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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Phillips   31 March [1874]1

Down Beckenham | Kent

Mar 31

My dear Phillips

I am very much obliged for your invitation, which I shd have enjoyed beyond any thing to have accepted; but I can go nowhere, & the journey to Oxford would nearly annihilate me—2

Judging from your sketches3 it must be indeed a big theory which wd equal your fossils. I shall look out with intense curiosity for some published account of them.

With very sincere thanks pray believe me | yours very truly | Ch. Darwin

P.S I well remember the very pleasant hours, many years ago which I spent with you at York—4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Phillips, 14 March 1874.
Phillips had invited CD to see his specimen of the dinosaur Cetiosaurus oxoniensis; Phillips was keeper of the University Museum in Oxford (ODNB).
Phillips was keeper of the Yorkshire Museum from 1825 to 1840, and lived again in York between 1849 and 1853 (ODNB). The only visit to York recorded in CD’s ‘Journal’ took place in October 1845 (Correspondence vol. 3, Appendix II).


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

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Regrets he cannot visit Oxford.

Comments on sketches in letter from JP [9360].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Phillips
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.439)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9379,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22