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To P. L. Sclater   22 May [1860–81]


CD has signed the enclosed with great pleasure.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Philip Lutley Sclater
Date:  22 May [1860-81]
Classmark:  John Wilson (dealer) (1987)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13839A

To Cottage Gardener   [after 8 May 1860]


Inquires whether "a Devonshire Bee-keeper" [T. W. Woodbury] who reported a common drone entering a hive of Ligurian bees [Cottage Gard. 24 (1860): 94] believes, with Andrew Knight, that queen bees are seldom fertilised by their own blood-relations. Asks how far a hive of common bees was from that of the Ligurians.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Cottage Gardener
Date:  [after 8 May 1860]
Classmark:  Cottage Gardener 24 (1860): 143
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2777

From B. P. Brent   [May–June 1860?]


Cannot supply a case of atavism in canaries.

Will lend CD back issues of Cottage Gardener.

Cites case of bird (tumbler hen) laying egg in another’s nest.

Author:  Bernard Peirce Brent
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [May–June 1860?]
Classmark:  DAR 160.3: 297
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2778

To Roderick Impey Murchison   1 May [1860]


Much obliged for note from Alexander von Keyserling. Geologist going one inch with CD more important than naturalist going two or three.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st baronet
Date:  1 May [1860]
Classmark:  The British Library (Surrogate RP 7400)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2779

From Charles Lyell   2 May 1860


It is small comfort to be told you will be succeeded in lineal descent by angels when Lamarck and Darwin have made your ancestors without souls. However, can the progressive system not be seen as most consonant with a higher destiny if all spiritual natures advance? The link of common descent to inferior beings like idiots should be obvious. Infants die before they become responsible. Pope’s An essay on Man [1733] shows how man was "In doubt to deem himself a God or Beast", without speculation on his genealogy.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 May 1860
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS, Charles Lyell’s journal V, pp. 176–9
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2779A

From Andrew Murray   3 May 1860



Responds to CD’s comments on his review of the Origin. Regrets lack of space often causes him to do injustice to CD and to himself. Agrees to alter some of his statements

and offers some evidence for his opinions on plant hybridising.

Sends references to papers mentioning cave insects. Paussi are not blind, as CD thinks, though some other insects that live in ants’ nests are. Each country over the world has its peculiar species of Paussi, though they all live in ants’ nests. "Physical condition I say – Natural Selection you say".

Author:  Andrew Dickson (Andrew) Murray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 47: 153–153a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2780

From Henry Doubleday   3 May 1860


Has read Origin with pleasure.

Has performed many experiments which confirm his opinion that primrose, oxlip, and cowslip are three distinct species.

Author:  Henry Doubleday
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 162.2: 237
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2781

To Charles Lyell   4 May [1860]


Is sending CL an arrow-head. Says John Lubbock tells of vast numbers of flint tools in peat in France. Urges CL to conduct further research on the subject.

Comments on paper by J. S. Newberry concerning palaeozoic deposits in America [Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 29 (1860): 208–18]

and on A. von Keyserling’s view of species change.

Mentions J. W. Salter’s chart arranging Spirifer.

Comments on Andrew Murray’s paper on the Origin ["On Mr Darwin’s theory of the origin of species", Proc. R. Soc. Edinburgh 4 (1860): 274–91].

A Manchester newspaper article says CD has proved "might is right".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  4 May [1860]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.210)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2782

From J. S. Henslow   5 May 1860



Reports to CD on what he has found out about Elodea growing near Cambridge.

Sedgwick is speaking at [Cambridge] Philosophical Society on CD’s "supposed errors" [Camb. Herald & Huntingdonshire Gaz. 19 May 1860, pp. 3–4].

JSH wonders how Owen can be so savage toward CD’s views when his own are "to a certain extent of the same character".

Author:  John Stevens Henslow
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 186: 47
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2783

To Andrew Murray   5 May [1860]


Thanks for AM’s kindness.

CD did not understand him about "prepotency".

