at that time Butler was deep in the counsels of the PRESS, and he may
have received private information on the subject. Butler's own
reappearance over the initials A. M. is sufficiently explained in his
letter to Darwin.
It is worth observing that Butler appears in the dialogue and ensuing
correspondence in a character very different from that which he was
later to assume. Here we have him as an ardent supporter of Charles
Darwin, and adopting a contemptuous tone with regard to the claims of
Erasmus Darwin to have sown the seed which was afterwards raised to
maturity by his grandson. It would be interesting to know if it was
this correspondence that first turned Butler's attention seriously to
the works of the older evolutionists and ultimately led to the
production of EVOLUTION, OLD AND NEW, in which the indebtedness of
Charles Darwin to Erasmus Darwin, Buffon and Lamarck is demonstrated
with such compelling force.
DARWIN ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES: A Dialogue
[From the Press, 20 December, 1862.]
F. So you have finished Darwin? Well, how did you like him?
C. You cannot expect me to like him. He is so hard and logical, and
he treats his subject with such an intensity of dry reasoning without
giving himself the loose rein for a single moment from one end of the
book to the other, that I must confess I have found it a great effort
to read him through.