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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [13 April 1860]1

– I have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew’s

communication in the Number of your Paper, dated April 7th.2 I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew’s views, considering how briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If another edition of my work is called for, I will insert a notice to the foregoing effect.3

Charles Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.


The date is given by the relationship to the following letter. The letter was not published in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette until 21 April 1860.
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 7 April 1860, pp. 312–13. See following letter and letter to Charles Lyell, 10 April [1860]. For a transcription of Patrick Matthew’s letter, see Correspondence vol.8, Appendix V.
CD discussed Matthew’s work in the augmented historical sketch included in the third edition of Origin (pp. xiv–xv).


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

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


CD acknowledges that Patrick Matthew, in his appendix to Naval timber and arboriculture (1831), anticipated by many years CD’s explanation of the origin of species by natural selection. CD was ignorant of the work. If another edition of Origin is called for, CD will insert a notice to the foregoing effect.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Sent from
Source of text
Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 21 April 1860, pp. 362–3

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2766,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8