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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   11 December [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec 11th

My dear Gray

I have just got your letter of Nov. 26th. —2 Not to lose the first chance, I write to say that I will gladly pay half of the (about) 20£, & will distribute some copies & leave others in the agents or Trübners hands:3 I will put a few advertisements in newspapers & see what I can do to get it noticed in a few Periodicals.—   But I am a bad man for that, as I live so retired.—

I must hear somehow to whom the consignment of the copies are sent & you can tell me exact sum to repay you.—4 I am heartily glad of this. But I fear it will be impossible to get it known in England so as to sell many.—

If upon reflection you would not like to go to expence do not consider, of course yourself bound.—

Just to exemplify use of your pamphlet. Bishop of London5 was asking Lyell what he thought of the Review in Quarterly, & Lyell’s answer was read “Asa Gray in Atlantic”.6

I will write to Huxley about Mr. Wright’s article7 but I have no hope, as H. said a good strong Anti-Darwinian Article was what he wanted.—   I know nothing about payment, but will enquire & let you hear.—

In Haste | Ever yours | C. Darwin

I heartily acquiesce either in better or cheaper Edition—

Hooker will I am sure help in getting pamplet known.—


Dated by the reference to the forthcoming publication of Gray 1861.
The letter has not been found. Charles Lyell, when CD consulted him on the matter, had asked John Murray whether he would reprint Gray’s review of Origin ([Gray] 1860b) as a separate pamphlet, but Murray had advised against it on the grounds of cost (see letter to Asa Gray, 24 October [1860]). See also letters to Asa Gray, 31 October [1860] and 26 November [1860]. The review was eventually published privately by Gray and CD in March 1861 (Gray 1861). See Correspondence vol. 9.
The London-based publisher Johann Nicolaus Trübner had established many American connections; he had acted as the British distributor of some of Gray’s earlier works.
An entry in CD’s Account book (Down House MS) dated 25 February 1861 indicates that he paid £7 10s. to ‘Asa Gray for Pamphlet’.
Archibald Campbell Tait, university reformer and liberal theologian, was appointed bishop of London in 1856.
The review of Origin in the Quarterly Review was by Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford ([Wilberforce] 1860). For Charles Lyell’s favourable opinion of Gray’s articles ([Gray] 1860b), see letter to Charles Lyell, 23 [September 1860], and letter from Charles Lyell, 25 September 1860. See also letters to Asa Gray, 19 October [1860] and 24 October [1860].
Gray apparently asked CD whether he thought Thomas Henry Huxley would be interested in publishing an article on CD’s theory by his friend Chauncey Wright. Huxley had recently taken over the principal editorship of the Natural History Review. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 11 December [1860], and Correspondence vol. 9.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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.

[Wilberforce, Samuel.] 1860. [Review of Origin.] Quarterly Review 108: 225–64.


The pamphlet of AG’s Origin reviews [Natural selection not inconsistent with natural theology (1861)]. CD will bear half the costs of publishing.

Will write to Huxley about Chauncey Wright’s review of Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (38)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3017,” accessed on 24 January 2022,

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