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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. E. Darwin   20 March 1871


March 20. 1871

My dear Henrietta,

I do not know whether you have been told that Murray reprinted 2000, making the edition 4500, & I shall receive 1470£ for it.1 That is a fine big [sum]. The corrections were 128£!! Altogether the book, I think, as yet has been very successful, & I have been hardly at all abused. Several reviewers speak of the lucid vigorous style etc.— Now I know how much I owe to you in this respect, which includes arrangement, not to mention still more important aids in the reasoning.2 Therefore I wish to give you some little memorial costing about 25 or 50£, to keep in memory of the book, over which you took such immense trouble. I have consulted Mamma, but we cannot think what you would like, & she with her accustomed wisdom advised me to lay the case before you & let you decide how you like—

I have been greatly interested by the second article in the Spectator & by Wallace’s long article in the Academy— I see I have had no influence on him, & his Review has had hardly any on me—3

We go to London on April 1st. for a few days, in order that I may visit & consult Rejlander about Photographs on Expression—4 I think I shall make an interesting little vol. on the subject.— By the way, I have had hardly any letters about ‘the Descent’ worth keeping for you, except one from a Welshman abusing me as an old ape with a hairy face & thick skull.5 We shall be heartily glad to see you home again.6

Goodbye my very dear coadjutor & fellow-labourer | Your affecate. father. Ch. Darwin.

Love to Langtons7


CD refers to John Murray and to the second printing of Descent (see Freeman 1977). CD had received £630 for the first issue of Descent and £210 for the second issue, with a note for a further £630 paid on 18 September 1871 (CD’s Account books–banking account (Down House MS); see letter from John Murray, 18 March [1871]).
Henrietta had read and suggested corrections to the manuscript of Descent (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] and n. 2).
CD refers to an unsigned review of Descent that appeared in the 11 March and 18 March 1871 issues of the Spectator (pp. 288–9, 319–20) and to Alfred Russel Wallace’s review of Descent in the Academy (Wallace 1871c). For more on CD’s differences with Wallace on Descent, see the letter to A. R. Wallace, 16 March 1871. For reviews of Descent, see Correspondence vol. 19, Appendix V.
CD was in London from 1 to 5 April 1871 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). He refers to Oscar Gustaf Rejlander.
Henrietta had spent some time in Bournemouth after recovering from measles (see letter from B. J. Sulivan, 11 March 1871 and n. 8; see also Emma Darwin (1904), 2: 240).
Henrietta was visiting Edmund and Emily Caroline Langton.


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.

Emma Darwin (1904): Emma Darwin, wife of Charles Darwin. A century of family letters. Edited by Henrietta Litchfield. 2 vols. Cambridge: privately printed by Cambridge University Press. 1904.

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.


Reports on sales and reception of his book [Descent]. Thanks HED for her help.

Wallace’s article in the Academy [2 (1870–1): 177–82] shows CD has had no influence on him; the review has had hardly any influence on CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henrietta Emma Darwin/Henrietta Emma Litchfield
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 153: 77
Physical description
C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7605,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

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