You often allude to Lamarck's work; I do not know what you think about it, but it appeared to me extremely poor; I got not one fact or idea from it.
Writing to Lyell in 1863, he says:
Darwin wrote to Hooker in 1844:
Darwin had read "The Zoonomia" of his grandfather prior to 1825 in which "similar views [to those of Lamarck] are mentioned but without producing any effect" on him. He continues, with his usual candor:
It is a regrettable fact that Darwin did not appreciate Lamarck's work. The failure of Lamarck's writings to produce any apparent influence on Darwin may be attributed, I think, to the form in which Lamarck's views are presented. He uses facts as illustrations of his ideas, while with Darwin the facts are all important as furnishing the evidence on which a theory is to be established. He misunderstood Lamarck's view in regard to the inheritance of acquired characters, yet held himself the same opinion in the main as had Lamarck. The modern idea of descent, as a system of branching due to divergence in those species descended from the same parent species, was expounded luminously by Lamarck, yet Darwin discovered it independently for himself. He says:
It is this same view that Lamarck had fully expounded thirty-five years before.
We have now arrived at the period just before the publication of Darwin's famous book. It is sometimes said that the time was ripe for the reception of the ideas formulated by Darwin—it was in the air,