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Letter 8145

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

5 Jan 1872


Feels that StGJM’s review of Descent [Q. Rev. 131 (1871): 47–90] greatly misrepresents CD’s opinions and conclusions. Feels their differences of opinion are so great that discussion of almost any subject would be a waste of both their time.


Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 5. 1872

My dear Sir

I am sorry that you have had the trouble of sending me a copyof your article, as I had already procured the Review.f1

I am obliged to you for the opinion which you express about me;but I consider that you have greatly misrepresented my views &conclusions; & I hope I am not quite so bigotted a person as I ammade to appear in the Quarterly Review.f2 We however differ socompletely in our opinion of what is reasonable & just that itwd be waste of time on both sides for us to discuss almost anysubject. Time will decide which of us is in the right.

Dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Natural History Museum (Kohler)



See letter from St G. J. Mivart, 4 January 1872 and n. 1. CD refersto Mivart 1872a and the Contemporary Review.
In Mivart 1872a, p. 173, Mivart wrote,I have ever entertained, and shall continue to entertain for thatamiable gentleman and most accomplished naturalist the warmestsentiments of esteem and regard. Convinced as I am that he is actuatedby a pure love of truth, admiring, nay, venerating him for his acute,his unwearied and widely-extended researches, it has been to me a mostpainful task to stand forth as his avowed and public opponent.Mivart had written an anonymous review of Descent in the QuarterlyReview ([Mivart] 1871c). Mivart’s authorship was suspected (seeCorrespondence vol. 19, letter to A. R. Wallace, 12 July [1871]), and is confirmed by the Wellesley index.
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