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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Leonard Darwin   [after 14 February 1874]1

Naval College | Greenwich.

This seems to point to some error in the census of 18532   The an-decrease percent from 1850 to 1860 is 2.01—much more in accordance with the other results. The population given for 1853 is more likely that for 1858— is the date right.3


The 4.6 seems the only one out of the series

L Darwin

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘1850—78.854pencil
End of letter:
Year Native Population Annual percentage Decrease done (4.6)✓
1832 130,313
1836 108,579 1.969= 1.97
1850 82,203 4.759
1853 71,019 0.81✓
1860 ✓67,084 2.18
1866 ✓58,765 done (2.17)
1872 51,531
ink and pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. M. Coan, 14 February 1874.
Titus Munson Coan’s figures suggested that the native population of the Hawaiian Islands fell by 11,184 in the three years between 1850 and 1853 and by 3,935 in the seven years between in 1853 and 1860 (see enclosure to letter from T. M. Coan, 14 February 1874). When CD published these figures in Descent 2d ed., p. 186, he omitted the figure for 1850.
The census dates given by Coan were correct; see also letter from ?, [after 14 January 1874].


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


Statistics showing rate of decline of population in Sandwich Islands, 1832–72.

Letter details

Letter no.
Leonard Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Naval College, Greenwich
Source of text
DAR 90: 8
Physical description
ALS 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8709,” accessed on 16 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22