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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. B. Dobell   17 July [1864]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

July 17th

My dear Sir

I write merely a line to thank you for your note.—2 The analogy of surnames had not occurred to me, only language generally, as has been well shown by Sir C. Lyell.—3

With respect to progression, I fear the argument wd not have much weight, unless a man was already convinced—

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin



The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. B. Dobell, 15 July 1864.
Letter from H. B. Dobell, 15 July 1864.
Charles Lyell discussed the analogy between languages and species in Antiquity of man (see C. Lyell 1863a, pp. 454–70). See also Descent 1: 59–62.


Thanks HBD for his note. The analogy of surnames had not occurred to CD – only that of language generally, as shown so well by Lyell. Fears HBD’s argument about progression would not have much weight.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Horace Benge Dobell
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 221.5: 8 (photocopy)
Physical description
1p inc?

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4239,” accessed on 25 September 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12