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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Carpenter   6 April [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 6th

My dear Carpenter

I have this minute finished your Review in the Med. Chirurg. Review.2 You must let me express my admiration at this most able Essay, & I hope to God it will be largely read for it must produce a great effect.— I ought not, however, to express such warm admiration, for you give my Book, I fear, far too much praise. But you have gratified me extremely; & though I hope I do not care very much for the approbation of the non-scientific readers, I cannot say that this is at all so with respect to such few men as yourself.— I have not a criticism to make for I object to not a word; & I admire all, so that I cannot pick out one part as better than the rest. It is all so well balanced.— But it is impossible not to be struck with your extent of knowledge in geology, Botany, & zoology. The extracts which you give from Hooker seem to me excellently chosen & most forcible.3 I am so much pleased in what you say, also, about Lyell.—4

In fact I am in a fit of enthusiaism & had better write no more. With cordial thanks | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


Dated by the reference to Carpenter’s review of Origin (see n. 2, below).
[Carpenter] 1860b. There is a heavily annotated copy of the review in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. At the head, CD wrote in pencil: ‘(no new facts to me)’.
Carpenter also reviewed Hooker 1853 and 1859 in the same article. See [Carpenter] 1860b, pp. 383–94.
[Carpenter] 1860b, p. 399, mentioned ‘the mastery of Sir Charles Lyell’s admirable reasonings upon the subject, in that grand work on the ’Principles of Geology“.


Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1853. Introductory essay to the flora of New Zealand. London: Lovell Reeve.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Comments enthusiastically on WBC’s review ["The theory of development in nature", Br. & Foreign Med.-Chir. Rev. 25 (1860): 367–404].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Benjamin Carpenter
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.6: 5 (EH 88205922)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2747,” accessed on 10 December 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8