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Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots

Summary

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: 21 hits

  • There are summaries of all Darwin's letters from the year 1879 on this website.  The full texts
  • 27 of the print edition of The correspondence of Charles Darwin , published by Cambridge
  • to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an
  • the sensitivity of the tips. Despite this breakthrough, when Darwin first mentioned the book to his
  • an additional worry: the engagement of his son Horace to Ida Farrer, stepdaughter of Darwins niece
  • all over like a baked pear’ ( enclosure in letter from R. W. Dixon, 20 December 1879 ). The year
  • nice and good as could be’ ( letter from Karl Beger, [ c. 12 February 1879] ). The masters of
  • of the Admiralty described the unknown young man asA M r Darwin grandson of the well known
  • with the when & the where, & the who—’ ( letter from V. H. Darwin, 28 May [1879] ). On the
  • him on 9 June not toexpend much powder & shot on M r  Butler’, for he really was not worth
  • and well, and with little fatigue’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 12 July 1879 , and letter from
  • leaving Darwinmore perplexed than ever about life of D r . D’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, 12
  • to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 5 June 1879 , and letter to G. H. Darwin, 12 July 1879 ). Darwins
  • the highest point, for hiswhy”—“what for” &c are incessant’, Darwin joked on 2 July (first
  • The other cloud on the horizon was Thomas Henry Farrers objection to the engagement between his
  • Hall, on several occasions. Horace had first approached Farrer to request Idas hand in marriage in
  • which is his profession thonot a profitable one; also D r  C[lark]’s opinion that he was so
  • wait for three months. ‘Nothing can be more useless than T.Hs conduct’, Emma Darwin pointed out, …
  • to get home ‘& began drumming at once’ (Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [27 August 1879] (DAR
  • and preventCattle diseases, Potato diseases &c’, probably did not know that Darwin had already
  • agreed to their engagement being made public ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 12 October 1879 ). Darwin

List of correspondents

Summary

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: 2 hits

  • … Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. …
  • … Dareste, Camille (9) Darwin family (1) …

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: 27 hits

  • evolution, sexual selection, and the expression of emotions, Darwin was able to devote 1873 almost
  • … (1875) and  Cross and self fertilisation  (1876). Darwins son Francis became increasingly
  • career to become his fathers scientific secretary. Darwin had always relied on assistance from
  • Franciss decision. A large portion of the letters Darwin received in 1873 were in response
  • the previous year. As was typical, readers wrote to Darwin personally to offer suggestions, …
  • some of which were incorporated in a later edition. Darwin also contributed to discussions in the
  • Francis Galtons work on inherited talent, which prompted Darwin to reflect on the traits and
  • Station at Naples. Plants that eat and feel? Darwin had resumed experiments on the
  • 12 January [1873] ).  Drosera  was the main focus of Darwins study of insectivorous plants, a
  • and alkaloids, and even electrical stimulation. On sending Darwin a specimen of the carnivorous  …
  • … ( letter from J. D. Hooker, 12 January 1873 ). Darwin found that the glandular hairs on the
  • to bend inward, so that the plant closed like a fist. Darwin was fascinated by this transmission of
  • plants , p. 63). The plants secreted a viscid fluid, which Darwin suspected attracted insects by
  • … ., p. 17). Through a series of painstaking experiments, Darwin determined that the secretions
  • but not in others. He encouraged research by Thomas Henry Farrer on a complex floral structure in
  • … “You are the man to conquer Coronilla”, he wrote to Farrer, “One may feel sure that primordially
  • flower would become modified & correlated” ( letter to T. H. Farrer, 14 August 1873 ). …
  • throat like a bulldog” ( letter from L. M. Forster to H. E. Litchfield, 20 February 1873 ). The
  • without instruction or previously acquired knowledge” (A. R. Wallace 1870, p. 204). Moggridge
  • could be transmitted to its offspring ( letter from J. T. Moggridge, 1 February 1873 ). …
  • it would offend his father ( enclosure to letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 December 1873 ).  In
  • happiness to us to the last day of our lives” ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 23 April 1873 ). Huxley
  • been without energy & without hope” ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 24 April 1873 ). He accepted
  • believes whether or not they are sound” ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 17 November 1873 ). But no
  • to starve sweat & purge it away” ( letter from G. H. Darwin, [1 October 1873] ). He also
  • unorthodoxy, troubling and potentially undermining (J. R. Moore 1985, pp. 4712). A courted
  • a personification of Natural Filosofy” ( letter from J. C. Costerus and N. D. Doedes, 18 March 1873

