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Darwin Correspondence Project

To James Crichton-Browne   28 February [1873]1


Feb. 28

My dear Sir

When I last heard from you your health was in an unsatisfactory state, and I should be very glad to hear that you are now better.2 I hope that you received a copy of my Book on Expression, which was despatched to you on publication.3 I know that you are so deeply engaged that it is quite likely that you have not found time to read it. If you have, I hope that you will think that I have properly acknowledged the invaluable assistance which I received from you.4 I intended to do so, and nothing would mortify me more than to know that I had failed. With my renewed thanks for your great kindness, I remain

My dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from James Crichton-Browne, 2 March 1873.
The most recent extant letter from Crichton-Browne to CD is that of 18 August 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19). Crichton-Browne’s ill health was mentioned in his letter to CD of 16 February 1871 (ibid.; for more on his health, see Pearn 2010, pp. 170–1).
Crichton-Browne’s name is on CD’s presentation list for Expression (Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix IV).
Crichton-Browne had supplied CD with photographs and observations on the expressions of some inmates of the West Riding Asylum, where he was medical director. In Expression, pp. 13–14, CD acknowledged Crichton-Browne’s assistance; Crichton-Browne is cited frequently in Expression.


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

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.

Pearn, Alison M. 2010. ‘This excellent observer …’: the correspondence between Charles Darwin and James Crichton-Browne, 1869–75. History of Psychiatry 21: 160–75.


Hopes JC-B thinks that CD has properly acknowledged his debt in Expression.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Crichton-Browne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 143: 342
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8792,” accessed on 27 January 2021,

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