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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Albert Günther   [after 13 January 1870]1


My dear Sir

I am very glad to hear that you are pleased with the proofs; I suppose you will have the remainder in a week or two, & I am looking forward for the appearance of your work with great impatience.2

You are very kind in asking after my boy; indeed, I should have added a line about him in my last note, only I thought you had to think about so many things that I would not intrude upon you with my domestic affairs.3

Shortly after I had seen you my solicitor informed me that the Counsel of the Respondents finding their case unjustifiable, had refused to go on with it. Consequently the child had to be given up, & the Court dispensing with my personal appearance, simply found the respondents liable into costs

It so happened that after the case had been settled, it came out that the same man who refused me my child, had persuaded my poor wife a few hours before her death behind my back, to ask me to send the child to Scotland! However, enough of it; the mere thought of such conduct makes me still very bitter. I have the comfort to know that there was no guile in my wife, & I am justified in forgetting her relations.4

The boy is a fine strong child, doing very well under the faithful care of my mother,5 & being a source of great comfort to me. Fathers, they say, are talkative about their youngsters; therefore I will not expose myself; there is nothing extraordinary about the boy except that he is born on the anniversary of the death of Cuvier6

Yours faithfully | AG.


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Albert Günther, 13 January [1870].
Günther refers to proofs of some of the woodcuts for Descent (see letter to Albert Günther, 13 January [1870]). Descent was published in January 1871.
Robert William Theodore Gunther, Günther’s son, was born 23 August 1869; his mother, Roberta, died a few days later (ODNB). Günther’s ‘last note’ has not been identified. No letter survives in which CD asked after Robert.
Evidently the family of Günther’s wife, who was from Scotland, had taken charge of her child, and Günther had taken them to court.
Eleanora Louise Günther.
Georges Cuvier.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Is glad CD likes the proofs; looks forward to the appearance of his work.

Letter details

Letter no.
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 244
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7078,” accessed on 14 April 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18