me. Also I was stupid. Indeed, although she always indignantly

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LETTER 57. TO T.H. HUXLEY. Moor Park, Farnham, Surrey [1857?].

me. Also I was stupid. Indeed, although she always indignantly

Your letter has been forwarded to me here, where I am profiting by a few weeks' rest and hydropathy. Your letter has interested and amused me much. I am extremely glad you have taken up the Aphis (57/1. Professor Huxley's paper on the organic reproduction of Aphis is in the "Trans. Linn. Soc." XXII. (1858), page 193. Prof. Owen had treated the subject in his introductory Hunterian lecture "On Parthenogenesis" (1849). His theory cannot be fully given here. Briefly, he holds that parthenogenesis is due to the inheritance of a "remnant of spermatic virtue": when the "spermatic force" or "virtue" is exhausted fresh impregnation occurs. Huxley severely criticises both Owen's facts and his theory.) question, but, for Heaven's sake, do not come the mild Hindoo (whatever he may be) to Owen; your father confessor trembles for you. I fancy Owen thinks much of this doctrine of his; I never from the first believed it, and I cannot but think that the same power is concerned in producing aphides without fertilisation, and producing, for instance, nails on the amputated stump of a man's fingers, or the new tail of a lizard. By the way, I saw somewhere during the last week or so a statement of a man rearing from the same set of eggs winged and wingless aphides, which seemed new to me. Does not some Yankee say that the American viviparous aphides are winged? I am particularly glad that you are ruminating on the act of fertilisation: it has long seemed to me the most wonderful and curious of physiological problems. I have often and often speculated for amusement on the subject, but quite fruitlessly. Do you not think that the conjugation of the Diatomaceae will ultimately throw light on the subject? But the other day I came to the conclusion that some day we shall have cases of young being produced from spermatozoa or pollen without an ovule. Approaching the subject from the side which attracts me most, viz., inheritance, I have lately been inclined to speculate, very crudely and indistinctly, that propagation by true fertilisation will turn out to be a sort of mixture, and not true fusion, of two distinct individuals, or rather of innumerable individuals, as each parent has its parents and ancestors. I can understand on no other view the way in which crossed forms go back to so large an extent to ancestral forms. But all this, of course, is infinitely crude. I hope to be in London in the course of this month, and there are two or three points which, for my own sake, I want to discuss briefly with you.

me. Also I was stupid. Indeed, although she always indignantly

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

me. Also I was stupid. Indeed, although she always indignantly

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...

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.

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.


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