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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Caroline Sarah Wedgwood   [after 21 November 1859]1


My dear Caroline

I am astounded that you care as much for my Book as you seem to do. Your doubt and queries are perfectly correct. Lyell was bothered on same point and I have not expressed myself clearly2 By my theory, all dogs, wolves, foxes, jackalls, &c. have descended from some one very ancient species. The passage you allude to refers only to the amount of modification which our domestic dogs have undergone under domestication. I do not believe that the whole amount of difference in domestic dogs has been produced under domestication, but that part of difference is due to their having descended from several wild species. It is a distinct question whether these wild species have descended from one aboriginal stock as I believe has been the case.3 I have been cut up in Athenæum, and under a theological point of view, unfairly.4 The Reviewer takes all my own objections and difficulties (and does not add one) and wholly omits in his Review every argument which I advance in favour: but of this one must not complain as it is the way of Reviewers. I think I shall convert 4 or 5 really good judges and that will content me, as I feel sure that they are too good judges to be deceived, and in course of years others will come round. If 4 or 5 good judges are not converted, then I may be a monomaniac.

Yours affect. | C. D.

If Jos.5 makes any criticisms I should like to hear them.


Dated on the basis of the reference to Charles Lyell (see n. 2, below).
Lyell and CD were corresponding about the descent of domesticated species (see letters to Charles Lyell, 25 October [1859] and 31 [October 1859], and letters from Charles Lyell, 28 October 1859 and 21 November 1859).
The review appeared in Athenæum, 19 November 1859, pp. 659–60. See also letter to J. D. Hooker, [20 November 1859] and n. 2.
Josiah (Jos) Wedgwood III was Caroline Wedgwood’s husband.


Astounded she cares for his book [Origin] as much as she seems to.

Comments on variation among domestic dogs; believes domestic dog has descended from several wild species and those species from a single ancient ancestor.

Athenæum review is unfair.

Expects to convert four or five "really good judges".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Darwin/Caroline Sarah (Caroline) Wedgwood
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 153: 2
Physical description
C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2538,” accessed on 19 May 2024,

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