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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Robert Gray   [4 December 1838]1

36 Great Marlborough Street


[Sends a few pages of proofs2 on which he asks Gray to make any observations that might occur to him (“… I am ashamed of my work, but I cannot do it better …”) and particularly requesting him to check passages in French (“… if you would compare the French sentence at p. 20 with M. D’Orbigny’s work …”)3 and Latin (“… I find I have quite forgotten the little I ever knew …”). CD also says that he is sending the manuscript of the ‘Natatores’ which Gray had said he would look at.]

Believe me | Yours truly | Chas. Darwin4


For the basis for the date of this letter, see letter to G. R. Gray, [6 December 1838], n. 1.
Birds No. 2, which was published in January 1839. Gray completed Birds following John Gould’s departure for Australia.
Orbigny 1835–47, vol. 4 pt 3 (Oiseaux), p. 52.
The valediction is reproduced in facsimile in the catalogue.


Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

Orbigny, Alcide Charles Victor Dessalines d’. 1835–47. Voyage dans l’Amérique Méridionale (le Brésil, la République orientale de l’Uruguay, la République Argentine, la Patagonie, la République du Chili, la République de Bolivia, la République du Pérou), exécuté pendant les années 1826 … 1833. 6 vols. in 7 and 4 atlases. Paris and Strasbourg: Pitois-Levrault et Cie, P. Bertrand.


Sends GRG a few pages of proofs [of Birds]. Asks him to make any observations that might occur to him and to check passages in French and Latin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Robert Gray
Sent from
London, Gt Marlborough St, 36
Source of text
Sotheby’s (dealers) (14 December 1976)
Physical description
ALS ** 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 451,” accessed on 21 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2