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Letter 8154

Mivart, St G. J. to Darwin, C. R.

10 Jan 1872


Agrees to close their correspondence. Defends his position against criticisms of Huxley and Chauncey Wright; assures CD of his continuing friendly feelings.


7, North Bank, | N.W.

Janry. 10th | 1872

My dear Sir

I herewith close this correspondence & will say nothing even inthis letter calculated to annoy you in the least.

Perhaps it would be better taste not to reply at all but asyou let me know you will not read my reply to Mr. C. Wright Ifeel I ought to inform you of two facts.f1

One is that in charging me with ignoring physical causation whenI use the word “accidental” both Mr Wright & P. Huxley misrepresentme grotesquely.f2

Secondly Mr Wright takes the liberty to speak of my “theologicaleducation”—f3 as a fact my education was quite the other way.I was a thorough going disciple of the school of Mill, Bain &H. Spencerf4 & I am so strongly persuaded of the intellectual error &moral mischief of their views only because they were once so completelymine— As to “Natural Selection” I accepted it completely and infact my doubts & difficulties were first excited by attending Prof.Huxley’s lectures at the school of Mines.f5

Thirdly— I have a relation who has I think an excellent literarytaste— He is no Christian & in speculative matters sympathizes muchmore with you than with me.f6 It has been his task to look over myproofs & to strike out every expression which might seem to him to becalculated to wound your feelings & I have always deferred to hisopinions in the matter.

I shall not, of course, trouble you with anything of mine unlessperfectly free from controversial remarks.If however, as I hope, I may resume my purely anatomical work Ishall then take the liberty of sending you my papers— If you thinkproper to accept & acknowledge them it will give me great pleasure tosee once more your hand writing but if not I shall hope that in anotherworld, with misunderstandings removed, we may have pleasant intercourseas to our diverse modes of solving the enigma of nature

I am exceedingly sorry to have caused you mortification & I protest,in spite of all you may think, I have, do and shall feel morethan “friendly” towards you & that it is not in mere formalitythat I subscribe myself

Yours very sincerely | St Geo Mivart

To | C. Darwin Esq

DAR 171: 199



See letter to St G. J. Mivart, 8 January [1872]. Mivart replied toChauncey Wright in the North American Review (Mivart 1872b).
See Wright 1871a, pp. 68–9; Mivart also refers to (professor) Thomas HenryHuxley (see T. H. Huxley 1871a, p. 474).
See Wright 1871a, p. 78.
John Stuart Mill, Alexander Bain, and Herbert Spencer.
Huxley was professor of natural history at the Royal School ofMines in Jermyn Street, London.
Mivart’s relation has not been identified.
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