With respect to cave animals CD believes that on reflection AM will admit "that on creation doctrine, there has been surprising diversity for such similar habitation".

Has heard from A. von Keyserling who "makes no difficulty about imperfection of Geological Record".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Andrew Dickson (Andrew) Murray
Date:  5 May [1860]
Classmark:  R. D. Pyrah
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2784

To J. D. Hooker   7 May [1860]



To understand Leschenaultia pollination CD requires field observations in the native country.

Has observed two forms of cowslips, which he calls male and female. The same two forms are found in primroses.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  7 May [1860]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 52
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2785

To T. H. Huxley   7 May [1860]


Observations on changes in physical proportions of pigeons.

The Saturday Review of 5 May has a defence of CD and THH by "a jolly good fellow".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  7 May [1860]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 117)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2786

From Charles Lyell   7 May 1860



Saw Salter’s Spirifer specimens; a very good proof of indefinite modifiability.

Beginning to think gap between Cambrian and Lower Silurian enormous.

Édouard Lartet to give paper before Geological Society ["On coexistence of man with certain extinct quadrupeds", Q. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 16 (1859–60): 471–5].

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 205.9: 396
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2787

To Charles Lyell   8 [May 1860]


Did not know about separation between Silurian and Cambrian.

Cannot attend Geological Society meeting.

Etty [Henrietta Darwin] ill.

Sedgwick in his attack at Cambridge Philosophical Society states "there must be [on CD’s theory] large genera not varying".

Discusses migration of plants and animals from Old World to New.

Views of Asa Gray on Aster.

Mentions flora of coal period.

Has been elected to Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  8 [May 1860]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.211)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2788

To Thomas Stewardson   8 May 1860


Acknowledges his election as Correspondent of Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Stewardson; secretary of Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
Date:  8 May 1860
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2789

To W. B. Tegetmeier   8 May [1860]


Thanks WBT for observations on colours of newly-hatched pigeons of different breeds. Asks if breeders have noticed any differences in lengths of time eggs were incubated in different breeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  8 May [1860]
Classmark:  Yale University: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale Collection of American Literature: De Forest Family Papers (YCAL MSS 582) Box 2, folder 58, item 82
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2790

To J. S. Henslow   8 May [1860]


Comments on Richard Owen’s review of the Origin [in Edinburgh Rev. 111 (1860): 487–532]. Considers Owen unfair to CD and most ungenerous toward Hooker.

Expects Sedgwick to be fierce against him. Sedgwick also misrepresented CD in his Spectator review [24 Mar and 7 Apr 1860].

Compares natural selection to the undulatory theory of light as a hypothesis explaining a large number of facts.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  8 May [1860]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A67–9
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2791

From William Masters   8 May 1860



Observations on hybrids from crossed cabbage varieties.

Author:  William Masters
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 76 (ser. 2): 166–7
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2792

From H. C. Watson   10 May 1860



Returns reviews of Origin.

F. J. Pictet [Arch. Sci. Phys. & Nat. n.s. 7 (1860): 231–55] goes further than he himself realises.

Naturalists will resist CD’s views until faith in certain "impassable" barriers between existent species is shaken.

Gives CD an instance of convergence.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 May 1860
Classmark:  DAR 47: 160–1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2793

From J. S. Henslow to J. D. Hooker   10 May 1860


Describes Sedgwick’s attack on CD’s views [at Cambridge Philosophical Society] and his own defence, though he believes CD has pressed his hypothesis too far.

