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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Hugh Falconer   20 [January 1863]1



My dear Falconer

It was really very good of you to tell me of the jaw.2 What a strange accident if a fish’s jaw has got there; but if it belongs to the Archæopteryx, it will surely show some great peculiarity.3 I hope it may belong to it. Already a German author has advanced the case as a grand argument in favour of the “Origin”.4 Has God demented Owen, as a punishment for his crimes, that he should overlook such a point?5 I hope to be in London on the first week in February and to nothing do I look forward with more pleasure than seeing you.6

I have a pile of letters to answer so farewell my good old friend. | C. Darwin.


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Hugh Falconer, 18 January [1863].
Friedrich Rolle discussed the relevance of Archaeopteryx to Origin in the postscript to Rolle 1863, p. 263. There is an annotated copy of Rolle 1863 in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Richard Owen. See n. 2, above.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), CD, Emma, Henrietta, and Horace Darwin stayed in London from 4 to 14 February 1863. See ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 11, Appendix II). See also letter from E. A. Darwin, 21 [January 1863].


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

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.

Rolle, Friedrich. 1863. Chs. Darwin’s Lehre von der Entstehung der Arten im Pflanzen- und Thierreich in ihrer Anwendung auf die Schöpfungsgeschichte. Frankfurt: J. C. Hermann.


If jaw belongs to Archaeopteryx, it will show great peculiarity. A German author has advanced the case as argument for Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Hugh Falconer
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 144: 30
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3928,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11