What a good kind friend you are! I know well that this medal must have cost you a deal of trouble. It is a very great honour to me, but I declare the knowledge that you and a few other friends have interested themselves on the subject is the real cream of the enjoyment to me; indeed, it is to me worth far more than many medals. So accept my true and cordial thanks. I hope that I may yet have strength to do a little more work in Natural Science, shaky and old though I be. I have chuckled and triumphed over your postscript about poor M. Brulle and his young pupils (181/1. The following is the postscript in a letter from Falconer to Darwin November 3rd : "I returned last night from Spain via France. On Monday I was at Dijon, where, while in the Museum, M. Brulle, Professor of Zoology, asked me what was my frank opinion of Charles Darwin's doctrine? He told me in despair that he could not get his pupils to listen to anything from him except a la Darwin! He, poor man, could not comprehend it, and was still unconvinced, but that all young Frenchmen would hear or believe nothing else.") About a week ago I had a nearly similar account from Germany, and at the same time I heard of some splendid converts in such men as Leuckart, Gegenbauer, etc. You may say what you like about yourself, but I look at a man who treats natural history in the same spirit with which you do, exactly as good, for what I believe to be the truth, as a convert.
LETTER 182. TO HUGH FALCONER. Down, November 8th .
Your remark on the relation of the award of the medal and the present outburst of bigotry had not occurred to me. It seems very true, and makes me the more gratified to receive it. General Sabine (182/1. See "Life and Letters," III., page 28.) wrote to me and asked me to attend at the anniversary, but I told him it was really impossible. I have never been able to conjecture the cause; but I find that on my good days, when I can write for a couple of hours, that anything which stirs me up like talking for half or even a quarter of an hour, generally quite prostrates me, sometimes even for a long time afterwards. I believe attending the anniversary would possibly make me seriously ill. I should enjoy attending and shaking you and a few of my other friends by the hand, but it would be folly even if I did not break down at the time. I told Sabine that I did not know who had proposed and seconded me for the medal, but that I presumed it was you, or Hooker or Busk, and that I felt sure, if you attended, you would receive the medal for me; and that if none of you attended, that Lyell or Huxley would receive it for me. Will you receive it, and it could be left at my brother's?
Again accept my cordial and enduring thanks for all your kindness and sympathy.
LETTER 183. TO B.D. WALSH. Down, December 4th .
I have been greatly interested by your account of your American life. What an extraordinary and self-contained life you have led! and what vigour of mind you must possess to follow science with so much ardour after all that you have undergone! I am very much obliged to you for your pamphlet on Geographical Distribution, on Agassiz, etc. (183/1. Mr. Walsh's paper "On certain Entomological Speculations of the New England School of Entomologists" was published in the "Proc. Entomolog. Soc. of Philadelphia," September 1864, page 207.) I am delighted at the manner in which you have bearded this lion in his den. I agree most entirely with all that you have written. What I meant when I wrote to Agassiz to thank him for a bundle of his publications, was exactly what you suppose. (183/2. Namely, that Mr. Darwin, having been abused as an atheist, etc., by other writers, probably felt grateful to a writer who was willing to allow him "a spirit as reverential as his own." ("Methods of Study," Preface, page iv.) I confess, however, I did not fully perceive how he had misstated my views; but I only skimmed through his "Methods of Study," and thought it a very poor book. I am so much accustomed to be utterly misrepresented that it hardly excites my attention. But you really have hit the nail on the head capitally. All the younger good naturalists whom I know think of Agassiz as you do; but he did grand service about glaciers and fish. About the succession of forms, Pictet has given up his whole views, and no geologist now agrees with Agassiz. I am glad that you have attacked Dana's wild notions; [though] I have a great respect for Dana...If you have an opportunity, read in "Trans. Linn. Soc." Bates on "Mimetic Lepidoptera of Amazons." I was delighted with his paper.
I have got a notice of your views about the female Cynips inserted in the "Natural History Review" (183/3. "Nat. Hist. Review," January 1865, page 139. A notice by "J.L." (probably Lord Avebury) on Walsh's paper "On Dimorphism in the Hymenopterous Genus Cynips," in the "Proc. Entomolog. Soc. of Philadelphia," March, 1864.): whether the notice will be favourable, I do not know, but anyhow it will call attention to your views...
As you allude in your paper to the believers in change of species, you will be glad to hear that very many of the very best men are coming round in Germany. I have lately heard of Hackel, Gegenbauer, F. Muller, Leuckart, Claparede, Alex. Braun, Schleiden, etc. So it is, I hear, with the younger Frenchmen.