Darwin in letters, 1878: Movement and sleep

Summary

In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to the movements of plants. He investigated the growth pattern of roots and shoots, studying the function of specific organs in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of…

Matches: 16 hits

  • … lessen injury to leaves from radiation In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to …
  • … in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of experiments to …
  • … plant laboratories in Europe. While Francis was away, Darwin delighted in his role as …
  • … from botanical research was provided by potatoes, as Darwin took up the cause of an Irish …
  • … would rid Ireland of famine. Several correspondents pressed Darwin for his views on religion, …
  • … closed with remarkable news of a large legacy bequeathed to Darwin by a stranger as a reward for his …
  • … birthday ( letter to Ernst Haeckel, 12 February [1878] ), Darwin reflected that it was ‘more …
  • … Expression ), and the final revision of Origin (1872), Darwin had turned almost exclusively to …
  • … Movement in plants In the spring of 1878, Darwin started to focus on the first shoots and …
  • … were enrolled as researchers, as were family members. Darwin asked his niece Sophy to observe …
  • … from Francis Darwin, [22 June 1878] ). ‘Sachs doesn’t consider that there is any puzzle as to how …
  • … he was unwell. ‘I was rather seedy last night & didn’t appear at the laboratory & this …
  • … ill favour because however civilly I may word it a man can’t like to have his work torn to shreds …
  • … publish it. While he was in London, Darwin consulted Thomas Farrer at the Board of Trade, who …
  • … 28 [February 1878] ). Further meetings were held with Farrer and James Caird, a member of the Royal …
  • … of the sight of which you must be sick’, he wrote to Farrer on 13 March 1878 . ‘Mr. Torbitt’s …

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex

Summary

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: 25 hits

  • …   On 6 March 1868, Darwin wrote to the entomologist and accountant John Jenner Weir, ‘If any
  • he ought to do what I am doing pester them with letters.’ Darwin was certainly true to his word. The
  • and sexual selection. In  Origin , pp. 8790, Darwin had briefly introduced the concept of
  • process. In a letter to Alfred Russel Wallace in 1864, Darwin claimed that sexual selection wasthe
  • to the stridulation of crickets. At the same time, Darwin continued to collect material on
  • his immediate circle of friends and relations. In July 1868 Darwin was still anticipating that his
  • which was devoted to sexual selection in the animal kingdom. Darwin described his thirst for
  • Murray to intervene, complaining on 9 January , ‘M r . Dallasdelayis intolerableI am
  • it was by Gray himself, but Darwin corrected him: ‘D r  Gray would strike me in the face, but not
  • … . It is a disgrace to the paper’ ( letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February [1868] ). The review was
  • April 1868 . The letter was addressed tothe Rev d  C. Darwin M.d’; Binstead evidently assumed
  • I did not see this, or rather I saw it only obs[c]urely, & have kept only a few references.’ …
  • classes, a dim ray of light may be gained’ ( letter to H. T. Stainton, 21 February [1868] ). From
  • as life he wd find the odour sexual!’ ( letter to A . R. Wallace, 16 September [1868] ). Francis
  • south of France to Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood on 9 Novembe r, describing sphinx moths that were
  • question of theOrigin of Species”’ ( letter from A. R. Wallace, 4 October 1868 ). …
  • hands of the enemies of Nat. Selection’ ( letter from A. R. Wallace, 8 [April] 1868 ). …
  • of her two-month old daughter Katherine ( letter from C. M. Hawkshaw to Emma Darwin, 9 February
  • began a long correspondence on orchids with Thomas Henry Farrer, permanent secretary to the Board of
  • of the caudicle of  Ophrys muscifera  (letters from T. H. Farrer, 17 May 1868 and 18 May
  • sacrificed to Public life.’ Farrer replied: ‘You dont know how kind I think your note. This
  • rest mostly on faith, and on accumulation of adaptations, &c) … Of course I understand your
  • induced him to stay away ( letter from S. J. OH. Horsman, 2 June [1868] ). But if Horsman
  • life timeI am preparing to go into oppositionI cant stand it’. Diplomas and honorary
  • at the shrine of D r . Darwin’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 20 July 1868 ). Darwin received a

