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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Preyer   15 May 1870

May 15. 1870.

My Dear Sir.—

I received two days ago your article, which has gratified me in a very high degree.1 Every word which you say is dictated in the kindest possible spirit; but your estimation of the value of my work would be considered, I fear, by most persons as very much too high. Nothing so full or, as far as facts are concerned, so true has hitherto been published about me. There are one or two very trifling inaccuracies, i.e, about my shooting and hunting in the Highlands. You give also too bad a character to our roads or rather lanes; they are very narrow and rather bad; but when you come to England, I hope that you will prove by visiting me here that they are not impassable. When you have any communication with Dr. Peschel, pray give him my sincere thanks for his present.2 I can see that the subject is extremely interesting; but the great difficulty with which I read German is a never-ending grief to me.

You ask about my next book; it is partly on the Descent of Man, but chiefly on Sexual Selection, which latter I have found a very large subject. I suppose I shall go to press late in the autumn; but I make very slow progress.3

With cordial thanks for all the honours which you have piled on my head, believe me, my Dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Charles Darwin.

P.S.— Please to give my very kind remembrances to my good friend E. Häckel4


See letter from W. T. Preyer, 9 May 1870 and n. 2. Preyer sent two copies of Preyer 1870b.
Preyer had also enclosed a work by Oscar Ferdinand Peschel (see letter from W. T. Preyer, 9 May 1870 and n. 3).
Descent went to press on 30 August 1870 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Ernst Haeckel.


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


Comments on WP’s biographical article on CD. Asks him to thank O. F. Peschel for his present of the publication [Das Ausland 2 Apr 1870].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Thierry (William) Preyer
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 256–8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7190,” accessed on 2 March 2021,

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