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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. E. Abbot   15 April 1880

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

April 15th 1880

My dear Sir

I believe that I owe to you a copy of the Literary World with a capital review of a Lawyers book on evolution, & which I imagine is written by you.—1 I had seen something about this book in a little article by Asa Gray, but did not know how abusive it was.2 It appears to be a production worthy of an ignorant lawyer.—

For some time I have been intending to write & thank you for sending me the Index, & which I gratefully accept. But I now enclose a cheque for 5£ which will pay for copies for some little time.3 I always read a large part of your excellent Journal & shd certainly read every word had I time & strength sufficient. But reading much more than the papers &c which are necessary for my scientific work now-a-days tires me greatly.—

Most heartily wishing you success in your admirable endeavours in the good cause of truth & wishing you prosperity in all ways, I remain | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin

P.S. | Will you kindly send me a Post-card acknowledging receipt of the small cheque.—


Abbot sent CD a copy of an unsigned review titled ‘A Philadelphia lawyer’s views of Darwinism’ (Literary World, 27 March 1880, pp. 104–5); the book reviewed was The refutation of Darwinism (O’Neill 1880). CD’s annotated copy of the review is in DAR 226.1: 79–80.
Asa Gray had sent CD his unsigned review of O’Neill 1880, which appeared in the Nation, 4 March 1880, p. 182 (see letter from Asa Gray, 11 March 1880). CD’s copy is in DAR 226.1: 104.
Abbot was the editor of the Index, a weekly paper devoted to promoting ‘free religion’; according to Abbot’s letterhead, the annual subscription was $2.


O’Neill, T. Warren. 1880. The refutation of Darwinism; and the converse theory of development; based exclusively upon Darwin’s facts, and comprising qualitative and quantitative analyses of the phenomena of variation; of reversion; of correlation; of crossing; of close-interbreeding; of the reproduction of lost members; of the repair of injuries; of the reintegration of tissue; and of sexual and asexual generation. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co.


Thanks FEA for copy of a review of a book on evolution by "an ignorant lawyer".

Sends £5 for Index subscription.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12577,” accessed on 23 May 2022,