Author:  John Stevens Henslow
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  10 May 1860
Classmark:  R. A. Hooker
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2794
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Charles Harrison Blackley


You may not have heard of Charles Harrison Blackley (1820–1900), but if you are one of the 15 million people in the UK who suffer from hay fever, you are indebted to him. For it was he who identified pollen as the cause of the allergy. Darwin was…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Aestivus (hay-fever or hay-asthma). And on   5 July 1873 Darwin wrote again, saying:  ‘The …
  • … blown in every direction. (Letter to C. H. Blackley, 5 July [1873] ) Blackley …
  • … Praya in his Journal of researches (2nd edition, p. 5). Darwin gave a further example of how …

Darwin and Down


Charles and Emma Darwin, with their first two children, settled at Down House in the village of Down (later ‘Downe’) in Kent, as a young family in 1842.   The house came with eighteen acres of land, and a fifteen acre meadow.  The village combined the…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … and the struggle for existence: To J. D. Hooker,  5 June [1855] : Darwin describes the …
  • … for existence in his own weed garden. To Asa Gray,  5 September [1857] : setting out his …

Darwin in letters, 1872: Job done?


'My career’, Darwin wrote towards the end of 1872, 'is so nearly closed. . .  What little more I can do, shall be chiefly new work’, and the tenor of his correspondence throughout the year is one of wistful reminiscence, coupled with a keen eye…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … appear’, complained Darwin ( letter to St G. J. Mivart, 5 January 1872 ). Piqued, Mivart flung …
  • … accepted it at least in part ( letter to August Weismann, 5 April 1872 ). ‘I wanted some …
  • … to believe it’ ( letter to Herman Müller, [before 5 May 1872] ).  Müller had sent him a …
  • … myself was standing’ ( letter to Hermann Müller, [before 5 May 1872] ). Finishing  …
  • … to me, which have ever been made’ ( letter to Mary Treat, 5 January 1872 ). In June, Lady …

Darwin's Fantastical Voyage


Learn about Darwin's adventures on his epic journey.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … These activities explore Darwin’s life changing voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Using letters home, …

Detecting Darwin


Who was Charles Darwin? What is he famous for? Why is he still important?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Pupils act as Darwin detectives, exploring clues about Darwin’s life and work. No prior knowledge …

Language: Interview with Gregory Radick


Darwin made a famous comment about parallels between changes in language and species change. Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University, talks about the importance of the development of language to Darwin, what…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … of the Fuegians and Fuegian language? 5. What is the impact of Darwin’s writings …
  • … the correspondence shows just really didn’t happen. 5. What is the impact of Darwin’s …

Darwin’s queries on expression


When Darwin resumed systematic research on emotions around 1866, he began to collect observations more widely and composed a list of queries on human expression. A number of handwritten copies were sent out in 1867 (see, for example, letter to Fritz Muller…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Bowman, William 5 Aug 1867 5 Clifford St, London, …
  • … Hooker, J.D. 5 Sept 1868 Kew, London (about Nagasaki …

List of correspondents


Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. Click on a name to see the letters Darwin exchanged with that correspondent.    "A child of God" (1) Abberley,…

Matches: 20 hits

  • … (1) Austen, J. T. (5) Austin, A. D. …
  • … H. (7) Ball, John (5) Ball, Robert …
  • … (1) Beaufort, Francis (5) Becher, A. B. …
  • … (8) Beneden, Édouard van (5) Bennet, C. A. (b) …
  • … (1) Birch, Samuel (5) Birkett, Thomas …
  • … (2) Boner, Charles (5) Bonham-Carter, Alice …
  • … (2) Bookseller. (5) Boole, M. E. (3) …
  • … (29) Brace, C. L. (5) Bradfield, Thomas …
  • … (3) Canby, W. M. (5) Candolle, Alphonse de …
  • … Carneri, Bartholomäus von (5) Carpenter, W. B. (19) …
  • … (3) Clark, Andrew (5) Clark, J. W. (a) …
  • … (2) Collingwood, Cuthbert (5) Colvile, J. W. …
  • … (1) Cross, George (5) Cross, R. A. …
  • … (4) Crotch, W. D. (5) Crowe, J. R. …
  • … (1) Dew-Smith, A. G. (5) Dicey, A. V. …
  • … (2) Doedes, N. D. (5) Dohrn, Anton …
  • … (3) Drummond, James (a) (5) Drysdale, …
  • … (3) Edmondston, Laurence (5) Edwards & …
  • … (1) Edwards, Henry (5) Edwards, W. H. …
  • … (3) Forchhammer, J. G. (5) Ford, G. H. …

