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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Béla Weisz   8 May 1874

Down, Beckenham

May 8 1874

Dear Sir

It is a pleasure to me to answer as far as I can any enquiry from so earnest a student of science as yourself1

Unfortunately I have never studied political economy, and it has always seemed to me a very abstruse subject. Nevertheless I cannot doubt that it would be very interesting if discussed under the light of the principle of evolution. Mr Bagehot has partially so considered political economy or more strictly speaking, politics, in relation to primitive races of man, as may be seen in his ‘Physics and Politics’ a volume of the International Series2

With respect to the moral sense, I have discussed its source in the first volume of my Descent of Man, and after having read many hostile criticisms, still think that I have thrown some light on its development3

With much respect | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The transcription is from a copy of the letter made by Francis Darwin marked ‘to Földes-Weisz, professor of political economy in Budapest’. The letter to CD has not been found.
CD refers to Walter Bagehot and his Physics and politics: or, thoughts on the application of the principles of ‘natural selection’ and ‘inheritance’ to political society (Bagehot 1872).
See Descent 1: 70–106.


Bagehot, Walter. 1872. Physics and politics: or thoughts on the application of the principles of ‘natural selection’ and ‘inheritance’ to political society. London: Henry S. King. [Facsimile edition, Westmead: Gregg International Publishers, 1971.]

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


Would be interesting to discuss political economy in light of evolution. Recommends Walter Bagehot Physics and politics [1872] and Descent in which source of moral sense is discussed.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Béla Weisz
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 3
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9445,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

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