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Letter 7145

Darwin, C. R. to Cobbe, F. P.

23 Mar [1870?]


Has read and enjoyed the Kant that FPC sent.

Returns P. C. Despine [?Psychologie naturelle (1868)].


Down Beckenham | Kent.

Mar 23.

My dear Miss Cobbe

It was very good of you to send me nolens volens Kant, together withthe other book.f2 I have been extremely glad to look through the former.It has interested me much to see how differently two men may look atthe same points, though I fully feel how presumptuous it sounds to putmyself even for a moment in the same bracket with Kant;—the one mana great philosopher looking exclusively into his own mind, the othera degraded wretch looking from the outside thro’ apes & savages at themoral sense of mankind.

I have glanced thro’ the cut pages of Despine, but he appears to me farfrom being an original & vigorous thinker, but many of his facts aboutcriminals seem very curious.

The book shall be sent to London by our carrier tonight, & thence toyou by Parcels Del. Co.f3

With sincere thanks | pray believe me | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens,San Marino (CB 385)



The year is conjectured from the fact that CD met Cobbe inWales in July 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter toJ. D. Hooker, 8 July [1869], and Cobbe 1904, pp. 485–7). According toCobbe, she had met CD before that visit, but her description of thesequence of events suggests that this letter was written in 1870.
Cobbe may have sent CD Immanuel Kant’s Metaphysics of ethics(Kant 1836). Cobbe had recommended the book to him and offered to lendhim a translation in Wales in July 1869; he had declined it, but she sent it anyway (Cobbe 1904,p. 487). CD cited this work in Descent 1: 70–1 and n. 3. The‘other book’ was probably Prosper Despine’s Psychologie naturelle(Despine 1868). CD mentioned this book in Descent 1: 92 n. 22.
In 1870, 23 March was a Wednesday; the carrier service to Londonleft Down at 2 a.m. on Thursday (Post Office directory of the sixhome counties 1870). CD also refers to the London Parcels DeliveryCompany.
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