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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Lyell   26 [June 1858]



My dear Lyell

Forgive me for adding P.S. to make the case as strong as possible against myself.

Wallace might say “you did not intend publishing an abstract of your views till you received my communication, is it fair to take advantage of my having freely, though unasked, communicated to you my ideas, & thus prevent me forestalling you?” The advantage which I should take being that I am induced to publish from privately knowing that Wallace is in the field. It seems hard on me that I should be thus compelled to lose my priority of many years standing, but I cannot feel at all sure that this alters the justice of the case. First impressions are generally right & I at first thought it wd. be dishonourable in me now to publish.—

Yours most truly | C. Darwin

I have always thought you would have made a first-rate Lord Chancellor; & I now appeal to you as a Lord Chancellor

Emma desires her affectionate thanks, in which I heartily join, to Lady L. for her most kind note.— Etty is very weak but progressing well. The Baby has much fever but we hope not S. Fever.— What has frightened us so much is, that 3 children have died in village from Scarlet Fever, & others have been at death’s door, with terrible suffering.


Is it fair to take advantage of knowing that Wallace is in the field? Seems hard on CD to lose priority of many years, but does not feel this alters justice of case.

Baby [Charles Waring Darwin] has much fever. Frightened because three children in village have died from scarlet fever.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.154)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2295,” accessed on 1 April 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7