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Darwin Correspondence Project

To St G. J. Mivart   5 January 1872

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 5. 1872

My dear Sir

I am sorry that you have had the trouble of sending me a copy of your article, as I had already procured the Review.1

I am obliged to you for the opinion which you express about me; but I consider that you have greatly misrepresented my views & conclusions; & I hope I am not quite so bigotted a person as I am made to appear in the Quarterly Review.2 We however differ so completely in our opinion of what is reasonable & just that it wd be waste of time on both sides for us to discuss almost any subject. Time will decide which of us is in the right.

Dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter from St G. J. Mivart, 4 January 1872 and n. 1. CD refers to Mivart 1872a and the Contemporary Review.
In Mivart 1872a, p. 173, Mivart wrote, I have ever entertained, and shall continue to entertain for that amiable gentleman and most accomplished naturalist the warmest sentiments of esteem and regard. Convinced as I am that he is actuated by a pure love of truth, admiring, nay, venerating him for his acute, his unwearied and widely-extended researches, it has been to me a most painful task to stand forth as his avowed and public opponent. Mivart had written an anonymous review of Descent in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1871c). Mivart’s authorship was suspected (see Correspondence vol. 19, letter to A. R. Wallace, 12 July [1871]), and is confirmed by the Wellesley index.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Feels that StGJM’s review of Descent [Q. Rev. 131 (1871): 47–90] greatly misrepresents CD’s opinions and conclusions. Feels their differences of opinion are so great that discussion of almost any subject would be a waste of both their time.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
St George Jackson Mivart
Sent from
Source of text
Natural History Museum (General Special Collections DC AL 1/17)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8145,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20