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Traducerea a trei scrisori ale lui Charles Darwin




Darwin, C. R. to Huxley, T. H., 9 Jan [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Jan 9th

My dear Huxley

If on 11th you have half-an-hour to spare you might like to see a very good show of Pigeons, & the enclosed card will admit you.—f1

The History of Error is quite unimportant, but it is curious to observe how exactly & accurately my Grandfather (in Zoonomia Vol. I. p. 504 1794) gives Lamarcks theory.f2 I will quote one sentence Speaking of Birds Beaks, He says „All which seem to have been gradually produced during many generations by the perpetual endeavour of the creatures to supply the want of food, & to have been delivered to their posterity with constant improvement of them for the purposes required.—””f3 Lamarck published Phil. Zoolog in 1809. The Zoonomia was translated into many languages.—f4

Ever yours | C. Darwin

Grote, the Historian, was much struck with the article in Times.—f5

Endorsement: Endorsement: `1860”



The annual show of the Philoperisteron Society was held on 11 January 1860 at the Freemason”s Tavern, London (Cottage Gardener, 17 January 1860, p. 248). CD had been a member of the society since 1855 (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 31 August [1855]). Huxley intended to describe CD”s pigeon work in a lecture on natural selection at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 10 February 1860; to assist Huxley, CD had provided him with information on pigeon breeding in a previous letter. CD had also mentioned the expertise and quaint practices of pigeon fanciers and recommended that Huxley attend an exhibition (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to T. H. Huxley, 27 November [1859]).


CD refers to his grandfather Erasmus Darwin and Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck. Huxley had ridiculed Lamarck”s theory of transmutation in his review of Origin in The Times, 26 December 1859, p. 8. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 1 January [1860].


E. Darwin 1794–6, 1: 504. CD”s copy of the work, inherited from his father Robert Waring Darwin, is in the Cambridge University Library. CD marked the passage quoted in the letter and wrote next to it: `Lamarck!!”. A slip pasted on the same page reads: `504 | Lamarck concisely prestalled by my Grandfather”. CD inserted a note to this effect in the `historical sketch” included in the American edition of Origin, p. vi. See Appendix IV.


In spite of CD”s inference, there is no evidence to suggest that Lamarck was aware of Erasmus Darwin”s work when he composed Philosophie zoologique (Lamarck 1809).


George Grote, the author of A history of Greece (1846–56), was a fellow of the Royal Society. CD met him when he lived in London (Autobiography, p. 111). He had read early volumes of Grote”s history in 1853 and finished the sixth volume in December 1859 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 5, 25).


Scrisoare către Huxley, T.H.

Down, Bromley, Kent, 9.01. [1860].

Dragă Huxley,

Dacă pe 11 ai o jumătate de oră liberă, poate îti va plăcea să vezi un spectacol de porumbei foarte bun, si biletul anexat va permite tie intrarea.

Istoria erorii este destul de neimportantă, dar este curios a observa cât de exact si acurat bunicul meu (în Zoonomia, vol. I, p. 504, 1794) dă teoria lui Lamarck. Voi cita o propozitie. Vorbind despre ciocurile păsărilor, el zice « din care toate par că au fost produse gradat, în timp de generatii multe, prin strădania perpetuă a creaturilor de a suplini vrerea de alimente, si că au fost transmise posteritătii cu ameliorarea lor constantă pentru scopurile cerute . »  Lamarck a publicat « Filosofia zoologică » în 1809. Zoonomia a fost tradusa în limbi mai multe.

Totdeauna al tău,

C. Darwin

Grote, istoricul, a fost impresionat mult de articolul din « Times ».

Verso : verso : ‘1860’



1.      Spectacolul anual al societatii Phikoperisteron a fost tinut pe 11.01.1860 la Hanul Francmasonului, Londra (Cottage Gardener, 17.01.1860, p. 248).

2.      Charles Darwin se referă la bunicul lui, Erasmus Darwin, si la Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck. Huxley a ridiculizat teoria transmutatiei a lui Lamarck în recenzia lui la « Originea speciilor », în « The Times », 26.12.1859, p. 8. V. scrisoarea către T. H. Huxley, 1.01. [1860].

3.      E. Darwin 1794 – 6, 1.504. Copia lui Charles Darwin a lucrării, mostenită de la tatăl lui, Robert Waring Darwin, este in biblioteca Universitătii din Cambridge. Charles Darwin a marcat pasajul citat în scrisoare si a scris lângă el : «Lamarck ! » Pe o foită lipită pe pagina aceeasi se citeste : « 504|Lamarck precedat de bunicul meu. » Charles Darwin a inserat o notă în scopul acesta în « Schita istorică » inclusă în editia americană a « Originii speciilor », p. VI. V. Apendicele IV.

