skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   9 December [1867]1

15, Lombard Street. E.C.

9 Dec.

My dear Mr. Darwin

You will find the passage in P. 6 of Prehistoric Times. It is a very remarkable statement, & something like his prophetic allusion to the dark rays of light which Tyndall has quoted.2

As to the Humble Bees they would if once landed in Australia probably destroy some native insect & I wish Mr. Wilson would leave the Australian fauna alone.3

I will not forget the clubs.4

Believe me | Yours most sincerely | John Lubbock


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Edward Wilson, 7 December 1867.
Lubbock refers to a quotation from Lucretius about the successive use of stone and wood, then bronze and iron, as weapons, given in his book Pre-historic times (Lubbock 1865, p. 6). He also refers to Lucretius’s speculation that the sun produced invisible radiation, which was quoted by John Tyndall in ‘On calorescence’ (Tyndall 1865, p. 1).
Lubbock refers to the Down Friendly Club and the Down Coal and Clothing Club, of which CD was treasurer (Freeman 1978). The Down Friendly Club was a local savings and insurance society; the Coal and Clothing Club supplied parishioners with inexpensive coal and clothes in exchange for regular savings. In his Down Coal and Clothing Club account book (Down House MS), CD recorded a contribution of £2 from John and Ellen Frances Lubbock in December 1867. On CD’s involvement in local charities, see Browne 2002, pp. 452–4.


Browne, Janet. 2002. Charles Darwin. The power of place. Volume II of a biography. London: Pimlico.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Tyndall, John. 1865. On calorescence. [Read 23 November 1865.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 156 (1866): 1–24.


Introduction of humble-bees into Australia.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Lombard St, 15
Source of text
DAR 170: 60
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5716,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15