skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Camille Dareste   16 February [1863]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 16

Dear & respected Sir.

I thank you sincerely for your letter & your pamphlet.—2 I had heard (I think in one of M. Quatrefage’s books)3 of your work & was most anxious to read it, but did not know where to find it. You could not have made me a more valuable present. I have only just returned home & have not yet read your work   when I do if I wish to ask any questions I will venture to trouble you.— Your approbation of my book on Species has gratified me extremely—4 Several naturalists in England, North America & Germany have declared that their opinions on the subject have in some degree been modified, but as far as I know my book has produced no effect whatever in France & this makes me the more gratified by your very kind expression of approbation.5

Pray believe me, Dear Sir. | With much respect. | Yours faithfully & obliged. | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Camille Dareste, 8 February 1863.
Letter from Camille Dareste, 8 February 1863. CD refers to Dareste 1863, an annotated copy of which is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Dareste is briefly mentioned in Armand de Quatrefages’s Métamorphoses de l’homme et des animaux, but Quatrefages does not refer to Dareste’s embryological researches (Quatrefages 1862, p. 274 n.). There is an annotated copy of this work in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 691).
On the reception of Origin in France, see Conry 1974, Farley 1974, Stebbins 1974, and Corsi and Weindling 1985.


Conry, Yvette. 1974. L’introduction du Darwinisme en France au XIXe siècle. Paris: J. Vrin.

Dareste, Camille. 1863. Recherches sur les conditions de la vie et de la mort chez les monstres ectroméliens, célosomiens et exencéphaliens, produits artificiellement dans l’espèce de la poule. [Read 23 January 1863.] Mémoires de la Société Impériale des Sciences de l’Agriculture et des Arts de Lille 10: 39–82. [Reprinted in Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Zoologie) 4th ser. 20: 59–99.]

Farley, John. 1974. The initial reactions of French biologists to Darwin’s Origin of Species. Journal of the history of biology 7: 275–300.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

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.


Thanks for letter and pamphlet.

His approbation of Origin is extremely gratifying, especially since Origin produced no effect whatever in France.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gabriel-Madeleine-Camille (Camille) Dareste
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 368
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3992,” accessed on 17 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11