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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Whewell   16 April [1839]

My dear Whewell

I have been very much flattered by your “marriage gift” and kind note.1 I assure you very few have given me more pleasure.— Mrs Darwin desires me to give you her best thanks for it.— I hope, sometime when you are in town & happen to be disengaged, we may see you in this house.— I have hardly done more than dip into Herman & D. but I intend beginning it immediately.

A short time since I finished, having only skimmed parts before, another & quite different production of yours,—the Hist of Inductive Sciences,2 —& I will run the risk of appearing exceedingly presumptuous by telling you how much I enjoyed it—to see so clearly the steps by which all the great scientific discoveries have been come to is a capital lesson to every one, even to the humblest follower of science & I hope I have profited by it— When I closed your third volume I wished much to say my thanks to you, and now, however presumptuous it may have been, I have satisfied myself by saying them.

Believe me | Most truly Yours | Chas. Darwin 12 Upper Gower St

April 16th

Pray excuse me troubling you with this letter all the way to Cambridge, per post, but I had no other way of sending it.—


See letter from William Whewell, 11 April 1839.
Whewell 1837. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL. According to CD’s record of his reading (DAR 119; Vorzimmer 1977) he read Whewell 1837 in the autumn of 1838, noting ‘References at end’. CD had obtained a copy of the work in 1837 (see letter to Charles Babbage, [June–September 1837]).


Thanks WW for wedding gift.

Expresses admiration for his History of the inductive sciences [1837].

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Whewell, William
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Trinity College, Cambridge (Add c 88: 6)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 506,” accessed on 25 April 2017,