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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   29 April [1869]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Ap. 29th

My dear Sir

Some of the Ladies took off the cover of Quarterly & burnt it, & I had no idea who sent it. I thank you sincerely for the present. The article by Wallace is inimitably good & it is a great triumph that such an article shd. appear in the Quarterly, & will make the B. of O. & Owen gnash their teeth.2 My neighbour, Sir J. Lubbock,3 who had no idea who wrote it, was very much struck with the article, as extraordinarily well done.—

I am delighted to hear of sale of Fritz Müller.4

It is good news that you will print 2000 copies of Origin at 14s, for I think I have brought it up to present standard of Science, as the cost of 6 weeks work.

I am making slow, but sure progress with my present book.—5

Thanks for your kind enquiries about my health: my horse rolled over me & hurt me rather seriously, but I have made a surprisingly quick recovery.6

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Murray, 28 April [1869].
The Quarterly Review was published by John Murray; he had evidently sent the issue containing an anonymous review by Alfred Russel Wallace that discussed CD’s theory of natural selection ([Wallace] 1869b; see letter from John Murray, 28 April [1869]). CD also refers to the bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, and Richard Owen, both notable opponents of CD’s theory. The ‘Ladies’ would have been Emma Darwin, Henrietta Darwin, and Elizabeth Darwin; it is not known why they burned the cover.
John Lubbock.
CD refers to Origin 5th ed. and to Descent.


Origin 5th ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 5th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1869.


Thanks JM for Quarterly Review. A. R. Wallace’s article inimitably good – and a triumph that it appears where it will make B[ishop] of O[xford] and Owen gnash their teeth.

Delighted at the sale of F. Müller’s book.

Thinks he has brought Origin up to "present standard of science" [5th ed. (June 1869)].

Slow progress on Descent.

His horse rolled over him, but he is recovering rapidly.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms. 42152 ff. 201–2)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6718,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17