My belief certainly is that number of offspring is not so important an element in keeping up population of a species as supply of food and other favourable conditions; because the numbers of a species constantly vary greatly in different parts of its own area, whereas the average number of offspring is not a very variable element.
However, I will say no more, but leave the problem as insoluble, only fearing that it will become a formidable weapon in the hands of the enemies of Natural Selection.
(215/1. The following extract from a letter to Sir Joseph Hooker (dated April 3rd, 1868) refers to his Presidential Address for the approaching meeting of the British Association at Norwich.
Some account of Sir Joseph's success is given in the "Life and Letters," III., page 100, also in Huxley's "Life," Volume I., page 297, where Huxley writes to Darwin:--
"We had a capital meeting at Norwich, and dear old Hooker came out in great force, as he always does in emergencies. The only fault was the terrible 'Darwinismus' which spread over the section and crept out when you least expected it, even in Fergusson's lecture on 'Buddhist Temples.' You will have the rare happiness to see your ideas triumphant during your lifetime.
"P.S.--I am going into opposition; I can't stand it.")
I have been thinking over your Presidential Address; I declare I made myself quite uncomfortable by fancying I had to do it, and feeling myself utterly dumbfounded.
But I do not believe that you will find it so difficult. When you come to Down I shall be very curious to hear what your ideas are on the subject.