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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   14 April [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 14th

My dear Huxley

Many thanks for your kind & pleasant letter. I have been much interested by Deep Sea Soundings & will return it by this Post or soon as soon as I have copied a few sentences.—2 I see Dayman thinks the deposit thin & that it was penetrated by the Plunger.3 It ought to have been stated by him whether any of the fragments of rock seemed as if recently broken off.— I think you said that some one was investigating the Soundings. I earnestly hope that you will ask the someone to carefully observe, whether any considerable number of the calcareous organisms are more or less friable, or corroded, or scaling    So that one might form some crude notion whether the deposition is so rapid that the foraminifera are preserved from decay & thus are forming strata at this profound depth. This is a subject which seems to me to have been much neglected in examining soundings.—

Bronn has sent me 2 copies of his “Morphologische Studien über die Gestaltungs Gesetze”.4 It looks elementary. If you will write you shall have the copy; if not, I will give it to Linnean Library

Yours Most sincerely | C. Darwin

I quite agree with letter from Lyell that your extinguished Theologians laying about the cradle of each new science &c &c is splendid 5


Dated by the reference to [T. H. Huxley] 1860b.
Huxley had contributed an account of the deposits of the sea-bed to a report on an Admiralty survey of deep-sea soundings in the North Atlantic (T. H. Huxley 1858).
Joseph Dayman was lieutenant-commander of the Cyclops, commissioned for the survey. He was the author of the Admiralty report.
The letter from Charles Lyell has not been found. The reference is to a passage in Huxley’s anonymous review of Origin in the Westminster Review: ‘Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes besides that of Hercules.’ ([T. H. Huxley] 1860b, p. 556).


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


On THH’s "Deep-sea soundings in the North Atlantic" ["Report on the examination of specimens of bottom" in Deep-sea soundings made in H.M.S. "Cyclops", Lieut. Commander J. Dayman (1858)]. Suggests further investigations be made of deposits of calcareous organisms.

THH’s "extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science" ["The origin of species", Westminster Rev. 17 (1860): 541–70].

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: 115)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2760,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8