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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edward Cresy   7 February 1868

Metropolitan Board of Works | Spring Gardens

7 Febry 68—

My dear Sir,

Your new work has just arrived & I am exceedingly grateful for the loan of it—though dreadfully depressed at your believing I sha’nt read it, quite a reflexion on my powers of consumption as an omnivorous animal—1 I faithfully promise not to keep it a moment longer than necessary for its perusal knowing how many claims you have on your attention and being anxious for its reaching the widest possible range of readers for all that the Saturday Sadducees dont believe there are a hundred people in the country who even fancy they understand the argument—2 At any rate it is rather flattering to belong to so select a party for I certainly fancy that I understand it—

We anticipate some fun this evening from Huxley at Albemarle St about his dear friend Owen though he was not so smart at the Royal Society on Thursday week as I expected—3

With kindest remembrances to Mrs Darwin & your daughter whom I heartily congratulate on her safe deliverance from further perusal of proofs at present.—4

I remain | Yours very truly | E Cresy

C Darwin Esq.


Cresy refers to Variation. No other letters have been found concerning CD’s loan of the book to Cresy.
Sadducee: ‘a materialist, a denier of the resurrection’ (OED). Cresy may refer to London weekly newspapers, a number of which were published on Saturdays. No reviews of Variation had yet been published.
‘Dear friend’ is ironic: Thomas Henry Huxley was not on good terms with Richard Owen (see, for example, P. White 2003, pp. 42–5). Cresy and Huxley were probably planning to dine at John Murray’s house in Albemarle Street. Huxley had read a paper on Archaeopteryx at the Royal Society of London on Thursday 30 January 1868; he said that the paper was intended to rectify errors in Owen’s interpretation of the fossil (Richard Owen 1862, T. H. Huxley 1868b).
Henrietta Emma Darwin had read the proof-sheets of Variation (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to H. E. Darwin, 26 July [1867]).


Thanks for loan of Variation. "The Saturday Sadducees" do not believe there are a hundred people who understand the argument. EC fancies he does.

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Cresy
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Metropolitan Board of Works
Source of text
DAR 161: 251
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5850,” accessed on 28 June 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16