skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Crichton-Browne   4 March [1873]1


March 4,

My dear Sir

I thank you cordially for your letter. I would not have troubled you, but I became haunted with the fear that I had somehow offended you, or that you were seriously ill.2 I am delighted that you will review my book, for I thus shall get some valuable criticisms; and as yet no one review or notice has been of the least use or instruction to me.3 I shall value a review from you more than from any other person of whom I can think. Two men, whose opinion I value highly, have in letters spoken well of the book, viz., Paget and Bowman.4 The former says the book will aid him in the study of the expression of patients suffering from organic disease; but what this means I hardly know. Your present of photographs is magnificent, but in truth I am ashamed to rob you of so many.5 They are wonderfully curious. How much I may endeavour to improve my book I hardly know; for Murray has printed off so immense a supply of copies that it will be long, if ever, before a new edit. is required.6 I have also but very little strength to spare, and much matter of other kinds which I should like to publish before I quite break down. Inheritance I look at as a most important subject, so that I should be glad of your notes; but do not trust to me, and pray publish anything valuable independently of me, but let me hear of it.7

With very sincere thanks for all your kindness believe me in Haste | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from James Crichton-Browne, 2 March 1873.
CD had written to Crichton-Browne to check that he had received his copy of Expression; see letter to James Crichton-Browne, 28 February [1873], and letter from James Crichton-Browne, 2 March 1873 and n. 1.
CD was mistaken; Crichton-Browne had not undertaken to review Expression (see letter from James Crichton-Browne, 2 March 1873). For reviews of Expression, see Appendix IV.
See Correspondence vol. 20, letter from William Bowman, 16 November 1872. No such letter from James Paget has been found.
CD’s publisher, John Murray, had printed 9000 copies of Expression (see letter from John Murray, 10 February [1873] and n. 2); there were no further English editions during CD’s lifetime.


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.


Pleased that JC-B will review Expression.

Fears he will not be able to improve the book with JC-B’s "wonderfully curious" photographs because Murray printed such a large edition.

Would be glad to have JC-B’s notes on inheritance – "a most important subject".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Crichton-Browne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 343
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8798,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21