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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Lewes   26 July 1868

The Priory, | 21. North Bank, | Regents Park.

July 26th 1868

My dear Mr Darwin

On my return from Germany yesterday I found your letter of the 6 June awaiting me with its pleasant intimations of approval.1

Yes, I certainly do intend to treat of Pangenesis, & without any evasion, as the most remarkable hypothesis yet put forth on that mystery; but I cannot yet determine whether I shall have room for it in the Review, or shall be forced to leave it for the volume I have in contemplation—“Chapters on Darwin”.2 The fact is that greatly as I was interested in your book & the subject, I was with difficulty persuaded to write on it for the Review, having discharged my first feelings in the Pall Mall.3 I was unwilling to set aside the work on which I was engaged, but once having done this & taken up your book, the subject grew & grew, till after telling the editor I must write two, then three articles, I finally declared it necessary to write four or five, & make a book out of this nucleus!4

After three articles were written I had to go abroad (I found all young scientific Germany Darwinian) & have come back again with the hope of getting the articles at least speedily finished—5 the book may then proceed leisurely.

I have said all this with a purpose— now that you know whither I am tending you may perhaps give me the benefit of your objections— I do not mean that you should occupy your time in discussion, or dissertation (you have other work to do) but if you would note on the margin any passages to which you demur, any facts you dispute, any inaccuracies you may detect, or any obscurities worth clearing up, it would greatly benefit my book.

Meanwhile believe me | Yours very faithfully | G. H. Lewes

Have you a carte de visite you could spare? I have never seen you in the flesh, though I have several times met your brother.6

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Carte’ pencil


CD’s letter to Lewes of 6 June 1868 has not been found. Lewes published a series of articles in the Fortnightly Review titled ‘Mr. Darwin’s hypotheses’ between 1 April and 1 November 1868 (Lewes 1868b). For CD’s opinion of them, see the letter to Charles Lyell, 14 July 1868.
Lewes discussed CD’s provisional hypothesis of pangenesis (see Variation 2: 357–404) in the final part of his review, Lewes 1868b, pp. 503–9. Lewes did not publish a book on CD; his articles on CD were incorporated into his series Problems of life and mind, in The physical basis of mind (Lewes 1877).
[Lewes] 1868a. Lewes refers to the Fortnightly Review and the Pall Mall Gazette.
Lewes was working on a project to explain the connections between physiology and psychology; his work was published in a series of books, Problems of life and mind (ODNB). The editor of the Pall Mall Gazette was Frederick Greenwood.
Lewes and Marian Evans (George Eliot) had spent two months in Germany and Switzerland, leaving in May 1868 (Ashton 1991, p. 246).


Ashton, Rosemary. 1991. G. H. Lewes: a life. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Lewes, George Henry. 1868b. Mr. Darwin’s hypotheses. Fortnightly Review n.s. 3: 353–73, 611–28; 4: 61–80, 492–509.

Lewes, George Henry. 1877. The physical basis of mind: being the second series of Problems of life and mind. London: Trübner & Co.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.

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


Replies to CD’s letter [missing]. He does intend to treat of Pangenesis "as the most remarkable hypothesis yet put forth".

His articles in Fortnightly Review have grown in number so that he plans to make a book of them. Asks CD to send him notes of his objections.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henry Lewes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Regents Park
Source of text
DAR 106: D7–8
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6290,” accessed on 17 April 2024,

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