RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1874. [Letter to D. T. Gardner on Humboldt] In New York Times (15 September): 6.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by John van Wyhe. RN1

NOTE: See Correspondence of Charles Darwin vol. 22, p. 422.

[page] 6

I am glad to hear that your club intends to celebrate the anniversary of the birth­day of the illustrious and revered Humboldt. I have always looked on him as one of the greatest men the world has ever produced. He gave a wonderful impetus to science by showing what could be done by observation during prolonged intervals. No one, I suppose, ever started an expedition so well prepared by previous study, and success in observation no doubt depends not so much upon what a man can say as what he knows. If I may be permitted to refer to a personal point, I owe to Humboldt especial gratitude, as I once told him, for my admiration of his famous personal narrative (part of which I almost know by heart) determined me to travel in distant countries, and led me to volunteer as naturalist in her Majesty's ship Beagle in her circumnavigation of the world. With my hope that your anniversary may pass off pleasantly I am, &c., CHARLES DARWIN.

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

File last updated 11 December, 2018