skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Richard Owen   11 November [1859]

Down Bromley Kent [Ilkley]

Nov. 11th

Dear Owen

I have asked Mr Murray to send you a copy (as yet only an abstract) on the origin of species. I fear that it will be abominable in your eyes; but I assure you that it is the result of far more labour than is apparent on its face.— If you honour me by reading it at all, I beg you to read it straight through, otherwise from being much condensed it will be unintelligible. I fear that my meaning will not be clear to anyone, without a considerable amount of reflexion.— Whether I be in main part right, as I naturally think myself to be, or wholly wrong, the old saying of magna est veritas et prevalebit is a grand conclusion to all doubts.—

Pray believe me | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin

I am hydropathising at Ilkley Wells & shall remain here some weeks longer & hope to get a little health. Should you wish, (which is not at all likely) to discuss by word of mouth or by letter any objections to my heteredox notions, I should be proud to answer them to the best of my power. But you are probably too much engaged to give up time to the question.—1



Has asked his publisher to send a copy of Origin. Fears it will be "an abomination" in RO’s eyes. Urges him to read it straight through, as it is a condensed abstract and will otherwise be unintelligible.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Richard Owen
Sent from
Ilkley Down letterhead
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2515,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7