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Darwin Correspondence Project
"Darwin C R" in search-correspondent [X]
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Darwin, C. R. in correspondent [X]
Harvey, W. H. in correspondent [X]
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To W. H. Harvey   [20–4 September 1860]


Replies to WHH’s criticisms of the Origin. Is disappointed that WHH does not understand what CD means by natural selection. CD has said "ad nauseam" that selection can do nothing without previous variability. Natural selection accumulates successive variations in any profitable direction. If CD had to rewrite his book he would use "natural preservation" rather than selection. Defends his necessarily conjectural illustrations. Agrees with what WHH says on the antiquity of the world, but it makes no impression on him. Considers the difficulty of the first modification of the first protozoan. Emphasises that there is nothing in his theory "necessitating in each case progression of acquisition", nor is it the case that "a low form would never conquer a high" in the struggle for life. Attempts to explain what he means by a "dominant" group; dominance is always relative, and he does not believe any one group could be predominant. He has no objections to "sudden jumps"; they would aid him in some cases, but he has found no evidence to make him believe in them and a good deal pointing the other way.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Henry Harvey
Date:  [20–4 Sept 1860]
Classmark:  DAR 98 (ser. 2): 45–53
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2922

From William Henry Harvey   24 August 1860


Continues earlier discussion, admitting his opinions have been modified. Still regards natural selection as one agent of several. States areas of disagreement.

Author:  William Henry Harvey
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  24 Aug 1860
Classmark:  DAR 98 (ser. 2): 33–40
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2898

From W. H. Harvey   8 October 1860


Thanks CD for his patience and good-nature; does not want a controversial correspondence but wishes to reply to matters in CD’s letter, and does.

Author:  William Henry Harvey
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Oct 1860
Classmark:  DAR 98 (ser. 2): 54–7
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2943
Document type
letter (3)
Darwin, C. R.[X]
Harvey, W. H.[X]
08 (1)
09 (1)
10 (1)