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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alfred Newton   29 January 1868

Magd: Coll: Cambridge

29 Jany. 1868.

Dear Mr. Darwin,

Pray accept my warmest thanks for your most kind and unexpected present—as well as my hearty congratulations on the completion of this work, to which I, in common with so many others, have long been looking forward—1 I have also to offer you my congratulations on the highly honourable place taken by your son in the late Mathematical Tripos—2 He is a living proof of your beautiful theory of “descent with modification   The talent is inherited but applied in a different manner—

I have just glanced at your introductory chapter and am delighted to see that you promise us two more works—3

Believe me | Yrs. very truly & obliged | Alfred Newton—


The reference is to Variation. Newton’s name appears on the presentation list for the book (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV).
George Howard Darwin was second in the final examination for the mathematical tripos at Cambridge (Cambridge University calendar 1868).
Variation was the first of a projected series of three works; the second was to discuss variability in the state of nature, and the third was to consider how the theory of natural selection could be applied to explain present and past forms of life (see Variation 1: 8–14). Neither of the succeeding works was published.


Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

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

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


Thanks CD for present [of Variation].

Congratulates CD on success of his son George in mathematical tripos.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Newton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Magdalene College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 186: 50
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5810,” accessed on 18 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16