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Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution

Summary

The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

Matches: 29 hits

  • … The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The …
  • … machine’  ( letter to Charles Lyell, 25 December [1870] ). Finishing Descent; …
  • … some weeks’  ( letter to Albert Günther, 13 January [1870] ). Darwin was still working hard on …
  • … I shall be’  ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ). She had previously read proof-sheets …
  • … shd. turn parson?’ ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ). Henrietta disagreed: ‘Certainly …
  • … of man!’ ( letter from H. E. Darwin, [after 8 February 1870] ). Darwin was also encouraged …
  • … sense of mankind’ ( letter to F. P. Cobbe, 23 March [1870?] ). Cobbe accused Darwin of smiling in …
  • … great philosophy?’ ( letter from F. P. Cobbe, 28 March [1870?] ). Humans as animals: ears …
  • … [1868] ; this volume, letter to Thomas Woolner, 10 March [1870] ). Darwin included Woolner’s …
  • … findings ( letter from James Crichton-Browne, 15 March 1870 ). Indeed, Darwin noted the same …
  • … bane of existence!’ ( letter to William Ogle, 9 November 1870 ). Researching expression: …
  • … spirits were white ( letter from W. W. Reade, 9 November 1870 ). Keen for more evidence of …
  • … hurting it much?’ ( letter to A. D. Bartlett, 5 January [1870] ). Darwin made a similar request of …
  • … not succeed’ ( letter to James Crichton-Browne, 8 June [1870] ). Darwin’s queries were part …
  • … of a baby’s brows ( letter from L. C. Wedgwood, [5 May 1870] ). He also wrote to a leading Dutch …
  • … on this subject’  ( letter from F. C. Donders, 17 May 1870 ). Human evolution: debates and …
  • … more fully in a collection of essays published in April 1870 (Wallace 1870a). Wallace wrote to …
  • … naturalist’ (letter to A. R.Wallace, 26 January [1870]). Despite their increasing …
  • … in one sense rivals’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 20 April [1870] ). Darwin alluded here to the …
  • … No one but yourself’ ( letter from H. W. Bates, 20 May 1870 ). Darwin very rarely used the …
  • … never  write reviews’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, [22 May 1870] ). St George Jackson Mivart …
  • … to answer objectors’ ( letter to W. H. Flower, 25 March [1870] ). In his letters to Mivart, Darwin …
  • … on the Primates’ ( letter to St G. J. Mivart, 23 April [1870] ). He also tried to recruit Mivart’s …
  • … lump of granite’ ( letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 April 1870 ). Mivart hinted that his …
  • … the mother and foetus during pregnancy. As a case in point, John Jenner Weir described the offspring …
  • … also discussed recent experiments by Louis Pasteur and John Tyndall that provided evidence for the …
  • … a memorandum. He asked his neighbour, the naturalist John Lubbock, who was now MP for Maidstone, to …
  • … reference to mankind of much importance ’ ( letter to John Lubbock, 17 July 1870 ). The motion to …
  • … to me and to every one else I suspect’ ( letter from H. B. Jones, 2 August 1870 ). Darwin …

Women as a scientific audience

Summary

Target audience? | Female readership | Reading Variation Darwin's letters, in particular those exchanged with his editors and publisher, reveal a lot about his intended audience. Regardless of whether or not women were deliberately targeted as a…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … target audience? Letter 2447 - Darwin to Murray, J., [5 April 1859] …
  • … chapters of Origin of Species to his publisher, John Murray. He hopes that his views are …
  • … Letter 7124 - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [8 February 1870] Darwin seeks Henrietta’s …
  • … her help with tone and style. Letter 7329 - Murray , J. to Darwin, [28 September …
  • … perusal. Letter 7331 - Darwin to Murray, J., [29 September 1870] …

Darwin in letters, 1872: Job done?

Summary

'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: 12 hits

  • to spread my views’, he wrote to his publisher, John Murray, on 30 January , shortly after
  • The public are accustomed to novels for 1s’, he wrote to Murray on 8 January , but Murray
  • by the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war in July 1870, and was now halted so that the further
  • the new edition in the United States, Darwin arranged with Murray to have it stereotyped. Before the
  • Hookers cause was taken up by his friends, in particular John Lubbock and John Tyndall, as one
  • to Gladstone a week later ( enclosure to letter from John Lubbock to WEGladstone, 20 June 1872
  • photographic plates with his overseas publishers, and with John Murrays assistant, the excitable
  • of the booksellers, encouraged an originally cautious John Murray to gamble on the books success: & …
  • attractive dishes in his `Literary Banquet’ (letters from John Murray, 6 November [1872] and 9
  • in those born blind, and filed away other letters, but Murrays confidence proved misplaced; demand
  • to supply comparative observations, and Darwins protégé John Scott, now employed as a curator in
  • a copy of  Expression  to another old Cambridge friend, John Maurice Herbert, who when they were