Darwin in letters, 1863: Quarrels at home, honours abroad


At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … as he put it in a letter to J. D. Hooker of 24[–5] February [1863] . When Huxley’s book described …
  • … mentor had not said a word ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 24[–5] February [1863] ). Darwin did …
  • … for a fitting opportunity’ ( letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863] ). …
  • … been filled in the fossil record ( letter to Hugh Falconer, 5 [and 6] January [1863] ). Only until …
  • … the  Athenæum  in response ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 March [1863] ). He later expressed …
  • … honours like the Copley Medal ( see letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 [December 1863] ). Plants and …
  • … reminder of their loss (see  Correspondence  vol. 5). Unable to find Annie’s gravestone in 1863, …

Have you read the one about....


... the atheistical cats, or the old fogies in Cambridge? We've suggested a few - some funny, some serious - but all letters you can read here.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … ... the atheistical cats, or the old fogies in Cambridge? We've suggested a few - some funny, some …

Rewriting Origin - the later editions


For such an iconic work, the text of Origin was far from static. It was a living thing that Darwin continued to shape for the rest of his life, refining his ‘one long argument’ through a further five English editions.  Many of his changes were made in…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … 1865 4 th English edition published, 1866 5 th English edition published, 1869 …
  • … Joseph Hooker on the Arctic.   4 th to 5 th edition I have, …
  • … von Nägeli, resulting in a substantial addition ( Origin 5 th ed, pp 151–3).   Nägeli had …
  • … of significant correspondents.   5 th to 6 th edition …
  • … French edition which had already begun using the text of the 5 th English edition but had fallen …

Darwin’s hothouse and lists of hothouse plants


Darwin became increasingly involved in botanical experiments in the years after the publication of Origin. The building of a small hothouse - a heated greenhouse - early in 1863  greatly increased the range of plants that he could keep for scientific…

Matches: 14 hits

  • … account book (Down House MS) and  Correspondence  vol. 5, letter to J. D. Hooker, 19 April [1855 …
  • … beauty in each leaf’ (letter to J. D. Hooker, 24[–5] February [1863] ). Darwin’s aesthetic …
  • … to which they belonged. In his letter to Hooker of 5 March [1863] , he announced that the plants …
  • … by Darwin; these lists are in DAR 255: 8 and DAR 255: 2–5. The first is a list that Darwin …
  • … plants sent to him by Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 March [1863] ), since many of the …
  • … to Darwin from Kew. Darwin said in the letter to Hooker of 5 March [1863] that he had received …
  • …   Malpighia urens 5       …
  • …     ——  speciosa 5 do. do. …
  • … § Gongora atropurpurea 5   § Cyrtopodium Andersonii …
  • …   § ——  maculata 5   ——  punctata 10 …
  • …   Anoectochilus argenteus  12 5 s . § …
  • … curassavica. 4.  Canna Warszewiczii. 5.  ‘speciosa’ deleted in pencil. 6.  This …
  • … 1863a, p. 10. See also letter to J. D. Hooker, 24[–5] February [1863] and n. 19. 9. …
  • … aurantiaca 12.  ‘Anoectochilus argenteus 5 s .’ deleted in ink. 13.  ‘—— pictus 8 …

Abstract of Darwin’s theory


There are two extant versions of the abstract of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. One was sent to Asa Gray on 5 September 1857, enclosed with a letter of the same date (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Asa Gray, 5 September [1857] and enclosure).…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … theory of natural selection. One was sent to Asa Gray on 5 September 1857, enclosed with a letter of …
  • … & occasional selection has been the main agent in making 5  our domestic races. But, however, …
  • … any way useful to it, during any part of its life. (5)   Multiform difficulties will occur to …

