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To Nature   [before 3 April 1873]


Comments on article ["Perception and instinct in lower animals", Nature 7 (1871): 377–8].

Explains his contention that "many of the most wonderful instincts have been acquired, independently of habit, through the preservation of useful variations of pre-existing instincts". Cites examples: sterile workers of several species of social insects have acquired different instincts; movements of tumbler pigeons. Speculates that "many instincts have originated from modification or variations in the brain".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Nature
Date:  [before 3 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  Nature, 3 April 1873, pp. 417–18
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8838

To Nature   [before 3 April 1873]


"The following fact with respect to the habits of ants, which I believe to be quite new, has been sent to me by a distinguished geologist, Mr J. D. Hague [see 8788]; and it appears well worth publishing."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Nature
Date:  [before 3 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  Nature, 10 April 1873, pp. 443–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8853

To ?   28 April 1873


"I was born in the town of Shrewsbury Feb. 12, 1809."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  28 Apr 1873
Classmark:  Swann Galleries (dealer) (26 April 1984)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8888A

To Samuel Butler   1 April [1873]


Comments on SB’s book [The fair haven (1873)]. CD is struck by SB’s dramatic power – thinks he could write "a really good novel". Surprised at strength of case SB makes that Jesus did not die on the cross. SB’s identity will soon be universally known: Leslie Stephen knows he is the author.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Samuel Butler
Date:  1 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  The British Library (Add MS 34486 D: 60–1)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8835

To N. D. Doedes   2 April 1873


The impossibility of conceiving that the universe arose through chance is the chief argument for the existence of God, but CD has never been able to decide whether this is an argument of real value. Safest to believe that the subject is beyond man’s intellect, "but man can do his duty".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Nicolaas Dirk Doedes
Date:  2 Apr 1873
Classmark:  DAR 139.12: 11
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8837

To G. H. Darwin   [3 April 1873]


Anxious to have GHD come home because of his poor health. Recommends Huxley’s physician (Andrew Clark) – an advocate of milk diet.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Howard Darwin
Date:  [3 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  DAR 210.1: 10
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8839

To J. D. Hague   3 April [1873]


Has sent JDH’s letter to Nature ["Perception in ants", Nature 7 (1873): 443–4].

Sons recall kindness received from JDH and others in America.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Duncan Hague
Date:  3 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  DAR 144: 394
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8840

To J. D. Hooker   [6 April 1873]


Wants to discuss raising a testimonial fund for Huxley and whether Huxley would stand this.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [6 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  DAR 94: 261–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8843

To Thomas Davidson   7 April 1873


Thanks TWStCD for catalogue of his Cretacean fossils.

Regrets he cannot visit Brighton.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Davidson
Date:  7 Apr 1873
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.426)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8845

To Francis Darwin   [before 15 April 1873]


Sends to Pantlludw [North Wales] bottle of formic acid. FD and Amy [Darwin] can search for spawn. If found, keep in two basins and add 6 drops of acid to one and look for differences.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Darwin
Date:  [before 15 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  DAR 271.4: 6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8848A

To John Tyndall   8 April [1873]


CD will write to William Spottiswoode about the fund for Huxley. CD is raising his subscription to £300. "We have done a good day’s work … [it] gives me a higher opinion of human nature than I had before, though I am not one of those who think lowly of mankind."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Tyndall
Date:  8 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  DAR 261.8: 13 (EH 88205951)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8850

To William Spottiswoode   [8 April 1873]


Discusses the arrangements being made to present a gift to Huxley [see 8872].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Spottiswoode
Date:  [8 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  DAR 96: 169–70
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8851

To John Tyndall   11 April 1873


Sends JT the list and amounts subscribed for Huxley. It will probably amount to £1800. He will write to Huxley and use every argument he can to make him accept.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Tyndall
Date:  11 Apr 1873
Classmark:  DAR 261.8: 14 (EH 88205952)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8856

To Albert Günther   12 April [1873]


CD did not bring any tortoises back from the Galapagos. There may be specimens at the Military Institution in Whitehall.

Sorry AG was unable to lunch with the Darwins during their stay in London.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Date:  12 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library (40)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8858

To A. W. Merriam   13 April 1873


Thanks AWM for "Comus" and an abusive New Orleans Mardi Gras newspaper editorial; he cannot tell from the "wonderful mistakes" whether the writer is "witty, ignorant, or blunders for the sake of fun".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Arthur Walter Merriam
Date:  13 Apr 1873
Classmark:  Tinker 1953, p. 331
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8858F

To Francis Darwin   16 April [1873]


"Try only 1 or 2 drops of Formic A[cid]."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Darwin
Date:  16 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  DAR 271.3: 6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8862

To Adolph Reuter   17 April 1873


Thanks for letter and curious photographs. Urges AR not to send anything valuable unless he publishes it elsewhere because CD is growing old and may not have strength and time to continue his former researches.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Adolf Reuter
Date:  17 Apr 1873
Classmark:  Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859: Darwin, Charles, Bl. 226–227)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8864

To James Crichton-Browne   17 April [1873]


Photographs sent by JC-B show great power of acting.

David Ferrier’s researches sound wonderful. Does he believe that he excites an idea and this leads to the movement, or that he acts directly on the motor nerves?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Crichton-Browne
Date:  17 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 344
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8865

To Francis Darwin   [17 April 1873]


Fears all the seeds are dead. Will try with less vapour of formic acid.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Francis Darwin
Date:  [17 Apr 1873]
Classmark:  DAR 271.3: 7
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8866

To John Tyndall   18 April [1873]


The Huxley fund amounts to £1955. CD trembles about THH’s answer.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Tyndall
Date:  18 Apr [1873]
Classmark:  DAR 261.8: 15 (EH 88205953)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8867
Document type
letter (36)
Darwin, C. R.[X]
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