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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   25 [October 1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.


My dear George

I had no intention to give so much trouble about Heat, but I have been very glad to read your clear little lecture.2

We were all much interested by all the rest of your letter.— It will be a great puzzle to you about your lecture.3 Take care & do not overwork

I will keep paper about Proportion of sexes in case you want it again.4 I have not yet read it.— When you come home there are a few pages of Sweedish or Norwegian, which a very good man Malm5 wants me to read.

Your affect | C. Darwin

P.S. I have been glad to see the Statistical paper.—6 Mr Sargant must be one of those crotchety objectors who do much harm by objecting & doubting everything.—7

I think the explanation of big male heads explains the case of illegitimates fairly well.—8


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from G. H. Darwin, 24 October 1874.
In his letter of 24 October 1874, George reported on his trip to Abinger Hall and discussed his planned lecture at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.
CD probably refers to Staley 1868; see letter to T. N. Staley, 13 January [1874] and n. 5.
August Wilhelm Malm.
The draft of George’s paper on the marriage of first cousins, which was read to the Statistical Society of London on 16 March 1875 (G. H. Darwin 1875a), has not been found.
William Lucas Sargant.
CD added a new argument to Descent 2d ed., pp. 243–5, to explain why the excess of male over female births was less when they were illegitimate than when they were legitimate: ‘we have seen that male infants, from the large size of their heads, suffer more than female infants during parturition; and as the mothers of illegitimate children must be more liable than other women to undergo bad labours, from various causes, such as attempts at concealment by tight lacing, hard work, distress of mind, &c., their male infants would proportionably suffer’ (p. 244). George was assisting with preparing the new edition.


Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

Staley, Thomas. 1868. On the geography and recent volcanic eruption of the Sandwich Islands. [Read 22 June 1868.] Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 38: 361–9.


Thanks GHD for clear lecture on heat.

Will keep paper on proportion of sexes, in case GHD wants it again.

Wants him to translate some pages of Swedish or Norwegian sent by A. W. Malm, "a good man".

Glad to see the statistical paper ["Theory of exchange value", Fortn. Rev. n.s. 17 (1875): 243–53].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 36
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9697,” accessed on 15 December 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22