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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Joseph Kaines?1   8 April 1872

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Ap 8. 1872

Dear Sir

I am much obliged to you for having sent me your interesting paper & for yr kind remarks about my works.2 Although I formerly read Miss Martineau’s book & some others on Comte I had entirely forgotten his striking observations on the relations of Man to the lower forms of life.3

Pray believe me dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The recipient is conjectured from the content of the letter.
Kaines probably sent a copy of his article ‘The anthropology of Auguste Comte’ (Kaines 1871). The article was published in the January 1872 issue of the Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. CD subscribed to the journal, and his copy of the issue is in the collection of unbound journals in the Darwin Library–CUL. The copy sent by Kaines has not been found. For Kaines’s references to CD, see ibid., pp. 352–3.
Harriet Martineau had introduced British readers to Comte’s writing in her book The positive philosophy of Auguste Comte (H. Martineau trans. 1853). Comte had argued that humans and animals had both instincts and intelligence, and further, that the differences between human and animal intelligence were not essential but only differed in degree (H. Martineau trans. 1853, 1: 464–5). He favoured the study of animal societies as a method of understanding human society.


Thanks correspondent for an interesting paper [unspecified] and his kind remarks about CD’s work.

CD had forgotten Auguste Comte’s "striking observations" on relations of man to lower animals.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Geoffrey Chaucer
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (413)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8278,” accessed on 20 June 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20