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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to F. P. Cobbe   [25 February 1871]1

6 Queen Anne St


My dear Miss Cobbe

Many thanks for your taking the trouble to write.2 Mr Murray seemed to think that he had made an unreasonable fuss in the matter.3 We want to see the Echo, tho’ not so much as if you had written it.4 The papers we have seen are quite mild & civil.

Mr Darwin says that he knows so well how much you & many others will disapprove of the moral sense part that he will not be surprised at any degree of vigour in your attack.5

He does not know to what you refer when you say that he does not distinguish between regret & repentance or remorse, he remembers reflecting on the wide & obvious distinction. It appears to him that as long as hatred is felt against any one, the social instincts are overmastered & there is no room for repentance. But no doubt he will understand what you mean when he reads your article.

If you should come to Mr Martineau’s tomorrow do look in at No 6 Q. Anne St where we are—6

Speaking in my private capacity I quite agree with you. I think the course of all modern thought is “desolating” as removing God further off. But I do not know whether his views on the moral sense would exclude Spiritual influence though not included in his theory—

So you see I am a traitor in the camp.

With very kind regards to Miss Lloyd.7 | Yours very truly | Emma Darwin


The date is established by the reference to a review of Descent in the Echo (see n. 4, below); the first Saturday after the review was published was 25 February 1871. The Darwins were at 6 Queen Anne Street, London, from 23 February to 2 March 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Cobbe’s letter has not been found.
See letter from John Murray, 18 February [1871]. Murray had not wanted Cobbe’s review to appear before 24 February 1871, when Descent was published.
CD had hoped that Cobbe would review Descent in the Echo (see letter to R. F. Cooke, 14 January [1871]). A review appeared in the Echo, 23 February 1871, p. 4; there is a copy in CD’s Scrapbook of reviews (DAR 226.2: 77).
Cobbe reviewed Descent in the Theological Review in April 1871 (Cobbe 1871).
James Martineau lived at 10 Gordon Street (Post Office London directory 1871).
Mary Charlotte Lloyd.


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1871. Darwinism in morals. Theological Review 8: 167–92.

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

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Discusses CD’s and her own views on ‘moral sense’.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Frances Power Cobbe
Source of text
The Huntington Library (CB 390)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7516F,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19