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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   11 April 1863

Cambridge, Mass.

April 11, 1863.

My Dear Darwin

You see that—at length—the thing is nearly done—and—to use the expression here rebeldom is “gone up”   You have long seen, I suppose, that I was right in saying there was but one possible end to the war.— also that the continuance for a time or abolition of slavery depended simply on the rebels—that if the[y] obstinately and persistently resisted, slavery was thereby doomed.1

It has been a long, wearing and trying work. But the country has had the needed patience and nerve.— and the thing is done—once for all, at great cost, but to immen⁠⟨⁠se⁠⟩⁠ and enduring advantage.

You are the only Britisher I ever write to on this subject, and, in fact, for whose opinions about our country I care at all.2

So I hasten to rejoice with you over the beginning of the end.

How is your health? Ever, dear Darwin, | Yours cordially A. Gray


Gray refers to the American Civil War and to optimistic reports in northern newspapers of the Union navy’s assault on Charleston harbour; the attack on 7 April 1863 was ultimately unsuccessful, but this intelligence had not yet reached the north (see the New York Times, 11 April 1863, pp. 1, 4, and McPherson 1988, p. 646). For Gray’s views on the inability of the Confederacy to sustain conflict with the Union, and on the eventual end of slavery, see Correspondence vol. 9, letter from Asa Gray, 31 December 1861, and Correspondence vol. 10, letter from Asa Gray, [late June 1862].
Gray and Joseph Dalton Hooker, for example, had ceased discussing the American Civil War in their letters, although CD often forwarded Gray’s letters on the topic to Hooker (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from J. D. Hooker, [14 December 1862], and this volume, letter from J. D. Hooker, [1 March 1863]).


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

McPherson, James M. 1988. Battle cry of freedom: the Civil War era. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The war is nearly finished, "rebeldom is ""gone up"" ".

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Cambridge, Mass.
Source of text
DAR 165: 132
Physical description
ALS 3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4081,” accessed on 31 March 2023,

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