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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Reviewer   [February–April 1868?]1

Mr D. is much obliged to Mr Reviewer for his kind note.2 & believes that very few Reviewers feel such conscientious scruples.— Mr D. overlooked the error, but had he observed it, he would have felt positive from the fair & very friendly spirit of the whole article, that the word was a in some way the result of an accident.


If as it is printed any further notice be taken of Mr D.’ book, he wd venture to suggest to the Reviewer to grapple with the Ch. on Pang.3 A parent is not a trustworthy [judge] of the merits of his own offspring, but now that Mr D. knows what some few capable judges think, he ventures to express the conviction, that Pangenesis after some improvement, which follows from collision with the world, is destined to enjoy a wide admission. Mr D. believes that it is the first hypothesis which has been advanced showing in which generation [connects] & giving [here] a material connection for some large classes of facts


The date range is conjectured from the dates of publication of most of the reviews of Variation (see n. 2, below).
The note has not been found; it was evidently sent to CD with a manuscript of a review of Variation. A number of anonymous reviews of Variation were published between February and April 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix VI).
CD refers to his provisional hypothesis of heredity, pangenesis, presented in chapter 27 of Variation (Variation 2: 357–404).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.


Suggests, if further notice is to be taken of Variation, that the reviewer grapple with the subject of Pangenesis. Thanks him for his fair and friendly spirit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 96: 38
Physical description
ADraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5829,” accessed on 30 May 2023,

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