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Darwin Correspondence Project

From ?   [1872–4]1

The Descent of Man 1st. edn.

Vol 1.

4.footnote. “Dr Barrago Francesco” for Dr. Francesco Barrago—the Italians being in the habit of putting the family name first. See for example the Visiting Card inclosed—
98.line 20. “appropriate” employed for “correct”.
158.lines 7–8 … man .... would have been but little liable to have had his bodily structure modified … —for. “would have been but little liable to have his bodily &c.2/
160.line 23. “Undoubtedly it would have been interesting to have traced” for “to trace”—3
160line 27. “neither my ability nor knowledge permit the attempt” for “permits
160.line 32 … “as soon as the progenitors of man became social … the advancement of the intellectual faculties will have been aided” … for “would have been”4
165/.line 7— “We may therefore conclude that primaeval man at a very remote period would have been influenced” … for “was influenced” …
229.line 3. “ranked species” as omitted—
228.line 22… “they must decide what forms to rank as species”. . . for “what forms they will rank as species”....
186.line 5. }mwe have every reason to believe....5
187.line 26 ? we have reason to believe....6
406.line 18. “Dr Wallace”
line 35 “Mr Wallace”.7
413.line 9. “Diadema anomala” for anomalum.8
Vol 2d.
9.line 29. “anal fin” for “caudal fin” as shewn in the engraving.
34line 25. “we come to the climax of difference”. for acme. (climax being the ladder by which the acme is approached)—
43.line 15. “The males of many birds are larger than the females and this (increase of size) no doubt is an advantage to them in their battles with their rivals” …
Would increase of size in the males compared with females be of advantage to the males as between themselves?9
45.lines 10 & 11. “the love dance and love song of the Black cock is called” ....10

CD annotations

4.1 4.... inclosed— 4.3] crossed ink
5.1 98.... “correct”.] crossed blue crayon
6.1 158.... believe … 14.1] crossed ink
16.1 406.... anomalum. 17.1] crossed red crayon
18.1 9.... engraving.] crossed ink
18.1 9.... approached)— 19.2] crossed ink
20.2 (increase of size)] square brackets in ms
20.2 is an advantage … rivals” …20.3] ‘result’ pencil, right margin


The date range is established by the fact that these corrections were made in the second edition of Descent, published in 1874, but not in the last printing of the first edition, which appeared in December 1871 (Freeman 1977). All corrections were made essentially as suggested by the letter writer unless otherwise noted.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 127, CD changed this text to read, ‘would have been but little liable to bodily modifications’.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 128, CD changed this text to read, ‘Undoubtedly it would be interesting to trace’.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 129, CD changed this text to read, ‘the principle of imitation, and reason, and experience would have increased, and much modified the intellectual powers in a way, of which we see only traces in the lower animals’.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 146, CD omitted ‘every’ from this phrase.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 148, CD retained the text, ‘we have every reason to believe’.
This chapter of Descent was extensively altered in the second edition; however, Dr Wallace and Mr Wallace were correctly titled in both editions (they were Alexander Wallace, MD, and Alfred Russel Wallace).
Diadema anomala (now Hypolimnas anomala, the Malayan eggfly) was not mentioned in Descent 2d ed.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 362, CD changed this text to read, ‘The males of many birds are larger than the females, and this no doubt is the result of the advantage gained by the larger and stronger males over their rivals during many generations.’
In Descent 2d ed., p. 363, CD changed this text to read, ‘the love-dances and love-songs of the Black-cock are called’.


Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.


Notes some corrections for 2d ed. of Descent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 88: 151–2
Physical description
Amem 3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7424,” accessed on 21 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20