4.      In ciuda presupunerii lui Charles Darwin, nu este nici o dovadă care să sugereze că Lamarck cunostea lucrarea lui Erasmus Darwin, când a compus « Philosophie zoologique (Filosofia zoologică) » (Lamarck 1809).

5.      George Grote, autorul lucrarii «O istorie a Greciei » (1846 -56), a fost un membru al Societatii Regale. Charles Darwin l-a intalnit cand a vietuit în Londra (« Autobiografie », p. 111). El a citit volumele prime ale Istoriei lui Grote în 1853, si a terminat volumul sase în decembrie, 1859. (« Corespondenta », vol. 4, Apendicele IV, 128 : 5 ,25).




Letter to JOHN MORLEY.

Down, April 14th [1871].

As this note requires no answer, I do not scruple to write a few lines to say how faithful and full a résumé you have given of my notions on the moral sense1 in the Pall Mall, and

1. ‘What is called the question of the moral sense is really two: how the moral faculty is acquired, and how it is regulated. Why do we obey conscience or feel pain in disobeying it? And why does conscience prescribe one kind of action and condemn another kind? To put it more technically, there is the question of the subjective existence of conscience, and there is the question of its objective prescriptions. First, why do I think it obligatory to do my duty? Second, why do I think it my duty to do this and not do that? Although, however, the second question ought to be treated independently, for reasons which we shall presently suggest, the historical answer to it, or the various grounds on which men have identified certain sorts of conduct with duty, rather than conduct of the opposite sorts, throws light on the other question of the conditions of growth of the idea of duty as a sovereign and imperial director. Mr. Darwin seems to us not to have perfectly recognised the logical separation between the two sides of the moral sense question. For example, he says (i. 97) that ”philosophers of the derivative school of morals formerly assumed that the foundation of morality lay in a form of Selfishness; but more recently in the Greatest Happiness principle.” But Mr. Mill, to whom Mr. Darwin refers, has expressly shown that the Greatest Happiness principle is a standard, and not a foundation, and that its validity as a standard of right and wrong action is just as tenable by one who believes the moral sense to be innate, as by one who holds that it is acquired. He says distinctly that the social feelings of mankind form ”the natural basis of sentiment for utilitarian morality.” So far from holding the Greatest Happiness principle to be the foundation of morality, he would describe it as the forming principle of the superstructure of which the social feelings of mankind are the foundation. Between Mr. Darwin and

to make a few extenuating or explanatory remarks. How the mistake which I have made in speaking of greatest happiness as the foundation of morals arose, is utterly unintelligible to me: any time during the last several years I should have laughed such an idea to scorn. Mr. Lecky never made a greater blunder,1 and your kindness has made you let me off too easily. With respect to Mr. Mill, nothing would have pleased me more than to have relied on his great authority with respect to the social instincts, but the sentence which I quote at [Volume I.] page 71 (‘if, as is my own belief, the moral feelings are not innate, but acquired, they are not for that reason less natural’) seems to me somewhat contradictory with the other words which I quote, so that I did not know what to think; more especially as he says so very little about the social instincts. When I speak of intellectual activity as the secondary basis of conscience, I meant in my own mind secondary in period of development; but no one could be expected to understand so great an ellipse. With reference to your last sentence, do you not think that man might

utilitarians, as utilitarians, there is no such quarrel as he would appear to suppose. The narrowest utilitarian could say little more than Mr. Darwin says (ii. 393): ”As all men desire their own happiness, praise or blame is bestowed on actions and motives according as they tend to this end; and, as happiness is an essential part of the general good, the Greatest Happiness principle indirectly serves as a nearly safe standard of right and wrong.” It is perhaps not impertinent to suspect that the faltering adverbs which we have printed in italics indicate no more than the reluctance of a half-conscious convert to pure utilitarianism. In another place (i. 98) he admits that ”as all wish for happiness, the Greatest Happiness principle will have become a most important secondary guide and object, the social instincts, including sympathy, always serving as the primary impulse and guide.” This is just what Mr. Mill says, only instead of calling the principle a secondary guide, he would call it a standard, to distinguish it from the social impulse, in which, as much as Mr. Darwin, he recognises the base and foundation.’-Pall Mall Gazette, April 12th, 1871.

1. In the first edition of the Descent of Man, I., page 97, Mr. Lecky is quoted as one of those who assumed that the ‘foundation of morality lay in a form of selfishness; but more recently in the ”greatest happiness” principle.’ Mr. Lecky”s name is omitted in this connection in the second edition, page 120. In this edition Mr. Darwin makes it clearer that he attaches most importance to the social instinct as the ‘primary impulse and guide.’

have retrograded in his parental, marriage, and other instincts without having retrograded in his social instincts? and I do not think that there is any evidence that man ever existed as a non- social animal. I must add that I have been very glad to read your remarks on the supposed case of the hive-bee: it affords an amusing contrast with what Miss Cobbe has written in the Theological Review.1 Undoubtedly the great principle of acting for the good of all the members of the same community, and therefore the good of the species, would still have held sovereign sway.

