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Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. H. Lewes   [17 November 1868]1

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


Dear Mr Darwin

I wish very much to belong to the ‘Linnæan Society’ for the sake of its Library; and under the august shadow of your name I should perhaps not be objected to. If you have no objection to propose me, Busk offers to second the proposal.2

My disreputable German was better than I feared & not only has he failed to ‘shoot my duck’ he has failed even to see it flying; so I am at ease on that score, and the labor of years is not yet proved to have been misdirected.3

By the way do you think Sir Charles Lyell would mind setting forth his objections to my papers in the shape of Notes?4 When I recast the papers into a book I should be glad to have everything that tells against them distinctly before me. That indeed was one of my objects in publishing the papers which were only intended as a sort of nucleus for the future books

You made Mrs Lewes5 & myself very happy by your visit & we only hope your head was none the worse for it.

Believe me | Faithfully Yours | G. H. Lewes


The date is established by the reference to CD’s visit (see n. 4, below). The first Tuesday following 14 November 1868 was 17 November.
George Busk was the zoological secretary of the Linnean Society (ODNB). Fellows of the Society were allowed to borrow books from the society’s library.
The reference to Lewes’s German and his ‘labor of years’ has not been identified.
CD had visited Lyell just before his meeting with Lewes on 14 November 1868 and may have discussed Lewes’s recent work ‘Mr. Darwin’s hypotheses’, which appeared in instalments in the Fortnightly Review (Lewes 1868b; see letter to G. H. Lewes, [13 November 1868]).
Marian Evans (George Eliot).


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

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.


Asks CD to propose him for Linnean Society.

Would like to have Lyell put his objections to GHL’s papers [Fortn. Rev. 9 (1868): 353–73, 611–28; 10 (1868): 61–80, 492–509] in the form of notes, so he can have them before him when he recasts his papers into a book.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henry Lewes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Regents Park
Source of text
DAR 106: D3–4
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6462,” accessed on 21 April 2024,

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