Darwin in letters, 1871: An emptying nest

Summary

The year 1871 was an extremely busy and productive one for Darwin, with the publication in February of his long-awaited book on human evolution, Descent of man. The other main preoccupation of the year was the preparation of his manuscript on expression.…

Matches: 12 hits

  • … on 24 February, and all 2500 copies were sold in a week. ‘Murray says he is “torn to pieces” by …
  • … on 28 February . Demand continued throughout the year, and Murray produced three more printings, …
  • … £1470 for the first two printings, Darwin wrote to Murray on 20 March 1871 , ‘It is quite a grand …
  • … expressed by Darwin’s old friend, the former vicar of Down John Brodie Innes. Darwin and Innes had …
  • … ‘a windbag full of metaphysics & classics’ ( letter to John Murray, 13 April [1871] ). …
  • … Gazette , and wrote to its author, who turned out to be John Morley, a leading advocate of …
  • … and transmitted by culture, not biology ( letter from John Morley, 30 March 1871 ). …
  • … by his wife and children. William offered his assessment of John Stuart Mill’s theory of …
  • … he suspected that very few would actually sell (letters to John Murray, 17 August [1871] and …
  • … Wallace, 4 August [1871] ). On 23 September he informed Murray that owing to poor health he had …
  • … activity would have on the elevation of land. In October 1870, two separate square yards of ground …
  • … years following the publication of  Origin of species . Murray convinced him to appear in  Vanity …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest

Summary

The year 1866 began well for Charles Darwin, as his health, after several years of illness, was now considerably improved. In February, Darwin received a request from his publisher, John Murray, for a new edition of  Origin. Darwin got the fourth…

Matches: 11 hits

  • … of scientific admirers at Down, among them Robert Caspary, John Traherne Moggridge, and Ernst …
  • … to Darwin’s annoyance, however, publication was delayed by Murray, who judged that it would sell …
  • … regime led to Darwin’s being teased by his neighbour, John Lubbock, about the prospect of riding to …
  • … with our beagles before the season is over’ ( letter from John Lubbock, 4 August 1866 ). More …
  • … On 21 February Darwin received notification from John Murray that stocks of the third edition of  …
  • … George Henslow, the son of his Cambridge mentor, John Stevens Henslow, stayed for two days in April …
  • … In June, Darwin was visited by the orchid specialist John Traherne Moggridge, whose work on the self …
  • … and a revised American edition was not published until 1870. Further botanical research: …
  • … out, ‘business would be totally paralysed’. Similarly, John Murray gave as a reason for his decision …
  • … ‘gaieties travelling & War Bulletins’ ( letter from John Murray, 18 July 1866 ). I …
  • … for the criminal prosecution of the colonial governor Edward John Eyre. In his efforts to suppress …

Darwin's in letters, 1873: Animal or vegetable?

Summary

Having laboured for nearly five years on human evolution, sexual selection, and the expression of emotions, Darwin was able to devote 1873 almost exclusively to his beloved plants. He resumed work on the digestive powers of sundews and Venus fly traps, and…

Matches: 12 hits

  • … Thomas Lauder Brunton, a specialist in pharmacology, and John Scott Burdon Sanderson, a professor at …
  • … “for Heaven knows when it will be ready” ( letter to John Murray, 4 May [1873] ). Keeping …
  • … with leading physiologists such as David Ferrier and John Hughlings Jackson. Darwin declined to …
  • … Instinct  In February, Darwin received a letter from John Traherne Moggridge on the nature of …
  • … or previously acquired knowledge” (A. R. Wallace 1870, p. 204). Moggridge suggested instead that …
  • … fund was first suggested in early April by Katharine Murray Lyell in conversation with Emma Darwin, …
  • … A group of Huxley’s close friends, including Hooker, John Lubbock, Herbert Spencer, John Tyndall, …
  • … edition was called for. There were commercial advantages for Murray in bringing out a substantially …
  • … your own power & usefulness”, citing the examples of John Stuart Mill and Charles Lyell, who …
  • … from Ernst Meitzen, 17 January 1873 ). A poor-law officer, John Farr, wrote: “Faith like Species, …
  • … more permanent than species are permanent” ( letter from John Farr, 7 July 1873 ). Further …
  • … closer to home, when he was graced by an invitation from John Jenner Weir to act as a patron of the …