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: 24 hits

  • At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  …
  • appeared at the end of 1866 and had told his cousin William Darwin Fox, ‘My work will have to stop a
  • material on emotional expression. Yet the scope of Darwins interests remained extremely broad, and
  • plants, and earthworms, subjects that had exercised Darwin for decades, and that would continue to
  • Carl von  Nägeli and perfectibility Darwins most substantial addition to  Origin  was a
  • a Swiss botanist and professor at Munich (Nägeli 1865). Darwin had considered Nägelis paper
  • principal engine of change in the development of species. Darwin correctly assessed Nägelis theory
  • now see is possible or probable’ (see also letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 January [1869] , and
  • would no doubt do if we had proper data to go by, but dont think we have got that yet’ ( letter
  • been less deferential towards [Thomson]’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 19 March [1869] ). …
  • of information which I have sent prove of any service to M r . Darwin I can supply him with much
  • … & proximate cause in regard to Man’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 14 April 1869 ).  More
  • and the bird of paradise  (Wallace 1869a; letter to A. R. Wallace, 22 March [1869] ), and
  • an injustice & never demands justice’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 14 April 1869 ). …
  • and fossil discoveries in Patagonia and Wales ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 7 May 1869 , letter
  • species that Darwin had investigated in depth ( letter from C. F. Claus, 6 February 1869 ). In a
  • genus that he had studied in the early 1860s ( letter to W. C. Tait, 12 and 16 March 1869 ). This
  • Sweetland Dallass edition of Fritz Müllers  Für Darwin  (Dallas trans. 1869). The book, an
  • whole meeting was decidedly Huxleys answer to D r  M c Cann. He literally poured boiling oil
  • greater fools of themselves than they did’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 28 September 1869 ). …
  • criticism was noted in a letter from Thomas Henry Farrer, who had been reading some of Delpinos
  • into whichI do not care to follow him’ ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 9 October 1869 ). Farrer
  • Freedom and Will and High Design—’ (letter from T. H. Farrer, 13 October 1869). …
  • to set foot on summit of a mountain.—’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 9 July [1869] ).  Earlier

Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life

Summary

1876 was the year in which the Darwins became grandparents for the first time.  And tragically lost their daughter-in-law, Amy, who died just days after her son's birth.  All the letters from 1876 are now published in volume 24 of The Correspondence…

