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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. E. E. Wedgwood   19 December [1871]1

6. Q. Anne St

Dec 19th

My dear Fanny

I hope that you will thank Miss Cobbe very much for her kind & liberal offer. Our differences, however, are too fundamental ever to be reconciled. She naturally referred to any little point of detail. I do not know that there are any needing correction; but my brains are too much volatilised in this dreadful London to read the article with care.—2 I have, however read over again a large part & like it much.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

You can, if you please, take away your copy when you c〈all〉


The year is established by the address. CD was at 6 Queen Anne Street, London, from 14 to 22 December 1871 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).
No letter from Wedgwood on this subject has been found. Cobbe probably offered to make changes to her article ‘Darwinism in morals’ (Cobbe 1871), in which she took issue with the naturalistic account in Descent of the development of morality in humans. Cobbe’s article first appeared in the April 1871 issue of Theological Review; CD’s heavily annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. The article was reprinted unchanged as the title essay in a collection published in 1872 (Cobbe 1872). CD responded to one of Cobbe’s criticisms in Descent 2d ed., p. 99 n. 6.


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1871. Darwinism in morals. Theological Review 8: 167–92.

Cobbe, Frances Power. 1872c. Darwinism in morals, and other essays. London: Williams and Norgate.

Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

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


Asks FW to thank F. P. Cobbe for her liberal offer, but the differences [between Descent and Cobbe’s review "Darwinism in morals", Theol. Rev. 33 (1871): 167–92] are too fundamental to be reconciled.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Frances Emma Elizabeth (Fanny) Wedgwood
Sent from
London, Queen Anne St, 6
Source of text
The Huntington Library (CB 387)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8110,” accessed on 22 October 2020,

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