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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   [late June 1862]1

[Cambridge, Massachusetts]

I have now read (by snatches) the greater part of Morell’s Outlines of Mental Philosophy on the Inductive method.—2a book which has interested me very much from its full acquaintance with, and good use of scientific facts (so rare with metaphysicians),—and I think it is a book to please you.

A fortnight more will essentially relieve me from this wearying work in College, which not only consumes all my time, but unfits me for anything else.3

I ought to go and look up Rhexia; but I cannot find time yet.4

We are getting on quietly with our war; and now that we are used to it, we can keep it up two years longer as well as not, if our rebels choose not to yield. The longer they defer, the worse for slavery.

So some of our wisest and coolest people say that they have no great desire to have it end too soon.

Ever, dear Darwin | Yours cordially | Asa Gray


The date is established by Gray’s references to Morell 1862 (see n. 2, below), to his duties at Harvard University, where he was Fisher Professor of natural history (see n. 3, below), and to the genus Rhexia (see n. 4, below).
Morell 1862; Gray had told CD that he had been given a copy of this book in his letter of 31 March [1862].
In May, Gray had told CD that he would be fully occupied with college duties until 10 July (see letter from Asa Gray, 18 May 1862). See also letter from Asa Gray, 2–3 July 1862.
CD was investigating what he thought might be a novel form of dimorphism in the Melastomataceae, and had asked Gray to examine plants of the genus Rhexia for signs of this phenomenon (see letter to Asa Gray, 16 February [1862]; see also letters to Asa Gray, 15 March [1862] and 21 April [1862]). Gray had agreed to carry out this task in the summer (see letter from Asa Gray, 6 March [1862]); in his letter of 2–3 July 1862, he told CD that he would shortly ‘try to look up & bring home living Rhexia Virginica’.


Morell, John Daniel. 1862. An introduction to mental philosophy, on the inductive method. London.


Has not had time to look at Rhexia.

Progress of Civil War.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 110
Physical description
ALS 2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3631,” accessed on 3 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10