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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Annie Dowie   24 March 1871

Down, Beckenham, Kent.

March 24th, 1871.


I beg leave to thank you very sincerely for your extremely kind communication through Sir J. Lubbock.1 It has been highly gratifying to me to hear that so distinguished a man as Dr. Chambers felt an interest about my book during the last hours of his valuable life.2 I have always felt a most sincere respect for your father, and his society, the few times I enjoyed it, was most pleasant to me. Several years ago I perceived that I had not done full justice to a scientific work which I believed and still believe he was intimately connected with, and few things have struck me with more admiration than the perfect temper and liberality with which he treated my conduct.3

I have the honour to remain, Madam, | Your obliged and obedient servant, | Charles Darwin.


John Lubbock was CD’s neighbour and may have passed on Dowie’s communication verbally. No written communication has been found.
Robert Chambers (Dowie’s father) died on 17 March 1871 (ODNB). CD refers to Descent.
CD alludes to Vestiges of the natural history of creation ([Chambers] 1844). Chambers name appeared as author only in the twelfth edition of the book (Chambers 1884). In the historical sketch that was added to the third and later editions of Origin, CD criticised some aspects of Vestiges, but concluded, ‘In my opinion it has done excellent service in calling in this country attention to the subject, in removing prejudice, and in thus preparing the ground for the reception of analogous views’ (Origin 3d ed., p. xvi). In 1848, however, he thought the book exhibited ‘poverty of intellect’ (see Correspondence vol. 4, letter to Charles Lyell, [16 June 1848]).


[Chambers, Robert.] 1844. Vestiges of the natural history of creation. London: John Churchill.

Chambers, Robert. 1884. Vestiges of the natural history of creation. With an introduction relating to the authorship of the work by Alexander Ireland. 12th edition. London, Edinburgh: Chambers.

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

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.

Origin 3d ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 3d edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1861.

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.


Robert Chambers, AD’s father, spoke of CD’s book [Descent?] during his last hours of life.

CD’s respect for Chambers, to whose scientific work he had not done justice.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Anne (Annie) Chambers/Anne (Annie) Dowie
Sent from
Source of text
Priestley 1904, p. 16

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7620,” accessed on 15 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19