(From the 1914 A. C. Fifield edition by David Price)
Darwin on the Origin of Species
Letter: 21 Feb 1863
Letter: 14 Mar 1863
Letter: 18 Mar 1863
Letter: 11 Apr 1863
Letter: 22 June 1863
Darwin Among the Machines
A note on "The Tempest"
The English Cricketers
DARWIN ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
As the following dialogue embodies the earliest fruits of Butler's
study of the works of Charles Darwin, with whose name his own was
destined in later years to be so closely connected, and thus
possesses an interest apart from its intrinsic merit, a few words as
to the circumstances in which it was published will not be out of
Butler arrived in New Zealand in October, 1859, and about the same
time Charles Darwin's ORIGIN OF SPECIES was published. Shortly
afterwards the book came into Butler's hands. He seems to have read
it carefully, and meditated upon it. The result of his meditations
took the shape of the following dialogue, which was published on 20
December, 1862, in the PRESS which had been started in the town of
Christ Church in May, 1861. The dialogue did not by any means pass
unnoticed. On the 17th of January, 1863, a leading article (of
course unsigned) appeared in the PRESS, under the title "Barrel-
Organs," discussing Darwin's theories, and incidentally referring to
Butler's dialogue. A reply to this article, signed A .M., appeared
on the 21st of February, and the correspondence was continued until
the 22nd of June, 1863. The dialogue itself, which was unearthed
from the early files of the PRESS, mainly owing to the exertions of
Mr. Henry Festing Jones, was reprinted, together with the
correspondence that followed its publication, in the PRESS of June 8
and 15, 1912. Soon after the original appearance of Butler's
dialogue a copy of it fell into the hands of Charles Darwin, possibly
sent to him by a friend in New Zealand. Darwin was sufficiently
struck by it to forward it to the editor of some magazine, which has
not been identified, with the following letter:-
Down, Bromley, Kent, S.E.
March 24 .
Mr. Darwin takes the liberty to send by this post to the Editor a New
Zealand newspaper for the very improbable chance of the Editor having
some spare space to reprint a Dialogue on Species. This Dialogue,
written by some [sic] quite unknown to Mr. Darwin, is remarkable from
its spirit and from giving so clear and accurate a view of Mr. D.
[sic] theory. It is also remarkable from being published in a colony
exactly 12 years old, in which it might have [sic] thought only
material interests would have been regarded.
The autograph of this letter was purchased from Mr. Tregaskis by Mr.
Festing Jones, and subsequently presented by him to the Museum at
Christ Church. The letter cannot be dated with certainty, but since
Butler's dialogue was published in December, 1862, and it is at least
probable that the copy of the PRESS which contained it was sent to
Darwin shortly after it appeared, we may conclude with tolerable
certainty that the letter was written in March, 1863.