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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. C. Robertson   27 April 1877

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | (Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.) [6 Queen Anne Street, London.]

April 27th/ 77/

Dear Sir

I hope that you will be so good as to take the trouble to read the enclosed M.S. & if you think it fit for publication in your admirable Journal of Mind, I shall be gratified.—1 If you do not think it fit, as is very likely, will you please to return it to me. I hope that you will read it in an extra critical spirit, as I cannot judge whether it is worth publishing from having been so so much interested in watching the dawn of the several faculties in my own infant.— I may add that I shd. never have thought of sending you the M.S. had not M. Taine’s article appeared in your Journal.2 If my M.S. is printed I think that I had better see a proof.

I remain Dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


CD sent his manuscript of ‘Biographical sketch of an infant’; it was published in the July 1877 issue of the journal Mind. A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy. CD had kept notes on his children’s development from the birth of his first child, William Erasmus, in December 1839; the notebook is in DAR 210.11: 37.
An article by Hippolyte Taine, ‘On the acquisition of language by children’, had appeared in translation in the April 1877 issue of Mind (Taine 1877). Taine’s original article had been published in the first issue of Revue philosophique (Taine 1876).


‘Biographical sketch of an infant’: A biographical sketch of an infant. By Charles Darwin. Mind 2 (1877): 285–94. [Shorter publications, pp. 409–16.]

Taine, Hippolyte. 1876. Note sur l’acquisition du langage chez les enfants et dans l’espèce humaine. Revue philosophique de la France et de l’étranger 1: 5–23.

Taine, Hippolyte. 1877. On the acquisition of language by children. Mind 2: 252–9.


CD submits his paper ["A biographical sketch of an infant", Collected papers 2: 191–200] for possible publication.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Croom Robertson
Sent from
London Down letterhead
Source of text
UCL Library Services, Special Collection (Croom Robertson: MS ADD 88/9–15/11)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10943,” accessed on 13 June 2021,