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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. H. Darwin   [20? August 1874]1

[Bassett, Southampton.]

Thursday night

I have just finished your article & it seems to me very good indeed & I have read it with great interest— I saw only one or two trifling points of arrangement which I think might have been better. Perhaps others may not care so much as I do about the subject, but I shall be surprised if any one, who does care at all, does not like your article much.— You have defended me nobly—2

Yours | C. D.

I like it much too E. D—3


The date is conjectured from the relationship between this letter and the letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, 23 August [1874] (DAR 239.23: 1.21). In this letter, Emma wrote that she had read the manuscript of G. H. Darwin 1874c (see n. 2, below). In 1874 the Thursday before 23 August was 20 August.
George had written an article for the Contemporary Review (G. H. Darwin 1874c), in which he had discussed William Dwight Whitney’s ‘Darwinism and language’ (Whitney 1874), and defended CD’s views on language against the criticism of Friedrich Max Müller (Max Müller 1873). It was published in the November issue; the Darwins must have seen the manuscript or proof-sheets. See also letter to J. T. Knowles, 31 July 1874, and letter from J. T. Knowles, 4 August 1874. On the issues under discussion, see Radick 2008, pp. 19–49.
This sentence was added by Emma Darwin.


Müller, Hermann. 1873. Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten und die gegenseitigen Anpassungen beider. Ein Beitrag zur Erkenntniss des ursächlichen Zusammenhanges in der organischen Natur. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.

Radick, Gregory. 2008. The simian tongue: the long debate about animal language. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Whitney, William Dwight. 1874. Darwinism and language. [Essay review of works by August Schleicher and Friedrich Max Müller.] North American Review 119: 61–88.


Likes GHD’s article ["Professor Whitney on the origin of language", Contemp. Rev. (1874): 894]. "You have defended me nobly."

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George Howard Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 210.1: 38
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9711,” accessed on 16 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22