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Darwin Correspondence Project

To O. C. Marsh   2 July 1878

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

July 2d. 1878

My dear Sir

It will give me very great pleasure to see you here; but I am bound to add that the state of my health does not allow me to converse with anyone for a long time.—1

I do not know whether it will suit you best to come here for dinner & sleep, returning next morning, or to come here merely to lunch at 1o o clock. A train leaves Charing Cross at 11o 15′, reaching Orpington Stn (4 miles from my house) at 12o 4′, & you can get a Fly there. You could return by the train which leaves Orpington at 2o 50′, & this wd allow you to stay here about 112 hour. If you come to dinner & sleep, I wd suggest Friday, as Mr McLennan, a remarkable man, the author of Primitive Marriage will be here, & you might possibly like to meet him.—2 Perhaps you will be so good as to let me hear what you decide & I remain | My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


Thomas Henry Huxley had told CD that Marsh was eager to visit him (letter from T. H. Huxley, 2 July 1878).
John Ferguson McLennan visited Down on either Friday 5 or Saturday 6 July 1878 (see letter to Francis Darwin, 6 [July 1878] and n. 3). His book Primitive marriage was published in 1865 (McLennan 1865). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.


McLennan, John Ferguson. 1865. Primitive marriage: an inquiry into the origin of the form of capture in marriage ceremonies. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black.


Will be glad to see OCM at Down. If he comes Friday, he will meet J. F. McLennan, author of Primitive marriage, a "remarkable man".

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11584,” accessed on 20 April 2021,