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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   25 May 1868

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

May 25 1868

My dear Sir

My niece, the daughter of Mr Wedgwood the philologist, has written a life of Wesley under the circumstances stated in the enclosed paper.1 I have not seen the M.S. but I know Miss Wedgwood to be a remarkably clever woman & I know that she has bestowed much labour on this work, & has consulted during many months, all sorts of authorities in the British Museum. She wrote the enclosed paper at my suggestion as I thought you would be willing to look at the M.S & consider whether it wd be worth your while to publish it. If you are not so inclined, perhaps you wd be so kind as briefly to give her your impression of its deficiencies or merits.

I shall esteem it a great favour if you will thus far oblige me.

I received safely the clean sheets for the Italian translation. There will now be five foreign Translations!!2

In my last note I asked you whether you cd find out for me who published “The Sportman & Nat. in Canada” by Major W. Ross King”; also whether you had recd the stereotypes for Fritz Müller’s work—3

My dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


John Wesley & the Evangelical reaction of the 18th. century” was written for the “Sunday Library” a series undertaken by Messrs Macmillan, & rejected by the Publishers on a misunderstanding (chiefly the writer’s fault) as to the class of readers for whom the Series was designed.4 It was regarded as wanting in simplicity, & implying too much culture in those addressed, & as being less a plain narrative, than a dissertation on that movement of thought which to the writer appeared the most important fact in the life, & of which Methodism was treated as an indication.

The style was also criticized as wanting in simplicity & too full of allusion, not distinctly explained.

The MSS wd have filled two small volumes of that Series which contain 300 small pages each & are printed in rather large type, about the size of the Pall Mall Gazette print.

If there is anything original in the work, it is the endeavour to trace a connection between the political principles of the eighteenth century, & the course of religious thought. A small portion is in type.

Name & address of writer | Miss Wedgwood | 1 Cumberland Place | Regents Park | N W


Frances Julia Wedgwood was a daughter of Hensleigh Wedgwood; her book, John Wesley and the evangelical reaction of the eighteenth century, was published by Macmillan & Co in 1870 (F. J. Wedgwood 1870).
CD had received a request for translation rights for an Italian translation of Variation (see letter from Giovanni Canestrini, 14 May 1868). For the other foreign editions, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 21 May [1868], n. 12.
CD’s last letter to Murray has not been found. CD refers to William Ross King and to King 1866; he cited this book a number of times in Descent. Murray had agreed to publish William Sweetland Dallas’s translation of Fritz Müller’s Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864, Dallas trans. 1869). See also letter to Fritz Müller, 16 March [1868].
Henrietta Emma Darwin wrote in an undated letter to her brother George Howard Darwin (DAR 245: 285): ‘Macmillan has rejected her book & is very angry with the bargain, & the worry & vexation of this has quite upset poor Snow.’ (Snow was Frances Julia Wedgwood’s family nickname.) The book was eventually published by Macmillan, but not as part of any series (see n. 1, above). In the preface, Wedgwood commented: ‘The form in which it was originally designed that the following pages should appear, was one which excluded a frequent reference to authorities. The writer has endeavoured to remedy this defect by embodying them in the text, wherever this was practicable, and by the appended list of the principal books consulted.’


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

Wedgwood, Frances Julia. 1870. John Wesley and the evangelical reaction of the eighteenth century. London: Macmillan and Co.


Asks JM to consider publishing a MS on John Wesley by CD’s niece, Frances Julia Wedgwood [John Wesley and the evangelical reaction of the eighteenth century (1870)].

Has received clean sheets for Italian translation [of Variation?].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff.186–189)
Physical description
3pp, encl 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6207,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

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