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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   [11 or 18 May 1871]1

Bassett, Southampton.


My dear Huxley

My son W. E. Darwin wants very much to hear your lecture; your number of tickets may be limited, but if you possibly can, pray leave an order at the door for his admission.2 I think Bence Jones wd grant this favour, as he sends me an annual ticket which I do not use—3

Perhaps the best plan will be to send a ticket (if you can) to No 6. Queen Anne St. Cavendish Sqre.4

ever yours | Ch Darwin E. D’s idea | Ch Darwin HED’s forgery | Ch. Darwin | The real, elegant ticket5


The dates are established by the return address and the dates of Huxley’s lectures at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. CD’s first visit to William Erasmus Darwin in Bassett was in August 1870. By the time of CD’s visit to Bassett in June 1872, Henry Bence Jones had retired as secretary of the Royal Institution. Within this time frame, the only Thursdays when CD was in Bassett that correspond with dates of Huxley’s lectures are 11 and 18 May 1871 (see n. 2, below).
Huxley lectured at the Royal Institution on two consecutive Fridays in May 1871. The first lecture, delivered on 12 May, was ‘Berkeley on vision’; the second lecture, delivered on 19 May, was ‘Metaphysics of sensation’ (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 356). A published version of the lectures, ‘Bishop Berkeley on the metaphysics of sensation’, appeared in Macmillan’s Magazine, June 1871 (T. H. Huxley 1871b).
Bence Jones was secretary of the Royal Institution (ODNB).
The address is that of CD’s brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin.
The first two signatures were made by Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin.


Asks for a ticket for THH’s lecture at the Royal Institution for WED. With ED’s and HED’s forgeries of CD’s signature.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Bassett, Southampton
Source of text
Janet Huxley (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6541F,” accessed on 28 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)