perused in 1844, and the contents of which we had both of us been privy to for many years. On representing this to Mr. Darwin, he gave us permission to make what use we thought proper of his memoir, &c.; and in adopting our present course, of presenting it to the Linnean Society, we have explained to him that we are not solely considering the relative claims to priority of himself and his friend, but the interests of science generally.”]


C. Darwin to C. Lyell.

*Down, 18th (June 1858]. MY DEAR LYELL, -Some year or so ago you recommended me to read a paper by Wallace in the ‘Annals,' * which had interested you, and, as I was writing to him, I knew this would please him much, so I told him. He has to-day sent me the enclosed, and asked me to forward it to you. It seems to me well worth reading. Your words have come true with a vengeance-that I should be forestalled. You said this, when I explained to you here very briefly my views of “Natural Selection' depending on the struggle for existence. I never saw a more striking coincidence; if Wallace had my MS. sketch written out in 1842, he could not have made a better short abstract! Even his terms now stand as heads of my chapters. Please return me the MS., which he does not say he wishes me to publish, but I shall of course, at once write and offer to send to any journal. So all my originality, whatever it may amount to, will be smashed, though my book, if it will ever have any value, will not be deteriorated ; as all the labour consists in the application of the theory.

I hope you will approve of Wallace's sketch, that I may tell him what you say. My dear Lyell, yours most truly,


* Annals and Mag. of Nat. Hist., 1855.

C. Darwin to C. Lyell.

Down, Friday (June 25, 1858). MY DEAR LYELL, -I am very sorry to trouble you, busy as you are, in so merely a personal an affair; but if you will give me your deliberate opinion, you will do me as great a service as ever man did, for I have entire confidence in your judgment and honour. .

There is nothing in Wallace's sketch which is not written out much fuller in my sketch, copied out in 1844, and read by Hooker some dozen years ago. About a year ago I sent a short sketch, of which I have a copy, of my views (owing to correspondence on several points) to Asa Gray, so that I could most truly say and prove that I take nothing from Wallace. I should be extremely glad now to publish a sketch of my general views in about a dozen pages or so; but I can. not persuade myself that I can do so honourably. Wallace says nothing about publication, and I enclose his letter. But as I had not intended to publish any sketch, can I do so honourably, because Wallace has sent me an outline of his doctrine? I would far rather burn my whole book, than that he or any other man should think that I had behaved in a paltry spirit. Do you not think his having sent me this sketch ties my hands? . . . If I could honourably publish, I would state that I was induced now to publish a sketch (and I should be very glad to be permitted to say, to follow your advice long ago given) from Wallace having sent me an outline of my general conclusions. We differ only, [in] that I was led to my views from what artificial selection has done for domestic animals. I would send Wallace a copy of my letter to Asa Gray, to show him that I had not stolen his doctrine. But I cannot tell whether to publish now would not be base and paltry. This was my first impression, and I should have certainly acted on it had it not been for your letter.

This is a trumpery affair to trouble you with, but you cannot tell how much obliged I should be for your advice.

By the way, would you object to send this and your an




swer to Hooker to be forwarded to me, for then I shall have the opinion of my two best and kindest friends. This letter is miserably written, and I write it now, that I may for a time banish the whole subject; and I am worn out with musing ...

My good dear friend forgive me. This is a trumpery letter, influenced by trumpery feelings.

Yours most truly,


I will never trouble you or Hooker on the subject again.

C. Darwin to C. Lyell.

Down, 26th (June, 1858). MY DEAR LYELL,-Forgive me for adding a P.S. to make the case as strong as possible against myself.

Wallace might say, “You did not intend publishing an abstract of your views till you received my communication. Is it fair to take advantage of my having freely, though unasked, communicated to you my ideas, and thus prevent me forestalling you?” The advantage which I should take being that I am induced to publish from privately knowing that Wallace is in the field. It seems hard on me that I should be thus compelled to lose my priority of many years' standing, but I cannot feel at all sure that this alters the justice of the case. First impressions are generally right, and I at first thought it would be dishonourable in me now to publish.

Yours most truly,


P. S.--I have always thought you would make a first-rate Lord Chancellor; and I now appeal to you as a Lord Chancellor.

C. Darwin to J. D. Hooker.

Down, Tuesday (June 29, 1858). I have received your letters. I cannot think now* on the subject, but soon will. But I can see that you have acted with more kindness, and so has Lyell, even that I could have expected from you both, most kind as you are.

I can easily get my letter to Asa Gray copied, but it is too short. God bless you.

You shall hear soon, as soon as I can think.

Yours affectionately,

C. Darwin.

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Tuesday night [June 29, 1858). MY DEAR HOOKER, -I have just read your letter, and see you want the papers at once. I am quite prostrated, and can do nothing, but I send Wallace, and the abstract † of my letter to Asa Gray, which gives most imperfectly only the means of change, and does not touch on reasons for believing that species do change. I dare say all is too late. I hardly care about it.

But you are too generous to sacrifice so much time and kindness. It is most generous, most kind. I send my sketch of 1844 solely that you may see by your own handwriting that you did read it. I really cannot bear to look at it. Do not waste much time. It is miserable in me to care at all about priority.

The table of contents will show what it is.

I would make a similar, but shorter and more accurate sketch for the 'Linnean Journal.'

* So soon after the deathi, from scarlet fever, of his infant child.

f“ Abstract " is here used in the sense of “extract ;” in this sense also it occurs in the 'Linnean Journal,' where the sources of my father's paper are described.




I will do anything. God bless you, my dear kind friend. I can write no more. I send this by my servant to Kew.



[The following letter is that already referred to as forming part of the joint paper published in the Linnean Society's Journal,' 1858) :

C. Darwin to Asa Gray.

to you.

Down, Sept.* 5th (1857). MY DEAR GRAY,-I forget the exact words which I used in my former letter, but I dare say I said that I thought you would utterly despise me when I told you what views I had arrived at, which I did because I thought I was bound as an honest man to do so. I should have been a strange mortal, seeing how much I owe to your quite extraordinary kindness, if in saying this I had meant to attribute the least bad feeling

Permit me to tell you that, before I had ever corresponded with you, Hooker had shown me several of your letters (not of a private nature), and these gave me the warmest feeling of respect to you; and I should indeed be ungrateful if

your letters to me, and all I have heard of you, had not strongly enhanced this feeling. But I did not feel in the least sure that when you knew whither I was tending, that you might not think me so wild and foolish in my views (God knows, arrived at slowly enough, and I hope conscientiously), that you would think me worth no more notice or assistance. To give one example: the last time I saw my dear old friend Falconer, he attacked me most vigorously, but quite kindly, and told me,“ You will do more harm than any ten Naturalists will do good. I can see that you have already corrupted and

* The date is given as October in the 'Linnean Journal.' The extracts were printed from a duplicate undated copy in my father's possession, on which he had written, " This was sent to Asa Gray 8 or 9 months ago, I think October 1857,

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