skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From William Hepworth Dixon   16 April 1863

Athenæum Office, | 20, Wellington Street, Strand, W.C.

April 16 1863

Dear Sir

The extreme pressure of Scientific Controversy enduces me to think that your note will appear with a clearer field & better effect next week1—in which opinion, I hope, when you see the Athm. of Saturday, you will agree.2 Sir C Lyell takes nearly six columns to reply to Dr. Falconer,3—& Dr. Carpenter has a letter on the Strange discovery, so interesting to you, at abbeville.4 Carpenter has been over to Abbeville & has seen the jaw & the bed in which it was discovered5

Very truly Yours | W. Hepworth Dixon


CD’s letter to the Athenæum, 18 April [1863], appeared in the issue of 25 April; he evidently sent it to Dixon before 16 April. Dixon was editor of the Athenæum.
Dixon refers to the issue of the Athenæum of 18 April 1863.
Charles Lyell’s letter to the Athenæum, 18 April 1863, pp. 523–5, was a response to Hugh Falconer’s attack in the Athenæum of 4 April 1863, pp. 459–60. Falconer had criticised Lyell’s Antiquity of man for not sufficiently acknowledging research by Joseph Prestwich and himself on the precise dating of sediments and caves where human relics had been found in France and Britain (C. Lyell 1863a). See letter from John Lubbock, 7 April 1863 and n. 6.
William Benjamin Carpenter’s letter to the Athenæum, 18 April 1863, p. 523, described the discovery on 28 March 1863 of a fossil human jawbone in the Moulin-Quignon gravel pit near Abbeville, France, by the archaeologist Jacques Boucher de Perthes.
Carpenter examined the jaw himself on 13 April 1863; on the following day he visited the Moulin-Quignon gravel pit with Boucher de Perthes (Athenæum, 18 April 1863, p. 523). See also Grayson 1985, pp. 213–17 and Van Riper 1993, pp. 134–9.


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Grayson, Donald K. 1985. The first three editions of Charles Lyell’s The geological evidences of the antiquity of man. Archives of Natural History 13: 105–21.

Van Riper, A. Bowdoin. 1993. Men among the mammoths: Victorian science and the discovery of human prehistory. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.


Thinks CD’s letter ["The doctrine of heterogeny", Collected papers 2: 78–80] will appear "with a clearer field and to better effect" if delayed a week, since next issue [of Athenæum] has Lyell’s reply to Hugh Falconer, and W. B. Carpenter’s report on the Abbéville jaw.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Hepworth Dixon
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Athenæum Office
Source of text
DAR 162: 186
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4102,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

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