RECORD: Tyndall, John. 1875. [Recollection of meeting between Carlyle and Darwin]. In Tyndall, John. 1898. New fragments. New York: Appleton, p. 388.

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared by Kees Rookmaaker 11.2010. RN1

NOTE: This recollection is reprinted in Thomas Glick, What about Darwin? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2010.

[page 388]


Here a personal recollection comes into view which, as it throws a pleasant light on the relations of Carlyle and Darwin, may be worth recording. Like many other noble ladies, Lady Derby1 was a warm friend of Carlyle; and once, during an entire summer, Keston Lodge was placed by Lord Derby at Carlyle's disposal. From the seat of our common friend, Sir John Lubbock, where we had been staying, the much-mourned William Spottiswoode2 and myself once walked over to the Lodge to see Carlyle. He was absent; but as we returned we met him and his niece, the present Mrs. Alexander Carlyle, driving home in a pony-carriage. I had often expressed to him the wish that he and Darwin might meet; for it could not be doubted that the nobly candid character of the great naturalist would make its due impression. The wish was fulfilled. He met us with the exclamation: "Well, I have been to see Darwin." He paused, and I expressed my delight. "Yes," he added, "I have been to see him, and a more charming man I have never met in my life."

1 Lady Constance Villier (1840-1922), wife of the Conservative politician Frederick Arthur Stanley, Earl of Derby (1841-1905), promoted the idea of a knighthood for Carlyle.

2 William Spottiswoode (1825-1883), English mathematician and physicist, president of the Royal Society from 1878 to 1883.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), English author.

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