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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. W. Reade   4 March 1871

11 Saint Mary Abbot’s Terrace, | Kensington. W.

March 4 71

My dear Sir

You will probably bring out a new edition with addenda before I do my travels: if you will let me know beforehand in case you think it worth while I will send you notes on various points relating to the Africans.1

Your book has been already of use to me in showing me how to write on subjects where you have old fashioned prejudices—instincts as you well define them—against you. You have succeeded in a very wonderful way in combining the gentle & resolute treatment. The frog is transfixed but in such a delicate and sympathising manner that no well-conditioned frog can feel angry. Huxley2 seems to enjoy pelting them with stones; and that is amusing to look on at when it is remembered how they have croaked down science so many centuries.

Do not trouble to answer this note: I shall of course send you my volume on African Histy. which will be out I trust in the autumn.3 It would be mere platitude to wish yours success. That is assured.

Yours very truly | Winwood Reade

CD annotations

1.1 You will … angry. 2.5] crossed blue crayon
Verso of last page: ‘Keep’ pencil


Reade refers to Descent; he had provided CD with information on both animals and people in parts of west Africa (see Correspondence vols. 16 and 17). See also letter from W. W. Reade, 21 February 1871. Reade returned to Africa in 1873.
Thomas Henry Huxley.
Reade’s book, The martyrdom of man (Reade 1872), was published in May 1872 (Publishers’ Circular, 16 May 1872, p. 317). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 698).


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

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

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Reade, William Winwood. 1872. The martyrdom of man. London: Trübner & Co.


Praise for gentle but resolute tone of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Winwood Reade
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 176: 46
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7546,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19