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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Emma Darwin to F. P. Cobbe   [7 April 1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.


My dear Miss Cobbe

Many thanks for sending us the Theolog. Rev. which we found on our return home—2 Mr Darwin is reading the Rev. with the greatest interest & attention & feels so much the kind way you speak of him & the praise you give him that it will make him bear your severity, when he reaches that part of the review—3

yours very sincerely | Emma Darwin


The date is established by the publication date of Cobbe 1871, and by the Darwins’ return to Down on 5 April 1871 (see n. 2, below). In 1871, the Friday after 5 April was 7 April.
Cobbe’s review of Descent appeared in the April issue of the Theological Review (Cobbe 1871). The Darwins were in London from 1 to 5 April 1871 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
Cobbe praised ‘the inexpressible charm of the author’s manner, the straightforwardness of every argument …, and the simplicity of every sketch and recital’ (Cobbe 1871, p. 169). She went on to criticise CD’s theory that morality had evolved from animal instincts (Descent 1: 70–106). CD’s heavily annotated copy of Cobbe 1871 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1871. Darwinism in morals. Theological Review 8: 167–92.

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


CD is reading the Theological Review (Cobbe 1871) with the greatest interest and attention.

Letter details

Letter no.
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Frances Power Cobbe
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (CB 388)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7666F,” accessed on 19 November 2019,

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