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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. F. McLennan   5 May 1874

61. Bedford Gardens. | Campden Hill. W.

5 May 74

My dear Mr. Darwin,

I have for the last few days been at work here on a Bill wanted in haste about the Sheriff Courts in Scotland so that I have only today received yours of the 2nd. which you sent to the Office.1

I shall be glad if you let me have a reading of Mr. Wake’s paper which I shall return to you at once.

Morgan’s paper I duly received—2 I thought I had acknowledged its receipt with thanks. I should like to retain it yet a while.

I called one day on Mr. Murray to ask him to undertake a reprint of “Primitive Marriage” for me.3 He was very civil but had never heard of the book & thought it more likely to be in MacMillan’s way than his own. I have never had time to do more in the matter.

I am sorry to say I am in Dr. Andrew Clark’s hands just now—for an attack of bleeding from the lungs.4 It is slight, but is a novel experience which I dont like. I trust you are well.

Yrs. very sincerely | J. F M’Lennan.


McLennan probably refers to the Evidence Law Amendment (Scotland) Bill, read for the first time on 23 June 1874 (Hansard Parliamentary Debates, 3d ser., vol. 220 (1874), cols. 343–4). Sixty-one Bedford Gardens was McLennan’s home address (Post Office London directory 1875). He was a parliamentary draughtsman for Scotland (ODNB). The letter from CD has not been found.
McLennan refers to Charles Staniland Wake’s article ‘Marriage among primitive peoples’ (Wake 1873), and Lewis Henry Morgan’s paper ‘Australian kinship’ (L. H. Morgan 1872).
John Murray was CD’s publisher. CD referred to McLennan’s Primitive marriage (McLennan 1865) extensively in Descent, and helped to arrange a US edition (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter from J. F. McLennan, 21 August 1871). The first edition of McLennan 1865 was published by Adam and Charles Black of Edinburgh. No second edition was published.
Andrew Clark was also treating CD (see letter to B. J. Sulivan, 6 January [1874] and n. 6).


Would like to see C. S. Wake’s paper ["Marriage among primitive peoples", Anthropologia 1 (1873–5): 197–207].

Will return L. H. Morgan’s work [? Systems of consanguinity (1871)].

Murray suggests Macmillan’s are more likely to reprint JFMcL’s Primitive marriage.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Ferguson McLennan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Campden Hill
Source of text
DAR 171: 20
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9442,” accessed on 26 August 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22