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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Harris   4 October [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct. 4th

Dear Sir

I am much obliged for your very courteous letter & kind present of your Theory of the Arts.—2 I hope soon to read it, but the part about Expression cannot aid me in my work, as my book has been printed some months, though it will not be published until Mr Murray’s season in November.3

I shall feel it my duty & an honour to give you any zoological information in my power, whenever you may think fit to write; but I must mention that I have very little spare strength, from being much out of health. I am compelled to leave home tomorrow morning for 3 weeks in order to get some rest.4

I thank you for your kind offer of books. I have read long ago White’s Gradation,5 & I doubt whether the others would be worth my reading, as my reading powers are now very limited.

When my little book on Expression is published, I will do myself the pleasure of sending you a copy;6 but whether the manner in which I have treated the subject, will at all interest you—I really do not know.—

With my best thanks | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the publication of Expression (see n. 3, below).
Harris’s letter has not been found, but CD’s copy of the first volume of G. Harris 1869 is in the Darwin Library–Down.
Expression was published by John Murray on 26 November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
CD stayed at Miss Ann Woodington’s, the Common, Sevenoaks, from 5 to 26 October 1872 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II) and letter to J. D. Hooker, 10 October [1872]).
CD recorded having read Charles White’s An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter (White 1799) in his reading notebook for 26 May 1844 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV).
Harris’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression (see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix IV).


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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Harris, George. 1869. Theory of the arts: or, art in relation to nature, civilization, and man; comprising an investigation, analytical and critical, into the origin, rise, province, principles, and application of each of the arts. 2 vols. London: Trübner and Co.

White, Charles. 1799. An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter. London: C. Dilly.


Thanks GH for his Theory of the ants [1869] and offers to supply any zoological information that he can.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8541,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

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