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Letter 7124

Darwin, C. R. to Darwin, H. E.

[8 Feb 1870]


Sends MS [of chs. 3 and 4, “Comparison of the mental powers of man and the lower animals”, Descent] to HED for her criticism. CD fears parts are too much like a sermon; “who wd ever have thought I shd turn parson?”


My dear H.

Please read the Ch. first right through without a pencil in yourhand, that you may judge of general scheme; as, also, I particularlywish to know whether parts are extra tedious; but remember that M.Sis always much more tedious than print.— The object of Ch.is simply comparison of mind in men & animals: in the next chapt. Idiscuss progress of morals &c.— Some sentences are at back ofPage marked thus @.—f2

I do not send foot-notes, as I have no copy & they are almost whollymere authorities.— After reading once right through, the more time you cangive up for deep criticism or corrections of style, the more gratefulI shall be.— Please make any long corrections on separate slips ofpaper, leaving narrow blank edge, & pin them to margin of eachsheet, so that I can turn each back, & read whilst still attachedto its proper page.— This will save me a world of troubles  Heaven only knows what you will think of the whole, for I cannotconjecture.— You are a very good girl indeed to undertake the job.—

Your affect Father | C. Darwin

(I suspect that here & there style will want a good deal of improvement,though I hope greater part fair.—)

(I fear parts are too like a Sermon: who wd ever have thought that Ishd. turn parson?)

British Library Board (Add 58373 ff. 1–2)



The date is established by the relationship between this letter anda letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] (DAR219.9: 72), in which Emma says she is enclosing a letter from CD.
Henrietta had been reading parts of the manuscript of Descent atleast since she left England in January 1870 (letter from Emma Darwinto H. E. Darwin, [18 January 1870] (DAR 219.9: 69)). With this letterCD had presumably sent the second chapter on the comparison of themental powers of humans and animals (Descent 1: 70–106). Henrietta was on holiday inFrance and Italy (see letter to W. D. Fox, 18 February [1870] andn. 10). She had also read the proof-sheets ofVariation (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter to H. E. Darwin, 26 July [1867]).
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