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Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Boyd Dawkins   31 January 1868

Temple Mount, Belvedere, Kent

31. January. 1868.

My dear Sir,

I cannot adequately express my thanks to you for the copy of your last great work which you were so kind as to send me.1 I value it most highly not only for its own sake, but because you sent it.

The views advocated in the origin are becoming cosmopolitan. Dr. Middendorf (Sibirische Reise) in Russia, is a convert,2 M. Gaudry (Fauna animaux foss. de l’Attique) in France,3 and Dr. Rutimeyer in Switzerland;4 the second sorely against his will. M. Gaudry’s book is the most important monograph on late Meiocene mammals yet printed. Many of the missing links are found, and especially those binding Mustela and Viverra to Hyæna.5

I am | My dear Sir | Yours truly | W. Boyd Dawkins

Charles Darwin Esq F.R.S.


The reference is to Variation. Dawkins’s name appears on the presentation list for the book (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV). Dawkins had corresponded with CD in 1867 about the relationship between extinct and living forms of oxen and rhinoceros (see Correspondence vol. 15).
Dawkins refers to Aleksandr Fedorovich Middendorf and to the account of his travels in northern and eastern Siberia (Middendorf 1848–75). The reception of CD’s work in Russia is discussed in Vucinich 1988 and Todes 1989.
Dawkins refers to Albert Gaudry and Gaudry 1862–7. See letter from Albert Gaudry, 11 January 1868.
Ludwig Rütimeyer. CD believed Rütimeyer was supportive of his theory (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Fritz Müller, 23 May 1866).
See Gaudry 1862–7, pp. 347–8.


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

Gaudry, Albert. 1862–7. Animaux fossiles et géologie de l’Attique, d’après les recherches faites en 1855–56 et en 1860 sous les auspices de l’Académie des Sciences. 1 vol. and atlas. Paris: Libraire de la Société Géologique de France.

Middendorf, Aleksandr Fedorovich. 1848–75. Reise in den äussersten Norden und Osten Sibiriens während der Jahre 1843 und 1844 mit allerhöchster Genehmigung auf Veranstaltung der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu St. Petersburg ausgeführt und in Verbindung mit vielen Gelehrten herausgegeben. 4 vols. St Petersburg.

Todes, Daniel P. 1989. Darwin without Malthus. The struggle for existence in Russian evolutionary thought. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vucinich, Alexander. 1988. Darwin in Russian thought. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Thanks for copy of CD’s latest book [Variation].

European converts to CD’s theory.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Boyd Dawkins
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 120
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5823,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

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