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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. C. F. Jenkin   30 April [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

April 30th

Dear Sir

I have been much pleased by your kind remembrance of me, shown by your present of your treatise on Electricity & Magnetism.—2 I wish with all my heart that I was more worthy to receive it, but I differ widely from you in being much confined in my studies. Whereas you have written, as I have often said, not only in some respects the best, but the most witty review, which has ever appeared in one branch of natural history, viz on my Origin of Species.3

With my best thanks & respect, I remain Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Jenkin 1873 (see n. 2, below).
Jenkin’s textbook, Electricity and magnetism (Jenkin 1873), was published in the beginning of May 1873 (Publishers’ Circular, 16 May 1873, p. 338). CD’s copy has not been found.
Jenkin had written a review of Origin ([Jenkin] 1867) that CD described as having given him ‘much trouble’ but also as having been ‘of more real use’ than any other essay or review (Correspondence vol. 17, letter to J. D. Hooker, 16 January [1869]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

[Jenkin, Henry Charles Fleeming.] 1867. The origin of species. North British Review 46: 277–318.

Jenkin, Henry Charles Fleeming. 1873. Electricity and magnetism. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

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.


HCFJ’s review of the Origin was the wittiest and in some respects the best written.

Thanks him for his Electricity and magnetism [1873].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 185: 27
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8304,” accessed on 4 July 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21