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The book was edited by Charles Darwin's son Francis Darwin, who removed several passages about Darwin's critical views of God and Christianity see Charles Darwin's views on religion. It was published in London by John Murray as part of The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. The omitted passages were later restored by Darwin's granddaughter Nora Barlow in a edition to commemorate the th anniversary of the publication of The Origin.


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With the original omissions restored. Edited and with appendix and notes by his granddaughter Nora Barlow. The original is in the public domain as its copyright has expired, but the later version remains under copyright. Summary by Wikipedia.

Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol 1

I have not followed the originals as regards the spelling of names, the use of capitals, or in the matter of punctuation. My father underlined many words in his letters; these have not always been given in italics,--a rendering which would unfairly exaggerate their effect. The Diary or Pocket-book, from which quotations occur in the following pages, has been of value as supplying a frame-work of facts round which letters may be grouped. It is unfortunately written with great brevity, the history of a year being compressed into a page or less; and contains little more than the dates of the principal events of his life, together with entries as to his work, and as to the duration of his more serious illnesses.

He rarely dated his letters, so that but for the Diary it would have been all but impossible to unravel the history of his books. It has also enabled me to assign dates to many letters which would otherwise have been shorn of half their value. Of letters addressed to my father I have not made much use.


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It was his custom to file all letters received, and when his slender stock of files "spits" as he called them was exhausted, he would burn the letters of several years, in order that he might make use of the liberated "spits. After that date he was persuaded to keep the more interesting letters, and these are preserved in an accessible form.


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  4. I have attempted to give, in Chapter III. During the last eight years of his life I acted as his assistant, and thus had an opportunity of knowing something of his habits and methods. I have received much help from my friends in the course of my work.

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    To some I am indebted for reminiscences of my father, to others for information, criticisms, and advice. To all these kind coadjutors I gladly acknowledge my indebtedness. The names of some occur in connection with their contributions, but I do not name those to whom I am indebted for criticisms or corrections, because I should wish to bear alone the load of my short-comings, rather than to let any of it fall on those who have done their best to lighten it.

    The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (audiobook)

    It will be seen how largely I am indebted to Sir Joseph Hooker for the means of illustrating my father's life. The readers of these pages will, I think, be grateful to Sir Joseph for the care with which he has preserved his valuable collection of letters, and I should wish to add my acknowledgment of the generosity with which he has placed it at my disposal, and for the kindly encouragement given throughout my work. To Mr.