skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   15 May 1862

Lamas, | Chiselhurst. | S.E.

15 May 62 | Evening

My dear Mr. Darwin

Many thanks for your Orchis book which I have received this afternoon.1 I have already read 50 pages; they are almost as good as animals, & it will be a great treat to me.

Prestwich & Evans & I had a delightful trip in the French valleys, & I am writing an account of the Somme implements for our next number.2 You are I hope pretty well & all your party. I have heard nothing of any of you for ever so long, & am anxious to know how Horace has been getting on.3 The big book will no doubt go on again now the Orchise’s are over.4 I must write to Oliver to get a review of them for our next number; he is doing one on Dimorphism, & it is sure to be good, but perhaps a little heavy.5 Sir Charles Lyell is they say not coming out till Autumn, but of course you know all about that.6

Hoping to see you soon & with kindest regards to Mrs. Darwin believe me | Yours very affectely | John Lubbock

C Darwin Esq


Lubbock’s name is on the presentation list CD drew up for Orchids (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix IV).
Lubbock refers to Joseph Prestwich and John Evans with whom he had travelled to France in April 1862 to investigate the sites in the Somme valley, near Amiens, at which alleged prehistoric implements had been found (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 56; Prestwich 1899, p. 170). Lubbock’s essay ‘On the evidence of the antiquity of man, afforded by the physical structure of the Somme valley’ (Lubbock 1862c), was published in the July 1862 number of the Natural History Review; Lubbock was one of the journal’s editors.
Horace Darwin had been ill since the beginning of the year (see Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
The reference is to CD’s plan to complete an extended account of his views on species; the only part of the projected three-volume work to be published in CD’s lifetime was Variation, which appeared in 1868.
Daniel Oliver’s review of ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula was published in the July 1862 number of the Natural History Review ([Oliver] 1862c); an anonymous review of Orchids appeared in the October number, but it was written by Joseph Dalton Hooker ([J. D. Hooker 1862d]; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 November 1862 and nn. 6 and 7). See also letter to Daniel Oliver, 13 October [1862] and n. 8.
Charles Lyell was preparing Antiquity of man (C. Lyell 1863a). John Murray, the publisher of both Orchids and Antiquity of man, had expected the volumes to be published at about the same time (see letter from John Murray, 30 January [1862]). In the event, Antiquity of man was not published until 6 February 1863 (C. Lyell 1863b, p. vii).


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

‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’: On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. By Charles Darwin. [Read 21 November 1861.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 77–96. [Collected papers 2: 45–63.]

Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.

Prestwich, Grace Anne, ed. 1899. Life and letters of Sir Joseph Prestwich. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for Orchids.

"The big book [Variation] will no doubt go on again now."

JL is writing on Somme implements ["Evidence of antiquity of man", Nat. Hist. Rev. n.s. 2 (1862): 244–69].

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Lamas, Chislehurst
Source of text
DAR 170.1: 30
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3549,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10