skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Lawson Tait   6 August 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Aug. 6th 76

My dear Sir

I shall feel much pleased & honoured if I am elected one of your Members, & I beg you to return on my part my best thanks to your Society.—1

I read with interest the article which you were so good as to send me & I agree with the greater part.—2 Under a theological point of view, I cannot however quite agree that the origin of evil is explained by survival. Why shd a small cut cause tetanus or child-birth—or parasitic worms cause so much suffering? Why was not man formed with sympathies extending beyond his—own tribe, so that murder could have been a crime from the earliest period?

I am glad that you have not given up polydactylism.—3

I am Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

In his letter of 4 August [1876], Tait had asked permission to name CD an honorary member of the Birmingham Natural History Society.
See letter from Lawson Tait, 4 August [1876] and n. 3. Tait’s article on the evolution of moral life (L. Tait 1876c) has not been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
See letter from Lawson Tait, 4 August [1876]. Tait had discussed polydactylism in his review of Variation 2d ed. (L. Tait 1876b).

Bibliography

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Summary

CD accepts membership in the Birmingham Natural History Society.

Thanks RLT for article. CD cannot quite agree that "under a theological point of view, the origin of evil is explained by survival".

Is glad RLT has not given up polydactylism.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10571
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 221.5: 35
Physical description
3pp (Photocopy)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10571,” accessed on 26 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10571.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24

letter