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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Alphonse de Candolle   20 July [1868]1

Freshwater | Isle of Wight

July 20th

My dear Sir

I write a line merely to thank you for your kindness in telling me of your accidental error about the thorns, which I might have quoted & shd. probably have never observed the error.2

I will be cautious in regard to the muscles of the scalp, & will put the alternative of persistence. As these muscles are so highly variable, & are known in other to be apparently liable to reversion, this view seemed to me the most probable in the very curious case which you have given me.3

My health has failed again in the usual manner, & I have been ordered to do no work, & so have come here for some weeks entire idleness, which I find very hard work.

My wife is pleased to receive your kind remembrances.—

I do not think I expressed myself strongly enough, how much I was interested & pleased by your last long & very remarkable letter.4

Pray believe me with most sincere respect & thanks | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Alphonse de Candolle, 15 July 1868.
See letter from Alphonse de Candolle, 15 July 1868 and n. 4. In Descent 1: 20, CD referred to the ‘persistence or inheritance’ of the power of moving the scalp muscles.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Thanks AdeC for correcting an error about thorns, which CD might have quoted.

CD will be cautious in regard to the muscles of the scalp. [Descent 1: 20].

His health has failed again "in the usual manner" and he has been ordered to do no work.

Repeats how interested and pleased he was by AdeC’s last long, remarkable letter.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alphonse de Candolle
Sent from
Source of text
Archives de la famille de Candolle (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6282,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

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