RECORD: Green, J. R. 1877. [Recollection of Darwin and Gladstone]. In John Morley, 1903. The life of William Ewart Gladstone. 3 vols. London: Macmillan Co., vol. 2, p. 562.

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared by Kees Rookmaaker, edited by John van Wyhe 11.2010, 5.2022. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. The words attributed to Darwin are given here in bold.

[page] 562

[11 March 1877]

[...] On the Sunday afternoon Sir John Lubbock, our host, took us all up to the hilltop whence in his quiet Kentish village Darwin was shaking the world. The illustrious pair, born in the same year, had never met before. Mr. Gladstone as soon as seated took Darwin's interest in lessons of massacre for granted and launched forth his thunderbolts with unexhausted zest. His great, wise, simple, and truth-loving listener, then, I think, busy with the digestive powers of the Drosera in his green-house, was intensely delighted. When we broke up, watching Mr. Gladstone's erect alert figure as he walked away, Darwin, shading his eyes with his hand against the evening rays, said to me in unaffected satisfaction, "What an honor that such a great man should come to visit me!" Too absorbed in his one overwhelming conflict with the powers of evil, Mr. Gladstone makes no mention of his afternoon call, and only says of the two days that "he found a notable party, and made interesting conversation," and that he could not help liking one of the company, then a stranger to him.

William Gladstone (1809-1898), English prime minister.

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

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