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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Meehan   19 March [1873]1

Down. | Beckenham Kent. [16 Montague Street, London.]

March 19th.

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your kind letter of March 3rd.— I beg you to thank Professor Cope for his Photograph; which I am glad to possess but I am sorry to say that I never received yours.2 I am writing this away from my home & on my return shall no doubt find your paper on “Old & new”.—3 I have never been able to digest completely your views on sex or vitality or vigour, but the intellectual digestion of the old is always slow & feeble. I shall be particularly glad to see your statements about the color of the flower & sex, and to hear whether you do not meet exceptions to the Rule.— I quite agree with you that there (are) no such real essences in nature as genera,— only more or less broken groups of species—

Wishing you all success in your interesting observations— I remain my dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Thomas Meehan, 3 March 1873.
Meehan had enclosed a photograph of Edward Drinker Cope with his letter of 3 March 1873, his own having been sent separately. CD’s copies of the photographs have not been found.
Meehan had sent a copy of his paper ‘Sexual science’ from the journal Old and New (Meehan 1872a; see letter from Thomas Meehan, 3 March 1873 and n. 7). CD and Emma Darwin had been staying in London since 15 March (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Does not understand TM’s views on sex and vitality.

Agrees no real "essences" in genera, only broken groups of species.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Meehan
Sent from
London, Montague St, 16 Down letterhead
Source of text
DAR 146: 352
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8816,” accessed on 5 December 2020,

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