DARWIN, Charles, letters, autographs, documents, manuscripts

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'... utterly false and base statements ...'

DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). Naturalist.
Autograph Letter Signed [to Friedrich Max Müller], 2 pages 8vo (a few stains, small repair to bottom of second leaf), Down, Beckenham, Kent, 5 January 1875. A good letter relating to Darwin's conflict with St George Jackson Mivart, the author of On the Genesis of Species ("the most devastating all-round attack on natural selection in Darwin's lifetime" [Desmond and Moore]).
Darwin had just started to read an article in the Contemporary Review, and, apparently before completing his reading, hastens to take up his pen to tell Max Müller that neither he nor his son, George, had thought that he had been the author of a Review in the Quarterly Review comprising a vicious attack on George's article on the statistical analysis of first-cousin marriage.
'I have just read the few first pages of your article in the Contemporary, & I hope that you will permit me to say that neither I nor my son ever supposed that you were the author of the Review in The Quarterly. You are about the last man in England to whom I sh[oul]d have attributed such a review. I know that it was written Mr Mivart, and the utterly false & base statements contained in it in relation to my son, are worthy of the man. My son wishes me to add that you have imputed to him a good many criticisms, that are in reality Professor Whitney's, & is sorry that you sh[oul]d think that he ventured to criticize your writings on his own account.'
Friedrich Max Müller (1823-1900), orientalist and philologist, the recipient on the present letter, was a scholar of great distinction. DNB states that 'probably no other scholar ever obtained more of the honours which are bestowed on learning'. The second part of the letter refers to an article by Max Müller, also in the Contemporary Review on 'Professor Whitney on the Origin of Language'. William Dwight Whitney (1827-1924) was a professor at Yale and a distinguished Sanskrit scholar and philologist.
See The Calendar of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, No. 9802.
[No: 20078]

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