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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. J. Romanes   18 June 1878

18 Cornwall Terrace, Regent’s Park, N.W.:

June 18.

Very many thanks for your permission to use your observations, as well as for the additional information which you have supplied.1 If all the manuscript chapter on instinct is of the same quality as the enclosed portion, it must be very valuable. Time will prevent me from treating very fully of instinct in my lecture, but when I come to write the book for the International Science Series on Comparative Psychology, I shall try to say all that I can on instinct.2 Your letter, therefore, induces me to say that I hope your notes will be published somewhere before my book comes out (i.e. within a year or so), or, if you have no intention of publishing the notes, that you would, as you say, let me read the manuscript, as the references, &c., would be much more important for the purposes of the book than for those of the lecture. But, of course, I should not ask to publish your work in my book, unless you have no intention of publishing it yourself. I do not know why you have kept it so long unpublished, and your having offered me the manuscript for preparing my lecture makes me think that you might not object to lending it me for preparing my book. But please understand that I only think this on the supposition that, from its unsuitable length, isolated character, or other reason, you do not see your way to publishing the chapter yourself.


See letter to G. J. Romanes, 16 June [1878] and n. 2. CD had given his permission for Romanes to use his notes on insects for a lecture on animal intelligence, and sent two pages from the manuscript of his ‘big book’ on species, which was not published in his lifetime but formed the basis for Origin (see letter to G. J. Romanes, 19 June [1878]).
In 1882, Romanes’s Animal intelligence (G. J. Romanes 1882) was published by Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. in their International Scientific Series; it included extracts from CD’s notes on social insects throughout. Mental evolution in animals included as an appendix chapter 10 of CD’s unpublished ‘big book’ on species (published in 1975 as Natural selection, pp. 466–527; see G. J. Romanes 1883, pp. 355–84).


Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Romanes, George John. 1882a. Animal intelligence. International Scientific Series, vol. 41. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.


Thanks for permission to use CD’s observations on instinct. Would like to use CD’s MS chapter in preparing forthcoming book [Mental evolution in animals (1883)].

Letter details

Letter no.
George John Romanes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Cornwall Terrace, 18
Source of text
E. D. Romanes 1896, p. 71

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11557,” accessed on 7 December 2023,