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex


The quantity of Darwin’s correspondence increased dramatically in 1868 due largely to his ever-widening research on human evolution and sexual selection.Darwin’s theory of sexual selection as applied to human descent led him to investigate aspects of the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … able to throw off thick dictionaries by flexing. On 5 April , Edward Blyth, who had supplied …
  • … 3 June 1868 ). ‘It was very kind’, Darwin wrote on 5 June , ‘almost heroic, in you to sacrifice …
  • … distributed it in Japan ( letter from J. D. Hooker, 5 September 1868 ); Edward Wilson, a neighbour …
  • … Molendo and Alexander Walther addressed themselves on 5 August to ‘the Reformator of Natural …
  • … had sent four letters the previous year, wrote again on 5 October , ‘I am quite distressed that …

Darwin in letters, 1847-1850: Microscopes and barnacles


Darwin's study of barnacles, begun in 1844, took him eight years to complete. The correspondence reveals how his interest in a species found during the Beagle voyage developed into an investigation of the comparative anatomy of other cirripedes and…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … ( Correspondence  vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, [5 or 12 November 1845] ). In the event, the …

Capturing Darwin’s voice: audio of selected letters


On a sunny Wednesday in June 2011 in a makeshift recording studio somewhere in Cambridge, we were very pleased to welcome Terry Molloy back to the Darwin Correspondence Project for a special recording session. Terry, known for his portrayal of Davros in Dr…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … (e.g. to Lydia Becker, 2 August 1863 ; to Mary Treat, 5 January 1872 ). Click on the …

Darwin in letters, 1867: A civilised dispute


Charles Darwin’s major achievement in 1867 was the completion of his large work, The variation of animals and plants under domestication (Variation). The importance of Darwin’s network of correspondents becomes vividly apparent in his work on expression in…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … your work will be published’ ( letter from J. V. Carus, 5 April 1867 ). This hint of uncertainty …
  • … resulted in a mottled hybrid ( letter from Robert Trail, 5 April 1867 ). Darwin told his American …
  • … might come into play in some circumstances. In a letter of 5 May [1867] , Darwin admitted, …
  • … would subdue; that is yours’ ( letter from J. V. Carus, 5 April 1867 ). Darwin complied, and his …

Dramatisation script


Re: Design – Adaptation of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Asa Gray and others… by Craig Baxter – as performed 25 March 2007

Matches: 2 hits

  • … and the simplicity of his character. DARWIN:   5   I am allowed to work now two-and-a …

Darwin’s reading notebooks


In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … de Gembloux 1839]. Said to be good by D r  L. Lindsay 5 [DAR *119: 1v.] 6 …
  • … p. 290 “Thacker” [Thacker 1834–5] p. 291 Athenæum 1839. p. …
  • … The Philosoph. of Instinct & Reason by S. Bushnan. Longman. 5 s  [Bushnan 1837]—dedicated to L …
  • … Traite Elementair  Palæontologie M. Pictet [Pictet 1844–5]— Forbes?? Waterhouse has it— 1844— read …
  • … cloth lettered, (pub. at 6 s  per vol.) reduced to 5 s  1834–43 1. Humming Birds, Vol. 1 …
  • … Gardener’s and Florist’s Dictionary, 2 vols. 8vo. 1724. 5 s . 42  [P. Miller 1724] Life …
  • … 1769] Zoolog. Journal [ Zoological Journal ] 5 Vols. Voyage de la Coquille [Duperrey …

Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots


Darwin spent a considerable part of 1879 in the eighteenth century. His journey back in time started when he decided to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an essay on Erasmus’s evolutionary ideas…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … same man in one volume’, Darwin pointed out to Krause on 5 June , adding that although Krause’s …
  • … beyond his ‘tether’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 5 June 1879 , and letter to G. H. Darwin, …
  • … Darwin with information, suggestions, and questions. On 5 February, a stonemason, Thomas Maston, …
  • … vague probabilities’ ( letter to Nicolai Mengden, 5 June 1879 ). On the very day that Emma …
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