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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   [after 17 September 1867]1

Dear Darwin

I have said yes to this reminder of an old promise.—2 But I shd like to have time to turn over the pages & ponder upon them, and perhaps to exchange thoughts with you, before I attempt a review of your opus. 3 By 1st of Oct, we have an inter-national book post, and you could, perhaps, send me sheets somewhat in advance.4

A. Gray


The date is established by the date of the letter to Gray written on the same sheet of paper as this letter (see n. 2, below).
Gray’s letter was written on the blank pages of the folded sheet of a letter to him from Edwin Lawrence Godkin, dated 17 September 1867. The letter text follows: My dear Sir, Two years ago or more when the Nation was first started—you promised me that when Darwin’s new book appeared, you would write us a notice of it. I see it is announced now. I write to ask whether convenience & inclination will allow you to take it up for the Nation. I remain, dear Sir, | Very faithfully yours | E L Godkin Variation had been advertised as forthcoming as early as April 1865 (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to John Murray, 31 March [1865] and n. 2). The Nation was a weekly newspaper published in New York, and first appeared on 6 July 1865 (ANB s.v. Godkin, Edwin Lawrence).
Gray’s review of Variation appeared in the 19 March 1868 issue of the Nation ([A. Gray] 1868).
No details of the proposed international book post have been found; for more information on the history of US postal rates, see Jane Kennedy 1957.


ANB: American national biography. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. and supplement. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999–2002.

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

[Gray, Asa.] 1868. [Review of Variation.] Nation 6 (19 March 1868): 234–6.

Kennedy, Jane. 1957. Development of postal rates: 1845–1955. Land Economics 33: 93–112.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


AG has promised to review CD’s new book [Variation] for the Nation [forwards a letter from E. L. Godkin of the Nation to this effect] and wonders if he might have sheets a little in advance.

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London OC 12 67
Source of text
DAR 165: 158
Physical description
ALS 1p, encl ALS 2pp † (by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5636,” accessed on 14 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15