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Darwin Correspondence Project

DCP-LETT-7145

To Frances Power Cobbe   23 March [1870?]1

Down Beckenham | Kent.

Mar 23.

My dear Miss Cobbe

It was very good of you to send me nolens volens Kant, together with the other book.2 I have been extremely glad to look through the former. It has interested me much to see how differently two men may look at the same points, though I fully feel how presumptuous it sounds to put myself even for a moment in the same bracket with Kant;—the one man a great philosopher looking exclusively into his own mind, the other a degraded wretch looking from the outside thro’ apes & savages at the moral sense of mankind.

I have glanced thro’ the cut pages of Despine, but he appears to me far from being an original & vigorous thinker, but many of his facts about criminals seem very curious.

The book shall be sent to London by our carrier tonight, & thence to you by Parcels Del. Co.3

With sincere thanks | pray believe me | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Footnotes

1
The year is conjectured from the fact that CD met Cobbe in Wales in July 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 July [1869], and Cobbe 1904, pp. 485–7). According to Cobbe, she had met CD before that visit, but her description of the sequence of events suggests that this letter was written in 1870.
2
Cobbe may have sent CD Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics of ethics (Kant 1836). Cobbe had recommended the book to him and offered to lend him a translation in Wales in July 1869; he had declined it, but she sent it anyway (Cobbe 1904, p. 487). CD cited this work in Descent 1: 70–1 and n. 3. The ‘other book’ was probably Prosper Despine’s Psychologie naturelle (Despine 1868). CD mentioned this book in Descent 1: 92 n. 22.
3
In 1870, 23 March was a Wednesday; the carrier service to London left Down at 2 a.m. on Thursday (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1870). CD also refers to the London Parcels Delivery Company.

Summary

Has read and enjoyed the Kant that FPC sent.

Returns P. C. Despine [?Psychologie naturelle (1868)].

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-7145
From
Darwin, C. R.
To
Cobbe, F. P.
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens, San Marino (CB 385)
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7145,” accessed on 25 September 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-7145

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