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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Carpenter   19 November [1859]1

Wells Terrace | Ilkley Otley | Yorkshire

Nov 19th

My dear Carpenter

I beg pardon for troubling you again. If, after reading my book, you are able to come to a conclusion in any degree definite, will you think me very unreasonable in asking you to let me hear from you.—2 I do not ask for a long discussion, but merely for a brief idea of your general impression.— From your widely-extended knowledge, habit of investigating truth & abilities, I should value your opinion in the very highest rank. Though I of course believe in truth of my own doctrine, I suspect that no belief is vivid until shared by others. As yet I know only one believer; but I look at him as of greatest authority, viz Hooker.— When I think of the many cases of men who have studied one subject for years & have persuaded themselves of the truth of the foolishest doctrines, I feel sometimes a little frightened, whether I may not be one of these monomaniacs.—

Again pray excuse this, I fear, unreasonable request.— A short note would suffice, & I could bear a hostile verdict & shall have to bear many a one.—

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

I shall remain here for a fortnight or possibly three weeks.—


Carpenter’s letter on the subject has not been found, but see CD’s reply to W. B. Carpenter,3 December [1859].


Asks to hear WBC’s conclusion about the Origin when he has read it all. Knows only one believer so far – J. D. Hooker. Sometimes feels frightened that he may be a monomaniac.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Benjamin Carpenter
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.6: 2 (EH 88205919)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2536,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

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