1. Mr. Darwin says (Descent of Man Edition I., Volume I., page 73; Edition II., page 99), ‘that if men lived like bees our unmarried females would think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers.’ Miss Cobbe remarks on this ‘that the principles of social duty would be reversed’ (Theological Review, April 1872). Mr. Morley, on the other hand, says of Darwin”s assertion, that it is ‘as reassuring as the most absolute of moralists could desire. For it is tantamount to saying that the foundations of morality, the distinctions of right and wrong, are deeply laid in the very conditions of social existence; that there is in face of these conditions a positive and definite difference between the moral and the immoral, the virtuous and the vicious, the right and the wrong, in the actions of individuals partaking of that social existence.’

Scrisoare către John Morley.

Down,14.04. [1871].

Cum nota aceasta nu cere nici un răspuns, nu sovăi să scriu cateva rânduri pentru a spune ce rezumat fidel si complet ai dat despre notiunile mele despre simtul moral (1) în ziarul « Pall Mall », pentru a face remarci atenuante sau explicative. Cum a aparut eroarea pe care am făcut-o vorbind despre fericirea cea mai mare ca fundatie a moralei, este complet neinteligibil pentru mine : in orice timp din mai multi ani in urmă, as fi tratat cu dispret o asemenea idee.

Dl. Lecky nu a facut niciodată o gafă mai mare (2) , si bunătatea dumitale te-a facut să mă eliberezi prea usor. În privinta d-lui Mill, nimic nu m-ar fi multumit mai mult decat a mă fi bazat pe autoritatea lui mare, în privinta instinctelor sociale,dar propozitia pe care eu o citez in [Volumul I.] pagina 71 (« Dacă, asa cum este credinta mea proprie, sentimentele morale nu sunt înnăscute, ci dobândite, ele nu sunt din motivul acesta mai putin naturale .») pare mie contradictoriu cu cuvintele  celelalte pe care le citez, asa incat nu stiu ce să gandesc ; în mod mai special deoarece el zice atât de foarte putin despre instinctele sociale. Cand vorbesc despre activitatea intelectuală ca baza secundară a constiintei, am inteles în mintea mea propriu secundar ca perioadă de dezvoltare ; dar nimeni nu ar fi asteptat să inteleagă o elipsă  atât de mare. Cu referire la propozitia ultimă a dumitale,  nu crezi că se poate ca omul să fi retrogradat în instinctele lui parental, marietal si altele, fără a fi retrogradat în instinctele sociale ale lui ? Si nu gândesc că există vreo dovadă că omul a existat vreodată ca un animal nesocial. Trebuie să adaug ca am fost bucuros foarte să citesc remarcile dumitale despre cazul albinei de stup : el permite un contrast amuzant cu ceea ce a scris d-ra Cobbe in « Revista Teologică »(3). Fără indoială, principiul mare de a actiona pentru binele tuturor membrilor aceleiasi comunităti, si de aceea binele speciei, ar fi stăpânit incă in mod absolut.

1.      – Pall Mall Gazette, 12.04.1871.

« Ceea ce este numit chestiunea simtului moral sunt în realitate două chestiuni : cum este dobândită facultatea morală, si cum este reglementată. De ce ne supunem constiintei sau simtim durere nesupunandu-ne ei ? Si de ce constiinta prescrie un fel de actiune si condamna alt fel ? Pentru a formula aceasta mai tehnic, există chestiunea existentei subiective a constiintei, si există chestiunea prescriptiilor obiective ale ei. Întâi, de ce gândesc că este obligatoriu să fac datoria mea ? Al doilea, de ce gândesc că este datoria mea sa fac aceasta si sa nu fac aceea ? Desi, totusi, chestiunea a doua ar trebui sa fie tratată independent, pentru motive pe care le sugerăm în prezent, răspunsul istoric la aceasta, sau bazele diverse pe care oamenii au identificat feluri diferite de purtare cu datoria, mai curand decat purtarea tipurilor contrare, aruncă lumină asupra chestiunii conditiilor de crestere a ideii de datorie ca un director suveran si imperial. Dl. Darwin pare nouă a nu fi recunoscut în mod perfect separatia logică între cele două părti ale chestiunii simtului moral. De exemplu , el zice (i . 97) că « filosofii scolii derivate de morală au presupus inainte că fundatia moralitătii se afla în un mod  de egoism ; dar mai recent  in principiul fericirii celei mai mari. » Dar dl. Mill, la care dl. Darwin se referă, a arătat in mod expres că principiul fericirii celei mai mari este un standard si nu o fundatie, si că validitatea acestuia ca un standard de actiune justă si actiune eronată este in mod similar tenabil de către unul care crede că simtul moral este innăscut, ca si de

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