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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. C. Donders   17 November [1869]1

Down | Beckenham | Kent S.E.

Nov: 17

My dear Sir

I thank you cordially for your extremely kind letter2   There is no sort of hurry, for as is always the case, my work has gone on much slower than I expected, & I shall not come to the subject in question for some two months.3

I am delighted to hear that you have been making experiments, & shall be very anxious to hear what results you have arrived at.

I feel convinced that the question is all important to any one who is interested in expression.

It gave me sincere pleasure to make your acquaintance and your little visit here was very interesting to us all.4

With Mrs. Darwin’s kind regards I remain my dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from F. C. Donders, 12 November 1869.
CD had asked Donders questions for his research on human expression; see memorandum to F. C. Donders, 6 September 1869. At the time, CD still thought that this research would be included in Descent, but it was later published in Expression. See Correspondence vol. 18, letter to F. C. Donders, 21 June 1870.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.


There is no hurry for information. Delighted that FCD is making experiments.

It was a sincere pleasure to make FCD’s acquaintance.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Frans Cornelis (Franciscus Cornelius) Donders
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6991,” accessed on 30 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17