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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   19 October [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent [Eastbourne]

Oct. 19th

My dear Gray

Your pleasant letter of Oct. 1st has been forwarded to me to sea-side, & I have been meditating on it.—2 First let me say how pleased I am to hear that Prof. Henry goes so far with me.—3 When I sent the Aug. Atlantic to Annals,4 I said that I myself took the responsibility of adding your name as author; so that I do not think it will be made to appear as if from you.—5 Nor do I at all know whether it will be therein printed; but the Editor is not very courteous & I do [not] much like writing to him again—6 I enclosed envelope, begging for it to be returned if not used; & I have not received it. But this does not convince me that it will appear; but it is either now rejected or printed, so much time has elapsed, so no time for 2 or 3 corrections. But I have been thinking of a larger scheme, viz to get the whole three published with (as you permit) your name. But unfortunately I am the worst person in world, from mixing so little with people, to judge; & Hooker is away & Huxley in distress.7 But I intend writing to day to Lyell, who admires your reviews as much as I do (especially I think No 3) & has written me several letters chiefly about them.8 Now he is a real good judge in all publishing affairs & if he thinks there is any chance of even a small sale, I will consult Murray.9 I shall say to Murray that as Dr. Bree has just published a Book against the Origin10 & two other Brochures have appeared (all poor), a pamphlet on our side (to a certain extent) might sell. It would not be worth while to lose money, not for the money sake, but on account of small circulation & consequently not much good being done. It would be indispensable to have your name & title on Title-page; & very adviseable to have some remark on Title, showing its bearing on Natural Theology or Design.—   I daresay it is 10 to 1 against my succeeding; but, as it will cost very little trouble, send me a Title, (subject to Murray’s approval). I fear there is no chance of your having time to add some criticisms on Hopkins.—11 I will let you know as soon as I can see my way. I must wait till I get home & see how long all the Articles are together. They seem to me much too good to be almost lost in a Periodical.—   Murray says the Origin goes on selling well.—

I had a letter a week ago from Thwaites of Ceylon:12 he was at first much opposed to me. he now says “I find that the more familiar one becomes to your views in connexion with the various phenomena of nature, the more they commend themselves to my mind.”— Even Harvey, I find, is not nearly so savage against me as he was when he published his foolish pamphlet.13 Such cases give me much confidence that Natural Selection is not very far from truth.—

Believe me | My dear Gray | Ever yours | C. Darwin

Perhaps it would be worth while for you to write & send me Title, & say whether you would add any criticisms; as in that case I would delay publication, if it is ever to take place.—


The year is given by CD’s reference to sending Gray’s article to the Annals and Magazine of Natural History (see n. 4, below).
Gray’s letter has not been found.
Joseph Henry was the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. Previously he had been professor of natural philosophy at Princeton University.
CD sent the second part of Gray’s three-part article on Origin ([Gray] 1860b, pp. 229–39) to Annals and Magazine of Natural History in September 1860. It was published in the November issue (Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 6 (1860): 373–86). See letter to Asa Gray, 10 September [1860].
The extract from Gray’s article was preceded by the following editorial remark (ibid., p. 373): [In our Number for September last we placed before our readers an extract from the forthcoming volume of Prof. Agassiz’s ‘Contributions to the Natural History of the United States’, relating to the interesting question as to the origin of species, newly raised by Mr. Darwin’s well-known book. We now give a notice on the opposite side of the question to that taken by Prof. Agassiz, from the pen of another able naturalist of the United States, for the communication of which we are indebted to Mr. Darwin.—Eds.]
CD presumably refers to Prideaux John Selby, the primary editor of the journal.
Joseph Dalton Hooker was travelling in Syria. Thomas Henry Huxley had suffered the death of his oldest child in September 1860 (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 18 September [1860]).
For Lyell’s and John Murray’s responses to CD’s proposal, see the letter to Asa Gray, 24 October [1860].
George Henry Kendrick Thwaites’s letter has not been found, but see the letter to G. H. K. Thwaites, 20 October [1860].
Harvey 1860. See letters from W. H. Harvey, 24 August 1860 and 8 October 1860.


Bree, Charles Robert. 1860. Species not transmutable, nor the result of secondary causes. Being a critical examination of Mr Darwin’s work entitled ‘Origin and variation of species’. London: Groombridge & Sons. Edinburgh: Maclachlan & Stewart.

Harvey, William Henry. 1860. An inquiry into the probable origin of the human animal, on the principles of Mr Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and in opposition to the Lamarckian notion of a monkey parentage. Dublin: privately printed.

Hopkins, William. 1860. Physical theories of the phenomena of life. Fraser’s Magazine 61: 739–52; 62: 74–90.

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.


Is thinking of publishing AG’s three-part Origin review [from Atlantic Monthly] in England.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Eastbourne Down letterhead
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (32)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2955,” accessed on 20 October 2021,

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