RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1890. [Letters to Leonard Horner, 1846, 1847 and 1861]. In Lyell, Katherine M., ed. Memoir of Leonard Horner consisting of letters to his family. 2 vols. London.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 5.2022. RN1

NOTE: "Horner, Leonard, 1785-1864. Son of John Horner. Linen draper of Edinburgh. Scottish merchant, geologist and educational reformer. Fairly frequent correspondent of CD and met when CD was in London. Member of Whig circle and friend of Erasmus D (I). CD discussed evolution with before Origin. Biography: Katherine Murray Lyell (daughter), 2 vols., 1890. […] H took CD to meeting of Royal Society of Edinburgh. CCD1. 1827-31 First Warden of University College London. 1833-60 Factory Commissioner. 1845-47 and 1860-62 President Geological Society. 1846 H visited Down House with his wife. 1860 CD sent 1st edn of Origin to. Other visits noted by ED in her diaries from 1850-96, showed Joanna as the most frequent visitor but it is unclear if it was Joanna or Frances Joanna." (Paul van Helvert & John van Wyhe, Darwin: A Companion, 2021)

 For complete letters with important editorial notes see:

10 August 1846, in ML2: 174-5.

[23 December 1846-January 1847], in ML2: 220-1.

14 February 1861, in Correspondence vol. 9, p. 28.

20 March 1861, in ML2: 30-1.

[page] 300



From Charles Darwin.

Down, Bromley, Kent, February 14th, 1861.

My Dear Mr. Horner,—I must just thank you for your note, but I will take advantage of your kind and considerate offer of discussing the points referred to, till we meet. The latter point seems to me very intricate, and I have often thought it over.

Man does not cause any variations, he only accumulates any which occur; I do not suppose that God intentionally gave to parent Rock Pigeon a tendency to vary in size of crop, so that man by selecting such variations should make a Pouter, so under nature, I believe variations arise, as we must call them in our ignorance, accidentally or spontaneously, and these are naturally selected or preserved from being beneficial to the successive individual animals in their struggles for life. I know not whether I make myself clear.

Believe me, my dear Mr. Horner, Yours very sincerely, Charles Darwin.

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