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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Fordyce   8 May 1879

Abbey Rd | Grimsby

8th May 1879.

Dear Sir.

I thank you for your very kind note. With private and personal reservations and difficulties I of course have no concern— I felt sure from a study of the works to which I referred that Atheism was not Your position.1 Of course much depends on definitions, and I often hope and try to believe that these definitions conceal as well as reveal the real position of many.—

I am glad to hear you speak so decidedly about the absurdity of Theism—and Evolution not being compatible. It has always seemed to me in studying your writings that—a belief re Xstity as taught in the New Test. might be held consistently by any one—following you.—

I am anxious as a Xstian Teacher to—say nothing but truth and your kind note, which I had no right to expect, shows that so far as your Views have been expressed—I have not misrepresented them2

I can only say that with all its difficulties, and they are many—there seems to me light for every truth-seeker in Xst’s teachings which you seek elsewhere but never find.

Again I thank you for your note | Ever yours faithfully | J Fordyce

Dr C. Darwin


Fordyce was the independent minister of Spring Church, Grimsby. He later published a book, Aspects of scepticism, in which he included CD’s letter to him of 7 May 1879 (Fordyce 1883, p. 190).


Fordyce, John. 1883. Aspects of scepticism: with special reference to the present time. London: Elliot Stock.


Compatibility of evolution and theism.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Fordyce
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 164: 152
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12040,” accessed on 20 September 2021,