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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Orton   24 February [1870]1

Down. | Beckenham. | Kent. S.E.

Feb. 24th

My dear Sir

I received the day before yesterday your “Andes & the Amazon”, & most sincerely thank you for your present.— I feel deeply sensible of the honour which you have conferred on me by your kindly expressed Dedication, & for the frequent notices in your text of my Journal.2 You will make this old book of mine quite well known in your great country.

Your work is most elegantly illustrated & got up: I have as yet had time to read only as far as page 105, but I like extremely all that I have read, & I look forward with much pleasure to each evening for continuing it

Your account of Quito is quite new to me & your descriptions bring the scenes before my eyes with much power.3 It has caused me much regret that I failed to procure information about the Horse’s tooth: I wrote a second time & called on Prof. Huxley.4 Each time I am sure he intended to compare the tooth & give his judgment; but in fact he undertakes much more than mortal man can do, & is half-worked to death.— I hope & fully expect that your book will be in every way highly successful.

With cordial thanks, believe me | Dear Sir | Yours truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Orton 1870 (see n. 2, below).
CD refers to Orton 1870, and to his own Journal of researches. There is an annotated copy of Orton 1870 in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 644). The dedication reads: ‘To Charles Darwin, M.A., F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S., whose profound researches have thrown so much light upon every department of science, and whose charming “Voyage of the Beagle” has so pleasantly associated his name with our southern continent, these sketches of the Andes and the Amazon are, by permission, most respectfully dedicated.’
See Orton 1870, pp. 55–84.
Orton had sent CD a tooth from the fossil skull of a horse that he had found in the valley of Quito in Ecuador, hoping to have the species identified (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from James Orton, 8 September 1869). CD first wrote to Thomas Henry Huxley about the find in his letter of 21 September [1869] (ibid.). CD’s second letter has not been found. CD was last in London from 1 to 9 November 1869 (ibid., Appendix II).


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

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.

Orton, James. 1870. The Andes and the Amazon; or, across the continent of South America. New York: Harper.


Thanks JO for his The Andes and the Amazon.

Is sorry he has failed to get any information on the horse’s tooth.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Orton
Sent from
Source of text
University of Oklahoma Libraries History of Science Collections
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7116,” accessed on 13 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18