RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1860. Natural selection. Gardeners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette no. 16 (21 April): 362-363.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 2002-8. RN2

[page] 362

Natural Selection.—I have been much interested by Mr. Patrick Matthew's communication in the Number of your Paper, dated April 7th. I freely acknowledge that Mr. Matthew has anticipated by many years the explanation which I have offered of the origin of species, under the name of natural selection. I think

[page] 363

that no one will feel surprised that neither I, nor apparently any other naturalist, had heard of Mr. Matthew's views, considering how briefly they are given, and that they appeared in the appendix to a work on Naval Timber and Arboriculture. I can do no more than offer my apologies to Mr. Matthew for my entire ignorance of his publication. If another edition of my work is called for, I will insert a notice to the foregoing effect. Charles Darwin, Down, Bromley, Kent.1

1 This is Darwin's reply to the letter written by the Scottish author on political and agricultural subjects, Patrick Matthew (1790-1874), in the Gardeners' Chronicle (Matthew 1860) in which Matthew claimed to have preceded Darwin as the discoverer of natural selection in the appendix to Matthew 1831. Darwin later included Matthew among his predecessors in the 'Historical sketch' published in the third and later editions of the Origin. See Correspondence vol. 8, p. 156.

This document has been accessed 6859 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 2 July, 2012