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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Kingsley   8 November 1867

Eversley Rectory, | Winchfield. Nov. 8/67. My dear Mr. Darwin

My thanks for your most interesting letter.1

Sex—you will find—plays the part in the real ground of all creeds. It is the primæval fact wh. has to be explained, or mis-explained, somehow. I cd write volumes on this. I may write one little one some day—2

As you say—the plain fact that man bears the evidence of a former hermaphrodite type are as indisputable—as they are carefully ignored—3

The whole question will have to be reconsidered by us—or by some other wiser race—in the next few Centuries.— & you will be esteemed then as a prophet.

Yours ever sincerely | C Kingsley

I have found actually a Darwinian Marchioness!!!!!4 So even the Swells of the World are beginning to believe in you. The extreme Radical press is staying off from you, because you may be made a Tory & an Aristocrat of.5 So goes the foolish ignorant world— It will go, believing & disbelieving not according to facts, but to convenience. But do you keep yourself—(as you are) “unspotted from the world” as the good book bids all good men do6—& then 500 years hence, men will know what you have done for them.


See letter from Charles Kingsley, 1 November 1867. Kingsley did not devote a separate work to the subject of sex. The relationship between sex and religion in Kingsley’s writing and personal life is explored in Barker 2002.
The marchioness has not been identified.
Kingsley was a frequent contributor to periodicals and from May to August 1867 ran the progressive Fraser’s Magazine during the absence of its editor (see letter to Charles Kingsley, 30 April [1867] and n. 2). For an analysis of the Victorian press and its readership, see Shattock and Wolff eds. 1982, Secord 2000, and Cantor and Shuttleworth eds. 2004. For the polarisation of radical and Conservative views in the 1860s and on Kingsley’s political views, see Houghton 1957, especially chapters 6 and 7. See also Kingsley ed. 1877.
James 1: 27.


Barker, Charles. 2002. Erotic martyrdom: Kingsley’s sexuality beyond sex. Victorian Studies 44: 465–88.

Houghton, Walter Edwards. 1957. The Victorian frame of mind: 1830–1870. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Secord, James Andrew. 2000. Victorian sensation: the extraordinary publication, reception, and secret authorship of Vestiges of the natural history of creation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.


Remarks on Darwinism’s reception. The radical press shies away, out of ignorance, because CD may be made out to be a Tory. He has met a Darwinian Marchioness.

The mystery of sex is the origin of all religion.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Kingsley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 169: 37
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5673,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15