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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. A. Darwin   9 November [1863]1

9 Nov

Dear Charles.

Mr Conway the Yankee about whom I formerly spoke to you has written to inquire if you are well enough to seee him as he would call on say Friday if you would see him.2 I have written to him to say it is very doubtful.3

Dr Carpenter showed me the extract from Mills Logic which he read when he argued for your having the Copley Medal.4 Have you seen it? I hope you are getti⁠⟨⁠ng⁠⟩⁠ better— the number of inquiries I receive is infinite

ever yours | E Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the following letter.
The letter referred to has not been found. Moncure Daniel Conway was an American preacher and author with strong anti-slavery views; in 1863, he moved from Boston to London (DAB).
See following letter.
In the fifth edition of John Stuart Mill’s System of logic, Mill discussed the proper use of scientific hypotheses, noting that ‘Mr. Darwin’s remarkable speculation on the origin of species is another unimpeachable example of a legitimate hypothesis’ (J. S. Mill 1862, 2: 18 n.). Arguing that CD had not violated the ‘rules of Induction’ since he did not pretend his doctrine was proven, Mill wrote (ibid.): He has opened a path of inquiry full of promise, the results of which none can foresee. And is it not a wonderful feat of scientific ingenuity to have rendered so bold a suggestion, which the first impulse of everyone was to reject at once, admissible and discussable, even as a conjecture? See also Correspondence vol. 9, letter from Henry Fawcett, 16 July [1861] and n. 3, and Hull 1973, pp. 27–8. CD was considered for the Royal Society’s Copley Medal in 1863, but on 5 November the medal was awarded to Adam Sedgwick; William Benjamin Carpenter was a member of the society’s council and seconded John Lubbock’s nomination of CD for the medal (Royal Society, Council minutes, 5 November 1863). The Copley Medal was awarded, generally annually, by the council of the Royal Society, for outstanding ‘philosophical research’ (Record of the Royal Society, Appendix IV).


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

DAB: Dictionary of American biography. Under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies. 20 vols., index, and 10 supplements. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons; Simon & Schuster Macmillan. London: Oxford University Press; Humphrey Milford. 1928–95.

Hull, David L. 1973. Darwin and his critics: the reception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by the scientific community. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.


Moncure Conway wants to call on CD.

EAD has seen the extract from Mill’s [System of] Logic which Carpenter read when arguing CD should have the Copley. Has CD seen it?

Letter details

Letter no.
Erasmus Alvey Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 105: B13–14
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4334,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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