More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1

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Author: Charles Darwin

Letter 248. To E. Hackel. Down, December 27th, 1871.

I thank you for your very interesting letter, which it has given me much pleasure to receive. I never heard of anything so odd as the Prior in the Holy Catholic Church believing in our ape-like progenitors. I much hope that the Jesuits will not dislodge him.

What a wonderfully active man you are! and I rejoice that you have been so successful in your work on sponges. (248/1. "Die Kalkschwamme: eine Monographie; 3 volumes: Berlin, 1872. H.J. Clark published a paper "On the Spongiae Ciliatae as Infusoria flagellata" in the "Mem. Boston Nat. Hist. Soc." Volume I., Part iii., 1866. See Hackel, op. cit., Volume I., page 24.) Your book with sixty plates will be magnificent. I shall be glad to learn what you think of Clark’s view of sponges being flagellate infusorians; some observers in this country believe in him. I am glad you are going fully to consider inheritance, which is an all-important subject for us. I do not know whether you have ever read my chapter on pangenesis. My ideas have been almost universally despised, and I suppose that I was foolish to publish them; yet I must still think that there is some truth in them. Anyhow, they have aided me much in making me clearly understand the facts of inheritance.

I have had bad health this last summer, and during two months was able to do nothing; but I have now almost finished a next edition of the "Origin," which Victor Carus is translating. (248/2. See "Life and Letters," III., page 49.) There is not much new in it, except one chapter in which I have answered, I hope satisfactorily, Mr. Mivart’s supposed difficulty on the incipient development of useful structures. I have also given my reasons for quite disbelieving in great and sudden modifications. I am preparing an essay on expression in man and the lower animals. It has little importance, but has interested me. I doubt whether my strength will last for much more serious work. I hope, however, to publish next summer the results of my long-continued experiments on the wonderful advantages derived from crossing. I shall continue to work as long as I can, but it does not much signify when I stop, as there are so many good men fully as capable, perhaps more capable, than myself of carrying on our work; and of these you rank as the first.

With cordial good wishes for your success in all your work and for your happiness.

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Chicago: Charles Darwin, "Letter 248. To E. Hackel. Down, December 27th, 1871.," More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, ed. Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941 and trans. Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866 in More Letters of Charles Darwin Original Sources, accessed January 21, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QCGDV9MSH2GNEB7.

MLA: Darwin, Charles. "Letter 248. To E. Hackel. Down, December 27th, 1871." More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, edited by Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941, and translated by Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866, in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, Original Sources. 21 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QCGDV9MSH2GNEB7.

Harvard: Darwin, C, 'Letter 248. To E. Hackel. Down, December 27th, 1871.' in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 1, ed. and trans. . cited in , More Letters of Charles Darwin. Original Sources, retrieved 21 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QCGDV9MSH2GNEB7.