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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   15 September [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent

Sept 15th

My dear Huxley

I must just thank you for your three last Lectures which I have read with much interest (& have forwarded to J. Lubbock), & for your magnificent compliment to me.—2 I declare you will turn my head right round. You have given, as it seems to me, a capital account of the Cirripedes. I have been glad to read what you say on the value of the Group; & I daresay you are right; but how difficult, not to say impossible it is to classify the higher groups.3 Take the Crustacea & see what differences in opinion in the half-dozen best judges, without much difference in the facts they go on.

I am, also, particularly obliged for the Lecture on the Nerves: which has struck me as eminently curious & interesting; & all new to me.—4

I suppose you will soon set off for a Holiday or perhaps are gone,5 so I have marked this note not to be forwarded.— I hope Mrs Huxley & the wonderful Baby are well.—6

My dear Huxley | Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Dated by the reference to Huxley’s ‘Lectures’ (see n. 2, below).
CD refers to the published version of a lecture Huxley delivered before the Royal Institution on 15 May 1857 (T. H. Huxley 1857a) and to lectures eleven and twelve from his course on general natural history delivered at the Royal School of Mines (T. H. Huxley 1856–7). The second part of lecture twelve covered the Cirripedia, and in a footnote Huxley praised CD’s monograph, stating: ‘It is one of the most beautiful and complete anatomical and zoological monographs which has appeared in our time’ (T. H. Huxley 1856–7, 15: 238). CD had previously forwarded his copies of successive parts of T. H. Huxley 1856–7 to John Lubbock (see letter to John Lubbock, 23 September [1856]).
Huxley believed that the Cirripedia were closely allied to the Branchiopoda (T. H. Huxley 1856–7, 15: 241). CD believed that the resemblances between cirripedes and higher Crustacea were merely analogical (Correspondence vol. 5, letter to T. H. Huxley, 8 March [1855]).
T. H. Huxley 1857a.
Huxley and John Tyndall had just returned to London after a second visit to the Swiss Alps to continue their researches on the motion of glaciers (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 145–7).
Noel Huxley had been born on 31 December 1856 (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 151).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Huxley, Thomas Henry. 1856–7. Lectures on general natural history. Medical Times & Gazette n.s. 12: 429–32, 481–4, 507–11, 563–7, 618–23; 13: 27–30, 131–4, 157–60, 278–81, 383–6, 462–3, 537–8, 586–8, 635–9; 14: 133–5, 181–3, 255-7, 353–5, 505–8, 638–40; 15: 159–62, 186–9, 238–41, 467-71.


Thanks for three last lectures and the account of cirripedes.

Difficulty of classifying the higher groups.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 137)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2141,” accessed on 16 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6