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Letter 2766

Darwin, C. R. to Gardeners' Chronicle

[13 Apr 1860]

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    CD acknowledges that Patrick Matthew, in his appendix to Naval timber and arboriculture (1831), anticipated by many years CD's explanation of the origin of species by natural selection. CD was ignorant of the work. If another edition of Origin is called for, CD will insert a notice to the foregoing effect.


-- I have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's

communication in the Number of your Paper, dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If another edition of my work is called for, I will insert a notice to the foregoing effect.

Charles Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2766.f1
    The date is given by the relationship to the following letter. The letter was not published in the Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette until 21 April 1860.
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    f2 2766.f2
    Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 7 April 1860, pp. 312--13. See following letter and letter to Charles Lyell, 10 April [1860]. For a transcription of Patrick Matthew's letter, see Appendix V.
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    f3 2766.f3
    CD discussed Matthew's work in the augmented historical sketch included in the third edition of Origin (pp. xiv--xv).
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