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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. C. Donders   14 July 1872


14 July 1872

My dear and most honoured Sir,—

I am very much obliged for your kind letter, and delayed only to answer, whilst I could not tell you, if I was to come over to England.1 Now I am exceedingly fatigued by practical work, my friend Dr. Snellen, my partner in practice having been obliged to take a rather long holiday, and I feel that after his return—at the 16 of July—I have to spend a few days quietly near the sea, for seeing if I become able to support the fatigues of a Congress (opthalmological) at the 1st. of August in London.2 Certainly, I hope so, and in the case I come in London, I will be most happy to avail my-self of your kind invitation to pass a day in your house and in your family. So we would find plenty time to speak about some physiological questions, if you like to do so. I suppose that my friend Bowman will like very much to come also.3

I think, it is not necessary to tell you again that it will be a pleasure and a great honour to me, at any time, to do for facilitating your physiological studies any thing I am able to do. I am always learning by trying to answer to your questions and I would do it not less by reading over some chapters of your book.—4

With the greatest consideration and sincere attachment | Yours very truly | Donders


Hermann Snellen was an assistant physician at the Netherlands Hospital for Eye Patients (Nederlandsch Gasthuis voor Ooglijders), where Donders was director. The fourth international ophthalmological congress was held in London in early August 1872. Donders attended the congress; his portrait was reproduced as the frontispiece of the Report of the fourth international ophthalmological congress (1873).
CD expected that Donders might visit on either the 30 or 31 July (see letter to J. T. Gulick, 28 July [1872] and n. 3). Donders, however, did not arrive in London until 30 July; he stayed with William Bowman until probably 7 or 8 August (see letter from William Bowman, 31 July 1872). There is no evidence that they made a visit to Down.
Donders had offered to read the proofs of any part of Expression that referred to physiology (see letter from F. C. Donders, 17 April 1872).


Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Thanks CD for invitation but declines because of his need for a rest instead of coming to England in July.

Repeats his offer to help CD at any time. "I am always learning by trying to answer your questions."

Letter details

Letter no.
Frans Cornelis (Franciscus Cornelius) Donders
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 233
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8411,” accessed on 20 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20