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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Armand de Quatrefages   15 January [1872]1

Down Beckenham, Kent.

Jan. 15. 1871.

My dear Sir,

I am much obliged for your very kind letter and exertions in my favour. I had thought that the publication of my last book would have destroyed all your sympathy with me; but though I estimated very highly your great liberality of mind it seems that I underrated it—2 I am gratified to hear that M. Lucaze du Thiers3 will vote for me, for I have long honoured his name.

I cannot help regretting that you should expend your valuable time in trying to obtain for me the honour of election; for I fear, judging from the last time that all your labour will be in vain.4 Whatever the result may be, I shall always retain the most lively recollection of your sympathy & kindness; & this will quite console me for my rejection.

With much respect & esteem, I remain dear Sir, | Yours truly obliged | Charles Darwin

P.S. With respect to the great stress which you lay on man walking on two legs, whilst the Quadrumana go on all fours— permit me to remind you that no one much values the great difference in the mode of locomotion &. consequently in structure between seals and the terrestrial Carnivora, or between the almost biped Kangaroos and other marsupials.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Armand de Quatrefages, 12 January 1872. CD wrote 1871 in error.
Félix Joseph Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers.
The previous attempt to have CD elected to the Académie des sciences was in 1870; see Correspondence vol. 18.


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


Obliged for QdeB’s efforts [to have CD elected member of Académie Française].

With regard to stress that QdeB lays on man’s walking on two legs, no one attributes much significance to difference in mode of locomotion between seals and terrestrial Carnivora or kangaroos and other marsupials.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 289
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8159,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

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