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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   8 May [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 8th

My dear Sir

Mr Murray announced my next book without my knowledge & I was vexed about it, for it is only half-written, & I have no idea when it will be published.—2 You shall of course hear & decide whether it will be worth translating. It will be dry, but I believe of value.—

By the same post, I received an account (in the Scotsman) of your opening Lecture which seems to have been brilliantly attended.3 You proved yourself a bold man to stick up for me in Sabbathical Scotland.—4

On your return, if you can spare time, it will be a real pleasure to me to see you at Down to dinner & to sleep here.5 But please to let me have notice in case I shd. be away from home, though this is a rare event with me.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to John Murray, 4 May [1873].
CD’s work was published in 1876 as Cross and self fertilisation.
The Scotsman, 3 May 1873, p. 8 (‘Edinburgh University. Re-opening of the Natural History Class.’), reported that Carus’s first lecture had attracted a large number of students and professors.
Carus had stated in his lecture that naturalists were judged by their views on CD’s theory; he therefore thought it his duty to declare his admiration for and acceptance of CD’s work (see Scotsman, 3 May 1873, p. 8). Scottish Presbyterians were strict in their observance of the Sabbath; many, however, were ready to consider evolution, with the exception of John Duns, professor of natural science at New College (the theological college at Edinburgh University), who remained opposed (see Livingstone 1999, p. 21). Duns had reviewed Origin harshly in 1860 (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Asa Gray, 22 May [1860], and letter to Charles Lyell, 6 June [1860]). CD’s views on the reception of his work in Scotland may also have been shaped by the severely critical review of Expression in the Edinburgh Review (see letter to George Cupples, 28 April [1873], and letter from George Cupples, 1 May 1873).


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.

Livingstone, David N. 1999. Science, region, and religion: the reception of Darwinism in Princeton, Belfast, and Edinburgh. In Disseminating Darwinism: the role of place, race, religion, and gender, edited by Ronald L. Numbers and John Stenhouse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


John Murray has announced his next book [Cross and self-fertilisation] without CD’s knowledge. It is only half-written. JVC will hear when it is published and will decide whether it is worth translating. It will be dry, but, CD believes, of value.

Has read an account of JVC’s Scottish lectures.

Invites JVC to Down.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8906,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

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