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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Bentham   22 April [1863]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 22d

My dear Bentham

Pray keep pamphlets just as long as you like.—2

I shall be greatly interested by reading whatever you may write on Species. But you must allow me to differ in toto from you when you say you are not up to treat the whole subject.3 I cannot believe this, from what I hear of your Systematic knowledge & from what I have read of yours on affinities, stations, geograph. Distrib. &c.—4 How well you could handle one great subject, that of affinities, in relation to descent & independent creation! But I can fully understand that you may be too much pressed for time to do anything.—

I am glad to see what you think on Falconer v. Lyell.5 & quite agree with you.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Bentham, 21 April 1863.
At Bentham’s request, CD had sent Bentham copies of several reviews of Origin (see letters from George Bentham, [c. 14 April 1863] and 21 April 1863, and letter to George Bentham, 15 April [1863] and nn. 3–11). As president of the Linnean Society, Bentham was preparing a discussion of the reactions of the international scientific community to CD’s theory in his anniversary address on 25 May 1863 (Bentham 1863).
Bentham was a leading plant taxonomist (R. Desmond 1994). See also letter to J. D. Hooker, [17 April 1863], n. 18.
Hugh Falconer and Charles Lyell. See letter from George Bentham, 21 April [1863] and n. 8.


Bentham, George. 1863. [Anniversary address, 25 May 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): xi–xxix.

Desmond, Ray. 1994. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists including plant collectors, flower painters and garden designers. New edition, revised with the assistance of Christine Ellwood. London: Taylor & Francis and the Natural History Museum. Bristol, Pa.: Taylor & Francis.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Disagrees with GB when he says he is not up to treating the whole subject [the present state of the species question]. He is especially equipped to handle the "great subject of affinities in relation to descent and independent creation".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Bentham
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Bentham correspondence 3: 701)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4120,” accessed on 18 November 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11