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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Louis Agassiz   12 April 1864

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

Ap. 12. 1864

My dear Sir

Owing to long continued illness & absence from London, I received only a few days ago the copy of your “Methods of Study” with some other publications,1 & your kind note of introduction to Mr Lesly.2

I thank you sincerely for the above present.

I know well how strongly you are opposed to nearly everything I have written & it gratifies me deeply that you have not for this cause taken, like a few of my former English friends, a personal dislike to me.3

With my cordial thanks & sincere respect | I remain my dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


Agassiz’s book had apparently been sent to a London address; CD’s last visit to London had been on 13 October 1863 (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II, n. 23). A lightly annotated copy of Agassiz’s Methods of study in natural history (Agassiz 1863b) is in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 13). For CD’s view of Agassiz 1863b, see the first letter to B. D. Walsh, 4 December [1864]. The other publications have not been identified.
See Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Louis Agassiz, 29 September 1863. J. Peter Lesley, professor of mining at the University of Pennsylvania, reported having met CD at Charles Lyell’s house in London on 21 October 1863, describing him as ‘a gentle shy person of 55+ years of age’ (Ames ed. 1909, 1: 447). However, Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) makes no reference to CD’s having gone to London on that date (see n. 1, above), and records that he had a ‘bad day’ with ‘sickness’.
On Agassiz’s review of Origin (Agassiz 1860), see, for example, Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Asa Gray, 11 August [1860]. One of the former friends CD refers to may be Richard Owen.


Agassiz, Louis. 1860. On the origin of species. American Journal of Science and Arts 2d ser. 30: 142–54. [Reprinted in Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 6 (1860): 219–32.]

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

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 LA for Methods of study [1863].

Is gratified that he has not taken a personal dislike to CD, though he is strongly opposed to nearly everything CD has written.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Jean Louis Rodolphe (Louis) Agassiz
Sent from
Source of text
Houghton Library, Harvard University (MS Am 1419: 277)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4460,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12