Matches: 22 hits

  • The year 1876 started out sedately enough with Darwin working on the first draft of his book on the
  • games. ‘I have won, hurrah, hurrah, 2795 games’, Darwin boasted; ‘my wifepoor creature, has won
  • regarding the ailments that were so much a feature of Darwin family life. But the calm was not to
  • four days later. ‘I cannot bear to think of the future’, Darwin confessed to William on 11
  • once, the labour of checking proofs proved a blessing, as Darwin sought solace for the loss of his
  • and his baby son Bernard now part of the household, and Darwin recasting his work on dimorphic and
  • had involved much time and effort the previous year, and Darwin clearly wanted to focus his
  • of the second edition of Climbing plants ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 23 February 1876 ). When
  • effected by his forthcoming pamphlet, Darwin confounded (C. OShaughnessy 1876), which, he
  • and who had succeeded in giving him pain ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 17 June 1876 ). Although
  • cast by thepoorest curs in London’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [4 February 1876] ). …
  • years experiments’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [ c . 19 March 1876] ). A less welcome reaction
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica the previous year ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [after 4 September 1876] ). …
  • … ‘all I can say is do not commit suicide’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [4 June 1876] ). By midsummer, …
  • a set of sons I have, all doing wonders.’ ( Letter to G. H. Darwin, 13 July [1876]. ) A
  • and eczema, was able to rest his mind ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 2 May [1876] ). Darwin even
  • because of along and terrible illness’ ( letter to C. S. Wedgwood, 20 April 1876 ). By the time
  • letter to Andrew Clark, [late June 1876] ; letter to G. H. Darwin, 13 July [1876] ). The irony
  • she confided to Henrietta (letter from Emma Darwin to H. E. Litchfield, [31 August 1876] (DAR 219.9: …
  • in harmony with yours’ ( letter from George Henslow, [ c. 7 December 1876] ). A more typical
  • been the subject of mere observation’ ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 31 December 1876 ). The Swiss
  • on the method, or remains in utter darkness’ ( letter to H. N. Moseley, 22 November 1876 ). …

Darwin in letters, 1880: Sensitivity and worms

Summary

‘My heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old Shrewsbury friend Henry Johnson on 14 November 1880. Darwin became fully devoted to earthworms in the spring of the year, just after finishing the manuscript of…

Matches: 26 hits

  • heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old
  • to adapt to varying conditions. The implications of Darwins work for the boundary between animals
  • studies of animal instincts by George John Romanes drew upon Darwins early observations of infants, …
  • of evolution and creation. Many letters flowed between Darwin and his children, as he took delight
  • Financial support for science was a recurring issue, as Darwin tried to secure a Civil List pension
  • with Samuel Butler, prompted by the publication of Erasmus Darwin the previous year. …
  • character is of much value to me’ ( letter to C. H. Tindal, 5 January 1880 ). Darwin had employed
  • Darwins Life . ‘In an endeavour to explain away y r . treatment of [William Alvey Darwin],’ …
  • by anticipation the position I have taken as regards D r Erasmus Darwin in my book Evolution old
  • … , sending one or both to his daughter Henrietta ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880] ). …
  • he will have the last word’, she warned ( letter from H. E. Litchfield, [1 February 1880] ). ‘He
  • to the end’, added her husband Richard ( letter from R. B. Litchfield, 1 February 1880 ). Even the
  • him Darwinophobia? It is a horrid disease’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 February 1880 ).   …
  • shake their heads in the same dismal manner as you & M r . Murray did, when I told them my
  • in a book about beetles the impressive wordscaptured by C. Darwin”. … This seemed to me glory
  • I was, also, rarely fit to see anybody’ ( letter to S. H. Haliburton, 13 December 1880 ). …
  • … ‘but the subject has amused me’ ( letter to W. C. McIntosh, 18 June 1880 ). Members of the family
  • thus one looks to prevent its return’ ( letter from J.-H. Fabre, 18 February 1880 ). Darwin shared
  • biologist of our time’ ( letter from W. D. Roebuck to G. H. Darwin, 25 October 1880 ). The
  • great doctrines …“Come of Age”‘ ( letter from W. C. Williamson to Emma Darwin, 2 September 1880 ). …
  • about 21 years since the Origin appeared”‘ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 11 [April] 1880 ). While
  • been developed through natural selection’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 11 May 1880 ). Worthy
  • claim is not that he is in need, so much as that he cant find employment’ ( Correspondence vol. …
  • prevailing superstitions of this country!’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, [after 26 November 1880] ). …
  • so private subscriptions were raised, with Darwin, Thomas Farrer, and James Caird leading the
  • his voice as clearly as if he were present’ (letters to C. W. Fox, 29 March 1880 and 10 [April

