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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [19 February 1872]1



My dear Father.

I received the copy of the new Origin yesterday, I think it a very neat looking book, I hope the deuce I have not overlooked any misspelling &c, I am quite afraid to look at it; I shall like to see any notices of the new chapter.2

I am just now horridly disgusted with St Catherines hill Winchester, I have taken a lot of measurement & thought I had found a fine worm test, but now I have finished; it all goes squash, I will bring up my notes on Friday.3

I shall be on Friday in time for dinner at 7 or certainly at 7.15.

Your affect son | W E Darwin

I hope you are brisk


The date is established from the fact that the earliest presentation copies of Origin 6th ed. were received on 18 February 1872 (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from W. H. Flower, 18 February 1872, and letter from W. W. Reade, 18 February 1872). In 1872, the Monday following 18 February was 19 February.
William had corrected proofs of Origin 6th ed.; the book contained a new chapter, ‘Miscellaneous objections to the theory of natural selection’ (pp. 168–204). William’s name appears on the presentation list for the book (Correspondence vol. 22, Appendix IV).
William later took soil samples from St Catherine’s Hill, a chalk formation south-east of Winchester, to assist with CD’s research on the formation of vegetable mould (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from W. E. Darwin, [29 February 1872], and letter to W. E. Darwin, [1 March 1872], and Earthworms, pp. 302–4). The Darwins were in London from 16 February to 21 March 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix II).


Received copy of Origin 6th ed. Has had trouble with worm measurements at Winchester.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 50)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8250F,” accessed on 16 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)