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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Bentham   15 April [1863]1

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

April 15th

My dear Bentham

I have run my eye over the Reviews & Notices on the Origin (amounting to about 90!) & very few are worth your notice.2

Pictet’s is about the most valuable from the man’s knowledge.3

Bronn wrote a final chapter, at my request, with excellent objections, in his German Edition, which I have tried partly to answer in the 3d. Edition of Origin p. 133–1434

There is a favourable & long Review in Revue Germanique, which is important from coming from so good observer, as Claparede.5

Much has been published in Germany but not worth your attention.6

Of English I suppose you know Hopkins in Fraser, one of most important.7

One of very best & partly Botanical is by Mr Maw in Zoologist.8

There is one by Dr. Dawson in Canadian Naturalist, which, however, seems to me poor.—9

There is good one in Calcutta Review.—10

Of course these are not all worth your looking at, but as Book Post is so cheap, & as it may save you trouble, I send the lot.11

Please be careful of them, & let me have them back, as soon as you have made any use of them

Believe me | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Bentham, 21 April 1863.
In his letter to CD of [c. 14 April 1863] Bentham requested information on the published reaction to CD’s theory for his 25 May 1863 anniversary address as president of the Linnean Society (Bentham 1863). CD’s ‘List of reviews’ (DAR 262 (DH/MS** 8: 6–18)) served as an index to the reviews of his works. For a list of reviews of Origin published in 1859 and 1860, see Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix VII. See also letter from George Bentham, 21 April 1863.
There is an annotated copy of Pictet de la Rive 1860 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Heinrich Georg Bronn translated the first German edition of Origin (Bronn trans. 1860). CD refers to Bronn trans. 1860, pp. 495–520. There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 180–2).
There is an annotated copy of Claparède 1861 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. Edouard Claparède was a Swiss naturalist and invertebrate zoologist.
For discussions of German reactions to CD’s theory, see the letter from Friedrich Rolle, 26 January 1863, and the letter to Friedrich Rolle, 30 January [1863]. See also Montgomery 1974, and Corsi and Weindling 1985.
Hopkins 1860 was published in Fraser’s Magazine. On his ‘List of reviews’ (see n. 2, above), CD included the statement, ‘Hopkins in Fraser says my view differs in nothing from Lamarck’ (DAR 262 (DH/MS* 8: 9)).
The reference is to George Maw’s review of Origin ([Maw] 1861). There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
J. W. Dawson 1860. There is an annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Anon. 1860, which was published in the Calcutta Review, may have been written by Edward Blyth (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 May [1860] and n. 7). There is a copy of Anon. 1860 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Of the reviews CD listed in this letter, Bentham made direct mention only of Pictet de la Rive 1860, Bronn trans. 1860, and Claparède 1861 (Bentham 1863, p. xvii).


Bentham, George. 1863. [Anniversary address, 25 May 1863.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 7 (1864): xi–xxix.

Claparède, Edouard. 1861. M. Darwin et sa théorie de la formation des espèces. Revue Germanique Française & étrangère 16: 523–59; 17: 232–63.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hopkins, William. 1860. Physical theories of the phenomena of life. Fraser’s Magazine 61: 739–52; 62: 74–90.

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.

[Maw, George.] 1861. [Review of Origin & other works.] Zoologist 19: 7577–611.

Montgomery, William M. 1974. Germany. In The comparative reception of Darwinism, edited by Thomas F. Glick. Austin, Tex., and London: University of Texas Press.

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.

Pictet de la Rive, François Jules. 1860. Sur l’origine de l’espèce par Charles Darwin. Bibliothèque universelle. Revue suisse et étrangère n.s. 7: 233–55.


Sends GB a selection of reviews of the Origin from his collection of about 90, with his opinion of some of them.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Bentham
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Bentham correspondence 3: 700)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4100,” accessed on 6 July 2020,

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