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Darwin Correspondence Project

To P. L. Sclater   4 January [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Jan 4th

My dear Mr Sclater

I am infinitely obliged about the Cynomolgus: I have struck out the whole passage.—2 You men who do only or chiefly original work have an immense advantage over compilers, like myself, as you can know what to trust.—

I wish with all my heart I had thought of consulting you about woodcuts, & had known about your artist; but I thought Brehm’s drawings fairly good enough for my purpose of popular illustration; & it saved me trouble; but I now much regret I did not get better drawings.— Murray never objects to cost.—3

You will never know what a load of anxiety you have taken from my mind, as I feared I might have fallen into endless blunders; as it is I shall feel safe, within reasonable limits, for all the chapters you have so very kindly looked over. Heaven knows, whether the book is worth one quarter of the labour which it has cost me, though the collecting the facts, during several past years, has been a great amusement to me

Yours very truly obliged | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Sclater’s assistance with bird and mammal names in Descent; see n. 2, below.
CD had asked Sclater to check the names of birds and mammals in the proof-sheets of Descent (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter to P. L. Sclater, 4 November [1870] and n. 3). Macacus cynomolgus is now Macaca fascicularis subsp. fascicularis , the long-tailed macaque; the passage removed has not been identified.
Sclater’s artist was Joseph Smit. For some of the illustrations in Descent, CD had used woodcuts from Alfred Edmund Brehm’s Illustrirte Thierleben (Brehm et al. 1864–9); see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 31 December 1868. They were paid for by CD’s publisher, John Murray (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter to John Murray, 26 September 1870).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 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.


Is infinitely obliged for a correction. "You men who do only or chiefly original work have an immense advantage over compilers like myself, as you can know what to trust." Wishes he had consulted PLS before using A. E. Brehm’s Thierleben woodcuts [for Descent]. PLS’s assistance has saved him from "endless blunders"; he now feels safe.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Philip Lutley Sclater
Sent from
Source of text
Zoological Society of London (GB 0814 BADD (Darwin))
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7427,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19