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Darwin Correspondence Project

From St G. J. Mivart   10 January 1872

7, North Bank, | N.W.

Janry. 10th | 1872


My dear Sir

I herewith close this correspondence & will say nothing even in this letter calculated to annoy you in the least.

Perhaps it would be better taste not to reply at all but as you let me know you will not read my reply to Mr. C. Wright I feel I ought to inform you of two facts.1

One is that in charging me with ignoring physical causation when I use the word “accidental” both Mr Wright & P. Huxley misrepresent me grotesquely.2

Secondly Mr Wright takes the liberty to speak of my “theological education”—3 as a fact my education was quite the other way. I was a thorough going disciple of the school of Mill, Bain & H. Spencer4 & I am so strongly persuaded of the intellectual error & moral mischief of their views only because they were once so completely mine— As to “Natural Selection” I accepted it completely and in fact my doubts & difficulties were first excited by attending Prof. Huxley’s lectures at the school of Mines.5

Thirdly— I have a relation who has I think an excellent literary taste— He is no Christian & in speculative matters sympathizes much more with you than with me.6 It has been his task to look over my proofs & to strike out every expression which might seem to him to be calculated to wound your feelings & I have always deferred to his opinions in the matter.

I shall not, of course, trouble you with anything of mine unless perfectly free from controversial remarks. If however, as I hope, I may resume my purely anatomical work I shall then take the liberty of sending you my papers— If you think proper to accept & acknowledge them it will give me great pleasure to see once more your hand writing but if not I shall hope that in another world, with misunderstandings removed, we may have pleasant intercourse as to our diverse modes of solving the enigma of nature

I am exceedingly sorry to have caused you mortification & I protest, in spite of all you may think, I have, do and shall feel more than “friendly” towards you & that it is not in mere formality that I subscribe myself

Yours very sincerely | St Geo Mivart

To | C. Darwin Esq


See letter to St G. J. Mivart, 8 January [1872]. Mivart replied to Chauncey Wright in the North American Review (Mivart 1872b).
See Wright 1871a, pp. 68–9; Mivart also refers to (professor) Thomas Henry Huxley (see T. H. Huxley 1871a, p. 474).
See Wright 1871a, p. 78.
John Stuart Mill, Alexander Bain, and Herbert Spencer.
Huxley was professor of natural history at the Royal School of Mines in Jermyn Street, London.
Mivart’s relation has not been identified.


Agrees to close their correspondence. Defends his position against criticisms of Huxley and Chauncey Wright; assures CD of his continuing friendly feelings.

Letter details

Letter no.
St George Jackson Mivart
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, North Bank, 7
Source of text
DAR 171: 199
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8154,” accessed on 17 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20