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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Frederick McDermott   23 November 1880

Common Room, | Middle Temple. E.C.

23rd Nov 80.


The reason of my intrusion—which I trust you will pardon—is this. I have a great desire to read your books—the more so after finding (in his Life written by his wife) that Charles Kingsley strongly recommended them1—but I am a busy man & not at all a clever man, and if I am to have pleasure in reading your books I must feel that at the end I shall not have lost my faith in the New Testament. My reason in writing to you therefore is to ask you to give me a Yes or No to the question Do you believe in the New Testament. If you could answer me Yes I should most gladly enter upon the study of your wonderful books but without that assurance I fear my brain is not fine enough to argue out doubts which might be suggested by your works, but if I can say that the author of these doctrines believes as I do that Christ was the Son of God, I can say it is only in matters of detail that Mr Darwin differs from Charles Kingsley and I may read with full pleasure of all the wonders of nature which he has collected.

If you will write on the back of this page Yes or No you will be doing a real kindness which I will certainly not abuse by sending a paragraph to the theological papers headed “Mr Darwin on the New Testament”

yours truly | Fredrk McDermott.


Frances Eliza Kingsley’s memoir of Charles Kingsley included letters that expressed enthusiasm for CD’s work (see Kingsley ed. 1877, 2: 135–6, 171–3, 247–50). See also Correspondence vol. 7, letter from Charles Kingsley, 18 November 1859.


Kingsley, Frances, ed. 1877. Charles Kingsley: his letters and memories of his life. 2 vols. London: Henry S. King & Co.


Wishes to read CD’s books; will not do so without an assurance of CD’s faith in the New Testament.

Letter details

Letter no.
Frederick McDermott
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Middle Temple
Source of text
DAR 201: 22
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 12845,” accessed on 23 June 2024,