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Darwin Correspondence Project

To St G. J. Mivart   5 January 1872

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 5. 1872

My dear Sir

I am sorry that you have had the trouble of sending me a copy of your article, as I had already procured the Review.1

I am obliged to you for the opinion which you express about me; but I consider that you have greatly misrepresented my views & conclusions; & I hope I am not quite so bigotted a person as I am made to appear in the Quarterly Review.2 We however differ so completely in our opinion of what is reasonable & just that it wd be waste of time on both sides for us to discuss almost any subject. Time will decide which of us is in the right.

Dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter from St G. J. Mivart, 4 January 1872 and n. 1. CD refers to Mivart 1872a and the Contemporary Review.
In Mivart 1872a, p. 173, Mivart wrote, I have ever entertained, and shall continue to entertain for that amiable gentleman and most accomplished naturalist the warmest sentiments of esteem and regard. Convinced as I am that he is actuated by a pure love of truth, admiring, nay, venerating him for his acute, his unwearied and widely-extended researches, it has been to me a most painful task to stand forth as his avowed and public opponent. Mivart had written an anonymous review of Descent in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1871c). Mivart’s authorship was suspected (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to A. R. Wallace, 12 July [1871]), and is confirmed by the Wellesley index.


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.


Feels that StGJM’s review of Descent [Q. Rev. 131 (1871): 47–90] greatly misrepresents CD’s opinions and conclusions. Feels their differences of opinion are so great that discussion of almost any subject would be a waste of both their time.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
St George Jackson Mivart
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum, Library and Archives (General Special Collections DC AL 1/17)
Physical description
LS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8145,” accessed on 2 April 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20