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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   23 [January 1861]1



My dear Gray

Excuse extreme brevity, as my poor girl has just begun severe attack.—2 I was very glad to hear that you have decided to publish.3 Please remember & grant me favour that I bear the whole small risk of loss4 I am a rich man.—5 You will not misunderstand me.—

The enclosed explains itself.6 Price of 2s—strikes me as too high.—7 I copy list I made few days ago of first lot, which I would for myself distribute.—

I have just received letter from Prof. Wyman.—8 I have not read it, but I see it is profoundly interesting to me.— Thank him.

Yours most cordially | C. Darwin


For Reviews Private Annals of N. Hist S. P. Woodward Bunbury Edin. New Phil. Jr H. C. Watson. R. Chambers Athenaeum Hooker Wollaston Sat. Review. Bentham Sir H. Holland Gardener Ch. Carpenter Falconer Nat. Hist. R. Huxley Harvey Zoologist. Lubbock M’Donnell Geolog. Soc. Self L. Horner Royal Soc. Henslow Phillips Linn. Soc Sedgwick H. D. Rogers Athenaeum Club Hopkins Prestwich Fleuriere (a Reviewer)9 B. of Oxford Al. Decandolle

Herschel Os. Heer

Whewell Thomson of Calcutta.

Lyell Blyth of do.

C. Kingsley Thwaites of Ceylon


The date is based on the reference to the publication of Gray’s pamphlet on natural selection and natural theology (A. Gray 1861a). See nn. 3, 4, and 6, below.
Henrietta Emma Darwin, who was recuperating from a long period of illness, was experiencing an attack of incessant vomiting (see letter to William Erasmus Darwin, [24 January 1861]).
In the autumn of 1860, CD asked Gray whether he would be interested in reprinting for distribution in England his series of three articles on Origin published in the Atlantic Monthly (A. Gray 1860a). See Correspondence vol. 8, letters to Asa Gray, 10 September [1860], 19 October [1860], 24 October [1860], and 11 December [1860], and letter to J. D. Hooker, 11 December [1860].
CD and Gray had agreed to share the costs of printing the pamphlet (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Asa Gray, 11 December [1860]).
In addition to his considerable private wealth, CD had received net profits of over £838 from the sale of the first two editions of Origin in 1860. See Correspondence vol. 8, ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).
The enclosure was copied from a set of lists of people and establishments to which CD planned to send a presentation copy of the pamphlet (see Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix III).
The pamphlet, entitled ‘Natural selection not inconsistent with natural theology. A free examination of Darwin’s treatise “On the origin of species”, and of its American reviewers’ (A. Gray 1861a), was published in London by Trübner and Co. for sale at the price of 1s. 6d. CD’s copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
According to CD’s list of presentation copies for the third edition of Origin (see Correspondence vol. 9, Appendix VII), ‘A. de la Fleuriere’ (possibly Napoleon de la Fleurière) was the science writer for the weekly newspaper the Leader and Saturday Analyst; a review and record of political, literary, artistic, and social events. The publication was a continuation of the Leader, founded in 1850 by George Henry Lewes and Thornton Leigh Hunt. In the issue of 18 February 1860, p. 160, the Leader and Saturday Analyst carried a favourable notice of Thomas Henry Huxley’s lecture on Origin at the Royal Institution, referring to CD’s theory as ‘a subject that will for some time to come be foremost in the minds of thinking men.’


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.


Is glad AG will publish [pamphlet of his reviews of Origin]. Insists on bearing the costs. Encloses list of institutions and individuals to whom he would send copies.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (12)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3050,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9