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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Chauncey Wright   12 September 1871

Down, | Beckenham, Kent,

Sept. 12, 1871.

My dear Mr. Wright,

The printers have been abominably slow, but they have at last sent me proofs of the whole, and I hope will print off in a week or fortnight.1 I will then send you some copies, and distribute others largely to all whom I can think of as likely to care for the subject. Of course, I have made no corrections or alterations; but the printer suggested the addition of one word to make sense clear.2 I did not add note about camel’s neck, as it did not seem to me important enough.3 I have lent your article to some friends, and all have been much struck with it; but they say, and I agree, that several passages are rather obscure.4 Even if only a few scientific men will read it, I shall think myself well repaid for printing it; and I thank you very sincerely for your permission.

I am much obliged for your remarks on phyllotaxy, which is a subject which has always had a strange interest for me, but has of late gone out of my head.5 I do not think I could make your views clear in a few sentences for the ‘Origin’.6 I am glad to hear that you intend publishing a popular article. I earnestly advise you to publish it in America; it is so necessary for the author to correct the press; it is impossible for one, like me, who does not thoroughly understand the subject.7

I am glad to hear that you are thinking of coming to England, and I shall be delighted to see you at Down; but I am a miserable host, as my head absolutely prevents me from talking for more than a short time, or indulging in any excitement.8

Believe me | Yours very sincerely, | Ch. Darwin.


CD arranged for Wright’s review of St George Jackson Mivart’s On the genesis of species (Wright 1871a; Mivart 1871a) to be published by John Murray at CD’s expense (Wright 1871b); see letter to Chauncey Wright, 13 and 14 July [1871] and n. 5.
No correspondence with the printing firm William Clowes & Sons has been found; the added word has not been identified.
CD was preparing Origin 6th ed.
Wright mentioned his intention of travelling to Europe in his letter of 1 August 1871.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


CW’s pamphlet [Darwinism (1871)] nearly ready. Friends have been much struck by it but say several passages rather obscure.

Glad CW coming to England. Will be delighted to see him at Down.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Chauncey Wright
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 384
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7933,” accessed on 9 June 2023,

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