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C. Darwin to C. Lyell.
Down (July, 1845). MY DEAR LYELL, -I send you the first part * of the new edition (of the Journal of Researches '], which I so entirely owe to you.
You will see that I have ventured to dedicate it to you, and I trust that this cannot be disagreeable. I have long wished, not so much for your sake, as for my own feelings of honesty, to acknowledge more plainly than by mere reference, how much I geologically owe you. Those authors, however, who like you, educate people's minds as well as teach them special facts, can never, I should think, have full justice done them except by posterity, for the mind thus insensibly improved can hardly perceive its own upward ascent. I had intended putting in the present acknowledgment in the third part of my Geology, but its sale is so exceedingly small that I should not have had the satisfaction of thinking that as far as lay in my power I had owned, though imperfectly, my debt. Pray do not think that I am so silly, as to suppose that my dedication can any ways gratify you, except so far as I trust you will receive it, as a most sincere mark of my gratitude and friendship. I think I have improved this edition, especially the second part, which I have just finished. I have added a good deal about the Fuegians, and cut down into half the mercilessly long discussion on climate and glaciers, &c. I do not recollect anything added to the first part, long enough to call your attention to; there is a page of description of a very curious breed of oxen in Banda Oriental. I should like you to read the few last pages; there is a little discussion on extinction, which will not perhaps strike you
* No doubt proof-sheets.
+ The dedication of the second edition of the Journal of Researches,' is as follows :~"To Charles Lyell, Esq., F. R. S., this second edition is. dedicated with grateful pleasure--as an acknowledgment that the chief part of whatever scientific merit this Journal and the other works of the Author may possess, has been derived from studying the well-known and admirable ‘Principles of Geology.'”
LYELL'S ‘NORTH AMERICA.'
as new, though it has so struck me, and has placed in my mind all the difficulties with respect to the causes of extinction, in the same class with other difficulties which are generally quite overlooked and undervalued by naturalists; I ought, however, to have made my discussion longer and shewn by facts, as I easily could, how steadily every species must be checked in its numbers.
I received your Travels * yesterday; and I like exceedingly its external and internal appearance; I read only about a dozen pages last night (for I was tired with hay-making), but I saw quite enough to perceive how very much it will interest me, and how many passages will be scored. I am pleased to find a good sprinkling of Natural History; I shall be astonished if it does not sell very largely.
I am to think that we shall not see you here again for so long; I wish you may knock yourself a little bit up before you start and require a day's fresh air, before the ocean breezes blow on you. . .
C. Darwin to C. Lyell.
Down, Saturday (August 1st, 1845)
MY DEAR LYELL, I have been wishing to write to you for a week past, but every five minutes' worth of strength has been expended in getting out my second part. Your note pleased me a good deal more I dare say than my dedication did you, and I thank you much for it. Your work has interested me much, and I will give you my impressions, though, as I never thought you would care to hear what I thought of the non-scientific parts, I made no notes, nor took pains to remember any particular impression of twothirds of the first volume. The first impression I should say would be with most (though I have literally seen not one soul since reading it) regret at there not being more of the non-scientific [parts). I am not a good judge, for I have read nothing, i.e. non-scientific about North America, but the whole struck me as very new, fresh, and interesting. Your discussions bore to my mind the evident stamp of matured thought, and of conclusions drawn from facts observed by yourself, and not from the opinions of the people whom you met; and this I suspect is comparatively rare.
