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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Crawfurd   7 April 1861

Down Bromley Kent

April 7   61

My dear Mr. Crawfurd

Very many thanks for your note & kind present of the two pamplets1   I felt sure the one I asked about, was by you: but I did not know whether you acknowledged it. I can now refer to it as read at Oxford in 186–2   I will look to Book about Indian dates.—3 I do not believe in metempsychosis nor in Genesis—& you are growing so orthodox, that you will end your days, I believe, in believing in the Tower of Babel—4

With sincere thanks | Yours very sincerely | C Darwin

PS   I have just read & been much interested by your essay on the Horse5   I thank you much for having sent it. What a store of knowledge you possess


In addition to sending CD a copy of Crawfurd 1860b (see n. 5, below), Crawfurd apparently sent an abstract of Crawfurd [1860a], which was published in the Report of the 30th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Oxford, Transactions of the sections, p. 155.
Crawfurd [1860a]. See letter to John Crawfurd, 25 March [1861], and n. 1, above. A dash for the year was left by the copyist.
It is not known to what book CD refers, although it may be a work by the orientalist Horace Hayman Wilson. CD had asked Crawfurd about the dating of the ‘Institutes of Manu’ (see letter to John Crawfurd, 25 March [1861]). In Variation 1: 246, CD wrote concerning the domestication of fowls in India: In India it must have been domesticated when the Institutes of Manu were written, that is, according to Sir W. Jones 1200 B.C., but according to the later authority of Mr. H. Wilson, only 800 B.C., for the domestic fowl is forbidden. Whilst the wild is permitted to be eaten.
Crawfurd’s orthodox religious views were readily apparent in his review of Origin ([Crawfurd] 1859). See Correspondence vol. 7, letters to Charles Lyell, 2 December [1859], and to T. H. Huxley, [5 December 1859].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

[Crawfurd, John.] 1859. [Review of Origin.] Examiner, 3 December 1859, pp. 772–3.

Crawfurd, John. 1860. The history of the horse, and his comparative value for military and other purposes. [Read 27 January 1860.] Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, Whitehall Yard 4 (1861): 10–24.

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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks JC for pamphlets.

"I do not believe in Metempsychosis nor in Genesis – & you are growing so orthodox, that you will end your days, I believe, in believing in the Tower of Babel–."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Crawfurd
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143
Physical description
ALS 2pp & C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3114,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

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