Darwin to Charles Lyell, 10 April 1860. Letter 2754: Darwin Correspondence Project
In a letter dealing with a number of issues, Darwin ends by noting “a curious thing” about a “Mr Patrick Matthews”:
Now for a curious thing about my Book, & then I have done. In last Saturday Gardeners’ Chronicle, a Mr Patrick Matthews publishes long extract from his work on “Naval Timber & Arboriculture” published in 1831, in which he briefly but completely anticipates the theory of Nat. Selection.– I have ordered the Book, as some few passages are rather obscure but it, is certainly, I think, a complete but not developed anticipation! Erasmus always said that surely this would be shown to be the case someday. Anyhow one may be excused in not having discovered the fact in a work on “Naval Timber”.