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Letters in the Gardeners’ Chronicle (1860)


Following the publication of On the Origin of Species in November 1859, Matthew read Thomas Huxley’s review of the book in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette (3 March 1860, pp.192-193, reproduced from the Times, 26 December 1859). This prompted Matthew to write a long letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle, quoting excerpts from his 1831 book On Naval Timber and Arboriculture in order to point out that he had also proposed natural selection as a mechanism for macroevolution 29 years previously. Darwin replied acknowledging Matthew’s claim. Matthew then wrote again, noting Darwin’s “honourable” acknowledgement and providing additional comments on his version of natural selection, including insights into why he had not developed the idea any further.

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