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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. H. Flower   22 September [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Sept. 22d

My dear Prof. Flower.

Would you do me the very great kindness to read the two short enclosed papers, & tell me or alter what is incorrect.2 I have put in some words on the chance of their being correct.— You will see that I quote some of your remarks;3 but you may object or not like to be mixed up even so remotely as this with my theoretic notions, which many think rubbish, pleasantly flavoured, according to the Quarterly Reviewer, who I cannot doubt is Mr Mivart, with bigotry arrogance illiberality & many other nice qualities.—4

In this case, I beg you not to scruple to refuse, & I will omit the whole unimportant paragraph, though I shd. rather like to give it, if I knew that it was correct.

Pray forgive me for asking this favour, & believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. H. Flower, 12 October 1871.
The enclosures have not been found. CD probably sent Flower extracts from the new seventh chapter of Origin 6th ed. (see letter from W. H. Flower, 12 October 1871 and n. 3).
CD cited Flower in Origin 6th ed., p. 190 (see letter from W. H. Flower, 12 October 1871).
CD refers to a hostile review of Descent published in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1871c) and to St George Jackson Mivart; in the review, Mivart accused CD of using a clear and attractive style of explanation to disguise flimsy theorising ([Mivart] 1871c, pp. 47–9).


Asks WHF to check over some enclosed MS pages [Origin, 6th ed.?]. CD quotes some of WHF’s remarks, but should WHF not wish to be mixed with CD’s theoretic notions, CD will omit the whole paragraph.

Many think CD’s notions are "rubbish, pleasantly flavoured", like the reviewer in the Quarterly Review, who CD cannot doubt is "Mr Mivart, with bigotry arrogance illiberality & many other nice qualities".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Henry Flower
Sent from
Source of text
John Innes Foundation Historical Collections
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7963,” accessed on 27 May 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19