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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   9 July [1869]1

Caerdeon | Barmouth. N. Wales

July 9th.

My dear Huxley

I wd. not trouble you if I could think of anyone else to apply to; but ask Mrs. Huxley2 to answer me.—

Häckel is hard at work at Calcareous Sponges & is actually starting soon to Norway to study them.3 He says he badly wants British specimens. Now can you suggest anyone or two men to whom I could apply with fair chance of success?— I know so few naturalists now-a days.— Häkel forgets to say whether he requires the specimens in spirits or dry. Can you answer this? I feel bound to do anything Häckel asks me.—

We shall remain here all this month; but I have been much disappointed at gaining no strength & failing to climb even a hill, & I had longed once again to set foot on summit of a mountain.—

What a splendid success, as I hear on all sides, your Comte article has been.—4 Give my kindest remembrances to Mrs. Huxley & all your dear little ones.— Ever Yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Ernst Haeckel, 2 July 1869.
Henrietta Anne Huxley.
CD refers to ‘The scientific aspects of positivism’ (T. H. Huxley 1869b), which appeared in the 1 June 1869 issue of the Fortnightly Review. Huxley had also criticised the positivist philosophy of Auguste Comte in an earlier article (T. H. Huxley 1869a). See letters to T. H. Huxley, 10 March 1869 and 12 March [1869], and letter from T. H. Huxley, 11 March 1869.


Haeckel wants British specimens of calcareous sponges. Can THH tell him to whom he can apply?

Health not improving – cannot climb even a hill.

Has heard THH’s article on Comte ["Scientific aspects of Positivism", Lay sermons (1870)] is a splendid success.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 271)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6823,” accessed on 24 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17