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Letter 7453a

Darwin, C. R. to Mivart, St G. J.

23 Jan [1871]


Acknowledges StGJM’s kind letter. [See 7451.]

Offers to alter the “dogmatic assertion” referred to on page 102 [of StGJM’s On the genesis of species] but in 5th ed. of Origin and in Variation CD finds only qualified expressions.


Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Jan. 23d

My dear Sir

Our letters have crossed. I am very much obliged for the kind onejust received. I am sorry I added the P.S. but I truly thought youwd. be very glad of a fair excuse for not writing to me.—f2

At p. 102 you speak of my dogmatic assertion “that it is a falsebelief” that natural species &c &c.—f3 It sounds very dogmatic,but as I have not hitherto been accused of dogmatism, I shd. be veryglad to alter the expression in any future edition.— I have huntedthrough the most likely places in the 5th Edit of Origin & in twochapters in Variation under Domestication,f4 & I find only the mostguarded expressions, resting chiefly on my failure to find Evidence ofsudden & great changes, & the admission that the conditions of lifemay have produced a considerable effect, especially in book onDomestic animals.— All this makes me very anxious to correct sopositive a statement, unaccompanied, as it appears in your book,with any softening expressions.— So pray oblige me & forgive me fortroubling you.—

I will not positively make any more remarks, & will only again thankyou for the very kind expressions in your note & remain

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Karpeles Manuscript Library Museums



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 January 1871.
CD refers to the letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 January 1871. Hisfirst letter to Mivart of 23 January 1871 has not been found, but see thedraft letter to St G. J. Mivart, [23 January 1871], and the letterfrom St G. J. Mivart, 24 January 1871.
In Mivart 1871a, p. 102, Mivart wrote, ‘Now, considering the numberof instances adduced of sudden modifications in domestic animals, itis somewhat startling to meet with Mr. Darwin’s dogmatic assertionthat it is “a false belief” that natural species have oftenoriginated in the same abrupt manner.’ See also letter to FrancisDarwin, [after 21 January 1871] and n. 2, which relates to a similarclaim by Mivart.
CD refers to Origin 5th ed. and Variation.
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