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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Friedrich Max Müller   5 January 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Jan. 5th 1875

My dear Sir

I have just read the few first pages of your article in the Contemporary, & I hope that you will permit me to say that neither I nor my son ever supposed that you were the author of the Review in the Quarterly.—1 You are about the last man in England to whom I shd have attributed such a review. I know that it was written by Mr. Mivart, and the utterly false & base statements contained in it in relation to my son, are worthy of the man.2 My son wishes me to add that you have imputed to him a good many criticisms, that are in reality Prof. Whitney’s, & is sorry that you shd. think that he ventured to criticize your writings on his own account.3

I remain | My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Max Müller had written a paper titled ‘My reply to Mr. Darwin’ (Max Müller 1875) for the January 1875 issue of the Contemporary Review, in answer to George Howard Darwin’s paper defending CD’s views on language (G. H. Darwin 1874). Müller noted that George’s defence had been inspired partly by comments in an anonymous article in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1874), and denied that he was the author of that article.
On St George Jackson Mivart’s review and CD’s response to it, see Correspondence vol. 22, Appendix V.
G. H. Darwin 1874 was a discussion of William Dwight Whitney’s essay review of Friedrich Max Müller’s ‘Lectures on Mr. Darwin’s philosophy of language’ (Whitney 1874). CD had attempted but failed to have Whitney 1874 republished in the Contemporary Review (letter from J. T. Knowles, 4 August 1874).


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

Max Müller, Friedrich. 1875. My reply to Mr. Darwin. Contemporary Review 25 (1874–5): 305–26.

[Mivart, St George Jackson.] 1874b. Primitive man: Tylor and Lubbock. [Essay review of the works of John Lubbock and Edward Burnett Tylor.] Quarterly Review 137 (1874): 40–77.

Whitney, William Dwight. 1874. Darwinism and language. [Essay review of works by August Schleicher and Friedrich Max Müller.] North American Review 119: 61–88.


Has read FMM’s article in Contemporary Review [25 (1875): 305–26].

Never suspected FMM was responsible for the Quarterly Review article ["Primitive man", Q. Rev. 137 (1874): 40–77]; knows it was written by Mivart.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Friedrich Max Müller
Sent from
Source of text
John Wilson (dealer) catalogue 89 (October 2002)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9802,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23