skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Fraser   14 April [1871]1

Down, Beckenham

April 14th


Dear Sir

I am very much obliged for your letter and the interesting facts which it contains, and which are new to me.2 But I am at present so much engaged with other subjects that I cannot fully consider them; and even if I had time, I do not suppose that I should have anything to say worth printing in a scientific Journal. It would obviously be absurd in me to allow a mere note of thanks from me to be printed. Whenever I have to bring out a corrected edition of my book, I will well consider your remarks (which I hope that you will send to Nature)3 but the difficulty will be that my friends tell me that I have already introduced too many facts, and that I ought to prune, rather than to introduce more.4

With my best thanks, I remain | Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I have received your second note with its ingenious suggestion for which many thanks. You will of course include this with any notice which you may send to Nature.5


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Fraser, 12 April 1871.
Fraser published the observations he recorded in his letter of 12 April 1871 in Nature, 20 April 1871 (G. Fraser 1871). There was no additional note from CD.
CD incorporated two observations from Fraser 1871 in Descent 2d ed.; see letter from George Fraser, 12 April 1871 and n. 14.


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

Fraser, George. 1871. Sexual selection. Nature, 20 April 1871, p. 489.


Cannot provide comment on GF’s paper for publication. Hopes GF will publish in Nature. Will consider his remarks when revising book [Descent].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Fraser
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 144: 297
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7684,” accessed on 4 July 2020,

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