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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. D. Walsh   13 April [1868]

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

April 13th

My dear Sir

It was extremely kind of you after being ill & overworked with your Report to take so much trouble in looking through your collection & writing me such copious & minute notes.1 I value your information much, as I well know that you are so trustworthy. Not only are many of the facts, which you communicate, very interesting to me; but the negative evidence is of much value, for I was very doubtful how far I could trust the information, which I picked up from various Books & papers. Many of the English entomologists, however, have been most kind in assisting me in various ways.2 I have found my present subject of Sexual Selection very perplexing, & I must leave a multitude of points doubtful, & can seldom judge except by analogy. But I must make the best of a rather bad job.—

I hope that you will soon receive or have received my new Book, which I have lately heard, is to be republished in the U. States.—3 It is much too large a book, but if I had to do it again, I hardly know what I ought to strike out.— I see by the heading of your letter that you still retain your Editorship, which I fear you must find very hard work.—4

With cordial thanks, My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin

I have just read again your letter & it really is a mine of wealth to me.—


The first US edition of Variation was published in April 1868 by Orange Judd & Co., a firm that specialised in agricultural works (see letter from George Thurber, 18–20 April 1868).
Walsh was editor of the Practical Entomologist; the journal ceased publication in 1868 (ANB).


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.

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


BDW’s letter [6051?] and his notes are a "mine of wealth". The negative evidence is of much value. Sexual selection is a perplexing subject – finds he "must make the best of a rather bad job".

Sends copy [of Variation].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Benjamin Dann Walsh
Sent from
AP 14 68
Source of text
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6113,” accessed on 6 October 2022,

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