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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Edward Sabine   4 December [1864]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Dec. 4th.—

My dear General Sabine

You must permit me to thank you for your splendid eulogium on what I have done in natural history,—even if it be as improper to thank you as to thank a Judge for his judgment. As I read your address in the Reader I declare that I felt quite amazed at what I had done.2 You have made me hold my head very loftily with infinite pride. I shd. of course have liked you to have said a little more on the “Origin”, but you could write only according to your own judgment or to that of those in whom you trust. You will think me very presumptuous, when I say that I now feel no shadow of doubt on the future progress of Natural Selection, for I have lately received from Germany such a string of excellent names of men, who have already declared or who will immediately declare, their full adhesion to the principle, that I look at it as impossible that so many men, good & true, should all be deceived.—3 Forgive this outburst of vanity & remember that you have made me a very proud gentleman.

Pray believe me | Yours very sincerely obliged | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 December [1864].
CD refers to a version of Sabine’s anniversary address delivered to the Royal Society of London that was printed in the Reader, 3 December 1864, pp. 708–9 (see letter from Hugh Falconer, 2 December 1864 and n. 3). Sabine’s address stated the grounds on which the Copley Medal was awarded to CD (see Correspondence vol.12, Appendix IV).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Thanks ES for his "splendid eulogium" [in Presidential Address to Royal Society on award of Copley Medal]. CD would have liked him to have said "a little more" about Origin.

CD feels no doubt about natural selection. Has heard from Germany of "a string of excellent men" who accept it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edward Sabine; President, Royal Society
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (Sabine papers: 388)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4694,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12