Charles Darwin an Ernst Haeckel, Down, 27. Dezember 1871
Down, | Beckenham, Kent.
Dec 27. 1871
My dear Häckel
I thank you for yr very interesting letter, which it has given me much pleasure to receive. I never heard of any thing so odd as a Prior in the holy Catholic Church believing in our ape-like progenitors. I much hope that the Jesuits will not dislodge him.
What a wonderfully active man you are! & I rejoice that you have been so successful || in yr work on sponges.
Your book with 60 plates will be magnificent. I shall be glad to learn what you think of Clarke’s view about sponges being flagellate infusorians: some observers in this country believe in him. I am glad you are going fully to consider inheritance, which is an all-important subject for us. I do not know whether you have ever read my Chapter on Pangenesis: my ideas have been almost universally despised; & I suppose that I was foolish to publish them; yet I must still think that there is some truth in them; any how they || have aided me much in making me clearly understand the facts of inheritance.
I have had bad health this last summer, & during 2 months was able to do nothing. But I have now almost finished a new edit. of the Origin, which Victor Carus is translating. There is not much new in it, except one chapter in which I have answered, I hope satisfactorily, Mr Mivart’s supposed difficulty on the incipient development of useful structures. I have also given my reasons for quite disbelieving in great & sudden modifications. I am preparing || an essay on expression in man & the lower animals; it has little importance, but has interested me. I doubt whether my strength will last for much more serious work. I hope however to publish next summer the results of my long continued experiments on the wonderful advantages derived from crossing. I shall continue to work as long as I can; but it does not much signify when I stop, as there are so many good men fully as capable, perhaps more capable than myself, of carrying on our work; & of these you rank as the first. a ||
With cordial good wishes for your success in all your work, & for your happiness, believe me
my dear Häckel
yours very sincerely
a gestr.: W