**Travels in North America,' 2 vols., 1845. t Of the second edition of the Journal of Researches.'
Your slave discussion disturbed me much ; but as you would care no more for my opinion on this head than for the ashes of this letter, I will say nothing except that it gave me some sleepless, most uncomfortable hours. Your account of the religious state of the States particularly interested me; I am surprised throughout at your very proper boldness against the Clergy. In your University chapter the Clergy, and not the State of Education, are most severely and justly handled, and this I think is very bold, for I conceive you might crush a leaden-headed old Don, as a Don, with more safety, than touch the finger of that Corporate Animal, the Clergy. What a contrast in Education does England shew itself! Your apology (using the term, like the old religionists who meant anything but an apology) for lectures, struck me as very clever; but all the arguments in the world on your side, are not equal to one course of Jamieson's Lectures on the other side, which I formerly for my sins experienced. Although I had read about the 'Coalfields in North America,' I never in the smallest degree really comprehended their area, their thickness and favourable position; nothing hardly astounded me more in your book.
Some few parts struck me as rather heterogeneous, but I do not know whether to an extent that at all signified. I missed however, a good deal, some general heading to the chapters, such as the two or three principal places visited. One has no right to expect an author to write down to the zero of geographical ignorance of the reader ; but I not knowing a single place, was occasionally rather plagued in tracing your course.
LYELL'S · PRINCIPLES.'
Sometimes in the beginning of a chapter, in one paragraph your course was traced through a half dozen places; anyone, as ignorant as myself, if he could be found, would prefer such a disturbing paragraph left out. I cut your map loose, and I found that a great comfort; I could not follow your engraved track. I think in a second edition, interspaces here and there of one line open, would be an improvement. By the way, I take credit to myself in giving my Journal a less scientific air in having printed all names of species and genera in Romans; the printing looks, also, better. All the illustrations strike me as capital, and the map is an admirable volume in itself. If your ‘Principles' had not met with such universal admiration, I should have feared there would have been too much geology in this for the general reader ; certainly all that the most clear and light style could do, has been done. To myself the geology was an excellent, well-condensed, well-digested résumé of all that has been made out in North America, and every geologist ought to be grateful to you. The summing up of the Niagara chapter appeared to me the grandest part; I was also deeply interested by your discussion on the origin of the Silurian formations. I have made scores of scores marking passages hereafter useful to me.
All the coal theory appeared to me very good; but it is no use going on enumerating in this manner. I wish there had been more Natural History ; I liked all the scattered fragments. I have now given you an exact transcript of my thoughts, but they are hardly worth your reading. ...
C. Darwin to C. Lyell.
Down, August 25th (1845). MY DEAR LYELL,—This is literally the first day on which I have had any time to spare; and I will amuse myself by beginning a letter to you. ...
I was delighted with your letter in which you touch on Slavery; I wish the same feelings had been apparent in your published discussion. But I will not write on this subject, I
should perhaps annoy you, and most certainly myself
. I have exhaled myself with a paragraph or two in my Journal on the sin of Brazilian slavery; you perhaps will think that it is in answer to you; but such is not the case. I have remarked on nothing which I did not hear on the coast of South America. My few sentences, however, are merely an explosion of feeling. How could you relate so placidly that atrocious sentiment * about separating children from their parents; and in the next page speak of being distressed at the whites not having prospered; I assure you the contrast made me exclaim out. But I have broken my intention, and so no more on this odious deadly subject.
There is a favourable, but not strong enough review on you, in the Gardeners' Chronicle. I am sorry to see that Lindley abides by the carbonic acid gas theory. By the way, I was much pleased by Lindley picking out my extinction paragraphs and giving them uncurtailed. To my mind, putting the comparative rarity of existing species in the same category with extinction has removed a great weight; though of course it does not explain anything, it shows that until we can explain comparative rarity, we ought not to feel any surprise at not explaining extinction. ...
I am much pleased to hear of the call for a new edition of the ‘Principles': what glorious good that work has done. I fear this time you will not be amongst the old rocks; how I shall rejoice to live to see you publish and discover another stage below the Silurian-it would be the grandest step possible, I think. I anı very glad to hear what progress Bunbury is making in fossil Botany; there is a fine hiatus for him to fill up in this country. I will certainly call on him this winter.
.. From what little I saw of him, I can quite believe everything which you say of his talents.
* In the passage referred to, Lyell does not give his own views, but those of a planter,