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Darwin, Charles
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED, TO LEONARD HORNER
praising his Anniversary Address as President of the Geological Society, especially his summary of research on metamorphism and human origins ("...I thought that I had read up pretty well on the antiquity of man; but you bring all the facts so well together ... that the case seems much clearer to me..."), as well as comments on Biblical claims about the age of the Earth and The Origin of Species, 4 pages, 8vo, Down, Bromley, Kent, 20 March [1861], minor dust-staining and fold-tears

"...I must thank you for your remarks on the Origin of Species (though I suppose it is almost as incorrect to do so, as to thank a judge for a favourable verdict): what you have said has pleased me extremely. I am the more pleased, as I would rather have been well attacked than have been handled in the namby-pamby, old-woman style of the cautious Oxford Professor..."


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Literature

DCP-LETT-3094

Catalogue Note

A REMARKABLE LETTER TOUCHING ON SEVERAL OF DARWIN'S KEY INTELLECTUAL CONCERNS. Leonard Horner's presidential address was published in The Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 17 (1861), xxxi–lxxii. In his review of the current state of research he singled out the Origin as a publication of singular importance, but although he was generous with his compliments of Darwin's mind and manner, he carefully avoided making any clear point about Darwin's conclusions. Darwin's comment that he hated being handled in a "namby-pamby old-woman style" was probably directed against John Phillips, Oxford Professor of Geology (according to the editors of the Darwin Correspondence Project). However, it may also have been an indirect means of encouraging Horner to make his own views on natural selection more explicit. Horner was more direct when reviewing evidence of the antiquity of the Earth. He pointed out that the oft-quoted date of creation in 4004 BCE was not in the Bible itself but was postulated by Archbishop Ussher in the seventeenth century, and concluded simply that "The study of geology has become so general that those who are instructed in its mere elements cannot fail to see the discrepancy between this date and the truths which geology reveals" (p. lxx).

English Literature, History, Science, Childrens Books and Illustrations

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London