Wishes AM success in undertaking his work on geographical distribution [The geographical distribution of mammals (1866)]. CD has no suggestions to make as he has not recently attended to the subject.
He is still weak after his long illness and supposes he will ever remain so.
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear M
I sincerely wish you success in your great undertaking— There can be no doubt about the value, interest & difficulty of a general work on Geograp. Distribution. I have long wished to see the distribution of plants & animals well compared. You will have much useful matter in Aph. Decandolle's work; but, as it seems to me, the great difficulty will be in connecting by some natural bond a multitude of dry facts.
I really have no suggestions to make; I could not give any, even if I knew the plan of your work. Nor have I very recently attended to the subject. All that I can do is to wish you success & to congratulate you that you have now time for Science.
You enquire about my health, I am still very weak after my long illness & suppose I shall ever remain so, but I am fortunate enough to be able to occupy myself for about a couple of hours daily with natural History.
Pray believe me | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin
- f1 4649.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Andrew Murray, 31 October 1864.
- f2 4649.f2See letter from Andrew Murray, 31 October 1864 and n. 2. Murray's book, The geographical distribution of mammals, was published in 1866. An annotated copy of Murray 1866 is in the Darwin Library--CUL (see Marginalia 1: 624). Another copy is in the Darwin Library--Down.
- f3 4649.f3The reference is to Alphonse de Candolle. His book, Géographie botanique raisonnée (A. de Candolle 1855), is cited extensively in Origin and Variation. A heavily annotated copy is in the Darwin Library--CUL (see Marginalia 1: 106--53).
- f4 4649.f4See CD's comments on Murray's prospectus in the letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 November .
- f5 4649.f5CD last worked on the subject of geographical distribution in the years preceding the publication of Origin (see Correspondence vols. 6 and 7). He retained a strong interest in the subject, and continued to collect information for possible use in revised editions (see, for example, Correspondence vol. 11, letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 [March 1863], and letter from J. D. Hooker, [28 March 1863], and this volume, letter to Alfred Newton, 29 March ).
- f6 4649.f6Murray's resignation as secretary of the Royal Horticultural Society was announced at the general meeting of the Society on 24 January 1865 (see letter from Andrew Murray, 31 October 1864 and n. 3).