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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Sweetland Dallas   8 January 1868

Yorkshire Philosophical Society | York

8 Jan. 1868.

My dear Sir

I this morning sent off the last portion of the Index to your book,1 & delighted I was to see it slide into the letter box.— I have seen no proofs yet, but I suppose they will come soon,— I have a residue of about a dozen or a dozen & a half references which got misplaced & which must be inserted on the proofs.— I can only hope that now it is finished you ⁠⟨⁠will be⁠⟩⁠ pleased with it & think the delay not wholly thrown away.—2 I also hope that I may never again let myself in for such another job.— I find the work was just doubled by inserting references to all authors’ names, as compared with the specimen which I sent you, so that as regards the relation of labour to remuneration I shall look rather blank.—3 And on the other hand Mr. Murray4 deluded me into ⁠⟨⁠under⁠⟩⁠taking the index by an artful insinuation that it would have the advantage of making me, in a manner, an acquaintance of yours, which, I must say was a main cause of my engaging to prepare it, & now, I fear, that acquaintance has been made not in the most favourable manner for me.— I can only repeat that the increased labour spun out the work considerably, so that other & prior engagements came in the way after a time, & their mutual hindrance has been most inconvenient for myself.—

However, I must trust to your goodness to excuse whatever may have been due to fault of mine, & at all events not “to hate my name for the rest of your life”.—

With all good wishes | I remain | My dear Sir | Yours very truly | W. S. Dallas.

C. Darwin Esqr


The reference is to Variation.
On the delay to Variation caused by the preparation of the index, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 6 January [1868] and n. 11.
Dallas had initially planned to index only the names of authors quoted in Variation, but had asked CD whether he should include the names of all authors mentioned in the text. CD instructed Dallas to use his own discretion, but added, ‘anyhow most [names] ought to be introduced’. See Correspondence vol. 15, letters from W. S. Dallas, 4 November 1867 and 20 November 1867, and letter to W. S. Dallas, 8 November [1867].
John Murray was the publisher of Variation.


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

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Has sent off last portion of index [to Variation]. Hopes CD will be pleased with it. Will never undertake such labour again. He fears it has been an unfavourable way to make CD’s acquaintance. Trusts to CD’s goodness not to hate his name for the rest of his life.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Yorks. Philos. Soc., York
Source of text
DAR 162: 9
Physical description
4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5780,” accessed on 28 November 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16