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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Armand de Quatrefages   27 March [1863]1

Down. | Bromley Kent. S.E.

March 27th.—

Dear Sir

I thank you most cordially for all your great kindness, the trouble which you have taken, & your most obliging note.—2 The specimens, of which you have obtained the promise from M. Martins will be most interesting to me; & ultimately they shall be deposited in the British Museum.3 When I receive them I will write & thank M. Martins.4 The best plan will be, as you propose, to send them by Railway.

I had heard that your work was to be translated & I heard it with pleasure; but I can take no share of credit, for I am not an active, only a honorary, member of the Society.5

Since writing I have finished, with extreme interest to the end, your admirable work on Metamorphosis.6 How well you are acquainted with the works of English Naturalists, & how generously you bestow honour on them. Mr Lubbock is my neighbour & I have known him since he was a little boy: he is in every way a thoroughly good man; as is my friend Huxley.7 It gave me real pleasure to see you notice their works as you have done.—

With sincere respect & cordial thanks for your great kindness to me, I remain | Dear Sir | Yours truly obliged | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Armand de Quatrefages, 25 March 1863.
See letter from Armand de Quatrefages, 25 March 1863 and nn. 4–6. There is no record that CD ever deposited such a collection in the British Museum (British Museum Zoological Accession Books, Natural History Museum). See also n. 4, below.
No letter to Martins has been found.
CD refers to Quatrefages 1861 and to the Anthropological Society of London (see letter from Armand de Quatrefages, 25 March 1863 and n. 8).
CD’s annotated copy of Quatrefages 1862 is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 691).
In his Métamorphoses (Quatrefages 1862), Quatrefages cited works by numerous British naturalists, including CD’s study of cirripides (Living Cirripedia (1854); see Quatrefages 1862, p. 110 n.). Quatrefages repeatedly referred with praise to the work of Thomas Henry Huxley and John Lubbock (see, for example, Quatrefages 1862, pp. 165 n., 166, 170 n., 183, 189 n., 190 n., 258 n., 307 n.). He cited them extensively in his chapter entitled ‘Théorie de la parthénogenèse’, referring to them as ‘deux des savants qui ont jeté le plus de jour sur cette question [two of the scholars who have thrown most light on the question]’ (p. 281). Lubbock spent his youth at the family home of High Elms, about a mile and a half from Down House. CD encouraged his interest in science in the close personal relationship that grew between them.


Living Cirripedia (1854): A monograph of the sub-class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. The Balanidæ (or sessile cirripedes); the Verrucidæ, etc. By Charles Darwin. London: Ray Society. 1854.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Specimens obtained from Charles Martins will be most interesting.

Comments on QdeB’s book [Physiologie comparée (1862)].

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4437,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

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