RECORD: Bentham, George. 1882.05.30. [Recollections of Darwin.] CUL-DAR112.A5-A7 (Darwin Online, http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe 8.2008. RN1
NOTE: Editorial symbols used in the transcription:
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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
[in another handwriting] G. Bentham
[in another handwriting] Printed
From Mr. Bentham to Francis Darwin
25 Wilton Place, S.W.
May 30, 1882
My dear Sir
In compliance with your note which I received last night, I send herewith the letters I have from your father. I should have done so on seeing the general request published in the papers, but that I did not think there were any among them which could be of any use to you. Highly flattered as I was by the kind and friendly notice with which Mr. Darwin occasionally honoured me, I was never admitted into his intimacy, and he therefore never made any communications to me in relation to his views and labours. I have been throughout one of his most sincere admirers and fully adopted his theories and conclusions, notwithstanding the severe pain and disappointment they at first occasioned me. On the day that his celebrated paper was read at the Linnean Society, July 1st 1858, a long paper of mine had been set down for reading, in which in commenting on the British Flora, I had collected a number of observations and facts illustrating what I then believed to be a fixity in species, however difficult
it might be to assign their limits, and showing a tendency of abnormal forms produced by cultivation or otherwise, to withdraw within those original limits when left to themselves. Most fortunately my paper had to give way to Mr. Darwin’s, and when once that was read, I felt bound to defer mine for reconsideration. I began to entertain doubts on the subject, and on the appearance of the Origin of Species, I was forced, however reluctantly, to give up my long cherished convictions, the results of much labour and study, and I cancelled all that part of my paper which urged original fixity, and published only portions of the remainder in another form, chiefly in the Natural History Review. I have since acknowledged on various occasions my full adoption of Mr Darwin’s views, and chiefly in my Presidential address of 1863, and in my 13th and last address, issued in the form of a report to the British Association at its meeting at Belfast in 1874.
I prize so highly the letters that I have of Mr. Darwin's, that I should feel obliged by your returning them to me when you have done with them. Unfortunately I have not kept the envelopes and Mr. Darwin usually only dated them by the month not by
the year, so that they are not in any chronological order.
Yours very sincerely,
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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (http://darwin-online.org.uk/)
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