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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   3 August [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Aug. 3d

My dear Sir

I suppose that I have to thank you for a copy of the Quarterly, which I found here on my return home.—2 The article on the Origin seems to me very clever & I am quizzed splendidly; I really believe that I enjoyed it as much as if I had not been the unfortunate butt. There is hardly any malice in it, which is wonderful considering the source whence many of the suggestions came.3 The Bishop makes me say several things which I do not say, but these very clever men think they can write a review with a very slight knowledge of the Book reviewed or subject in question.—

With my thanks for your kind present | Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

I see there is a cancelled page, which I presume contained some great blunder; what sweet revenge it would have been, had but the page been left in!—

Did you ever read such magnificent nonsense as the “strong shudder which ran through all this the world”!4


The year is given by the reference to the review of Origin in the Quarterly Review (see n. 2, below). CD returned to Down from Hartfield, Sussex, on 2 August 1860 (Emma Darwin’s diary).
The July issue of the Quarterly Review carried Samuel Wilberforce’s anonymous review of Origin ([Wilberforce] 1860). John Murray, who published Origin, was also the publisher of the Quarterly. CD’s annotated copy of Wilberforce’s review is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD believed that Richard Owen had supplied Wilberforce with the scientific details mentioned in the review.
[Wilberforce] 1860, p. 260. The passage reads: But we can give him a simpler solution still for the presence of these strange forms of imperfection and suffering amongst the works of God. We can tell him of the strong shudder which ran through all this world when its head and ruler fell.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

[Wilberforce, Samuel.] 1860. [Review of Origin.] Quarterly Review 108: 225–64.


Thanks JM for Quarterly Review [July 1860] in which he is "quizzed splendidly". The Bishop [Wilberforce] misrepresents him often, but clever men think they can write a review with very slight knowledge of the book.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.74–75)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2888,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8