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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Lewes   8 August 1868

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

8th. Augt 1868

Dear Mr Darwin

You can understand how deeply gratified I am by your approval, which is all the more pleasant because I have the best reasons for supposing that the articles have not been much liked by the public of the Review— the editor is urgent that they should close! I am also indebted to you for your notes, & hope I may be allowed to use them in the Reprint.1

As to my absurdly obscure sentence—which I see now to be obscure—it was meant to express a very plain position, namely that from very different starting points a similar result might be reached.2 A pus cell or a blood corpuscle has a genesis wholly distinct from the forms indistinguably similar which are produced in a viscid substance by slow imbibition— here a difference of genesis & an identity of form are demonstrable. In animal identities a like difference of origin (genesis) is conceivable.

I am not defending my phrase which will be abolished—only hinting that I had an idea to express.

You have no doubt seen it but if not may be interested in Kowalefsky’s Memoir on the Development of Amphioxus in the St. Petersburg Academy Memoirs (tome XI: No 4).3 It has made me restless with desire to find myself somewhere on the Mediterranean coast with a supply of embryos! His observations are all in favor of your view & against mine.—which is not pleasant (for me).

Believe me | Yours very sincerely | G H Lewes

Charles Darwin Esq


See letter to G. H. Lewes, 7 August [1868]. Lewes refers to his articles, ‘Mr. Darwin’s hypotheses’, in the Fortnightly Review (Lewes 1868b); the editor of the Fortnightly Review was John Morley. Lewes did not reprint his articles.
Lewes refers to a sentence on page 372 of Lewes 1868b; see letter to G. H. Lewes, 7 August [1868] and n. 4.
Lewes refers to Alexander Onufrievich Kovalevsky and to A. O. Kovalevsky 1866. See Correspondence vol. 15, letter from V. O. Kovalevsky, 15 March 1867 and n. 6.


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

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


Gratified by CD’s approval of his articles, which the public has not much liked.

Clarifies the obscure sentence CD criticised – forms having a different genesis can be similar.

Calls CD’s attention to Kovalevsky’s memoir on Amphioxus [Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg 7th ser. 11 (1868) no.4]. K’s views are all in favour of CD’s and against GHL’s.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henry Lewes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Regents Park
Source of text
DAR 99: 31–2
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6309,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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