Darwin in letters, 1869: Forward on all fronts

Summary

At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  Origin. He may have resented the interruption to his work on sexual selection and human evolution, but he spent forty-six days on the task. Much of the…

Matches: 8 hits

  • … and amphibians, while Roland Trimen in South Africa and John Jenner Weir in London sent more …
  • … the basis for a new German edition (Bronn and Carus trans. 1870), prepared by Julius Victor Carus, …
  • … own evolutionary views and critical commentary (Royer trans. 1870). Darwin complained to Hooker, …
  • … and broadening the forums in which Darwinism was discussed. John Murray brought out the first issue …
  • … a higher tone of Criticism than that now prevailing’. Here Murray was alluding particularly to the  …
  • … wish your Periodical all success’, Darwin wrote to Murray, ‘I wish it had been weekly, as then …
  • … that to me would have been a pleasing sight’ ( letter to John Murray, [after 18 September 1869] ). …
  • … work some hours daily’ ( letter to Anton Dohrn, 4 January 1870 ). Darwin’s health was generally …

Women’s scientific participation

Summary

Observers | Fieldwork | Experimentation | Editors and critics | Assistants Darwin’s correspondence helps bring to light a community of women who participated, often actively and routinely, in the nineteenth-century scientific community. Here is a…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … Letter 7179 - Wedgwood, L. C. to Darwin, [5 May 1870] Darwin’s niece, Lucy, …
  • … to Darwin, [1873] Ellen Lubbock, wife of naturalist John Lubbock, responds to Darwin’s …
  • … 6815 - Scott, J. to Darwin, [2 July 1869] John Scott responds to Darwin’s queries …
  • …  - Weir, J. J. to Darwin, [24 March 1868] John Weir describes experiments he is undertaking …
  • … challenging ideas. Letter 2447 - Darwin to Murray, J., [5 April 1859] …
  • … Letter 7124 - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [8 February 1870] Darwin seeks Henrietta’s …
  • … Letter 7123 - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [March 1870] Darwin thanks his daughter, …
  • … editorial criticism of a paper written by English naturalist John Lubbock. In addition to offering …
  • …  - Weir, J. J. to Darwin, [24 March 1868] John Weir describes experiments he is undertaking …

Bartholomew James Sulivan

Summary

On Christmas Day 1866, Bartholomew Sulivan sat down to write a typically long and chatty letter to his old friend, Charles Darwin, commiserating on shared ill-health, glorying in the achievements of their children, offering to collect plant specimens, and…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … he organised a reunion at Down with Arthur Mellersh and John Clements Wickham which Darwin …
  • … coast of Patagonia, a proposal Darwin supported , and in 1870 he sent Darwin a prospectus for a …

Darwin and the Church

Summary

The story of Charles Darwin’s involvement with the church is one that is told far too rarely. It shows another side of the man who is more often remembered for his personal struggles with faith, or for his role in large-scale controversies over the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … scientific interests. Indeed, Darwin’s Cambridge mentor, John Stevens Henslow, and his friend and …
  • … village. During the period roughly between 1800 and 1870, the Church of England underwent its …
  • … the work of Non-conformist preachers in the village. John Brodie Innes Many of the …
  • … to such strained relations that Darwin’s neighbour, John Lubbock, was forced to send a series of …
  • … chapter . Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8. Moore, James. 1985. …

Suggested reading

Summary

There is an extensive secondary literature on Darwin's life and work. Here are some suggested titles that focus Darwin’s correspondence, as well as scientific correspondence and letter-writing more generally. Collections of Darwin’s letters …

Matches: 5 hits

  • … 2008. Evolution: selected letters of Charles Darwin 1860–1870 . Cambridge: Cambridge University …
  • … Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter . London: John Murray. Sources on …
  • … by David Barton and Nigel Hall. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Pp. 15–29. Chartier, …
  • … practice , edited by D. Barton and N. Hall. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 83–108. Hornbeak, …
  • … sources on letter writing: Davies, J. 1870. Letter writing. Quarterly Review 129 …

Descent

Summary

There are more than five hundred letters associated with the research and writing of Darwin’s book, Descent of man and selection in relation to sex (Descent). They trace not only the tortuous route to eventual publication, but the development of Darwin’s…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … .  There were some signs of nerves: it was certain, he told John Murray, to ‘excite attention & …
  • … to ‘ have a say so much ’. In October 1869 John Murray advertised a forthcoming ‘New Work …
  • … ( Academy , 9 October 1869, pp. 15–16).  By June 1870 Darwin had decided to hold back the work on …