skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To George Henslow   7 December [1871]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Dec. 7th

My dear Mr Henslow

If you will take the trouble to look at p. 431 Vol. 2. of my Variation of Animals under Domestication, you will find the perplexed conclusion at which I have arrived in relation to variation & design.—2 To this statement I have nothing to add.—

Pray believe me | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from George Henslow, 5 December 1871.
In Variation 2: 431–2, CD remarked on the difficulty of reconciling the operation of natural selection on randomly occurring variations with belief in an omnipotent and omniscient creator. He concluded: ‘We are brought face to face with a difficulty as insoluble as is that of free will and predestination.’


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Refers GH to vol. 2, p. 431 of Variation for the "perplexed conclusion" at which CD has arrived on variation and design. Has nothing to add to this statement.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
Linnean Society of London (C.452)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8099,” accessed on 22 October 2020,

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