De Candolle received. I have put the big genera in hand. Also many thanks for your valuable remarks on the affinities of the species in great genera, which will be of much use to me in my chapter on classification. Your opinion is what I had expected from what little I knew, but I much wanted it confirmed, and many of your remarks were more or less new to me and all of value.


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