Darwin in letters, 1874: A turbulent year

Summary

The year 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working on second editions of Coral reefs and Descent of man; the rest of the year was mostly devoted to further research on insectivorous plants. A…

Matches: 22 hits

  • 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working
  • dispute over an anonymous review that attacked the work of Darwins son George dominated the second
  • and traveller Alexander von Humboldts 105th birthday, Darwin obliged with a reflection on his debt
  • by observation during prolonged intervals’ ( letter to D. T. Gardner, [ c . 27 August 1874] ). …
  • from W. D. Fox, 8 May [1874] ).  Such reminiscences led Darwin to the self-assessment, ‘as for one
  • I feel very old & helpless The year started for Darwin with a weeks visit to
  • Mr Williams wasa cheat and an imposter’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 27 January 1874 ). Darwin
  • that he was thus free to perform his antics’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 29 January [1874] ). This
  • alloweda spirit séanceat his home ( letter from T. G. Appleton, 2 April 1874 ). Back
  • sweetly all the horrid bother of correction’ ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 21 [March 1874] ). The
  • and disease in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii; letters from T. N. Staley, 12 February 1874 and
  • that I have pounded the enemy into a jelly’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 14 April 1874 ). The
  • and never mind where it goes’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 16 April 1874 ). The second
  • on subsequent print runs would be very good ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 12 November 1874 ). …
  • conciseness & clearness of your thought’ ( letter from G. H. Darwin, 20 April 1874 ). …
  • the spread of various mental and physical disorders (G. H. Darwin 1873b). In July 1874, an anonymous
  • in a few hours dissolve the hardest cartilage, bone & meat &c. &c.’ ( letter to W. D. …
  • whether at theclose of the putrefaction of flesh, skin &c, any substance is produced before
  • details of an Australian variety of sundew ( letter from T. C. Copland, 23 June 1874 ). …
  • Sharpe for promotion at the British Museum ( letter to R. B. Sharpe, 24 November [1874] ).  He
  • doIt is enough to kill anyone’, and asked Thomas Henry Farrer to attempt to influence the
  • head that M r  Spencers terms of equilibration &c always bother me & make everything less

Darwin in letters, 1877: Flowers and honours

Summary

Ever since the publication of Expression, Darwin’s research had centred firmly on botany. The year 1877 was no exception. The spring and early summer were spent completing Forms of flowers, his fifth book on a botanical topic. He then turned to the…

Matches: 29 hits

  • Ever since the publication of Expression , Darwins research had centred firmly on botany. The
  • of these projects would culminate in a major publication. Darwins botany was increasingly a
  • assisted his fathers research on movement and bloom, and Darwin in turn encouraged his sons own
  • The year 1877 was more than usually full of honours. Darwin received two elaborate photograph albums
  • from Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. Closer to home, Darwin received an honorary Doctorate of
  • sites for possible earthworm activity. Now in his 69th year, Darwin remained remarkably productive, …
  • no controversy. In his autobiographical reflections, Darwin remarked: ‘no little discovery of
  • … (‘Recollections’, p. 419). During the winter and spring, Darwin was busy preparing the manuscript of
  • and presented to the Linnean Society of London. In the book, Darwin adopted the more recent term
  • as dimorphic without comparing pollen-grains & stigmas’, Darwin remarked to Joseph Dalton
  • measurements of the size and number of pollen-grains, Darwin compared the fertility of individual
  • primrose and purple loosestrife. In the course of his work, Darwin found a number of other
  • dreadful work making out anything about dried flowers’, Darwin complained to Asa Gray on 8 March
  • which include heterstyled species. This pleases me.’. Darwin dedicated the book to Gray, ‘as a small
  • separate publications together into a larger whole enabled Darwin to advance more speculative views
  • both pollen and seeds’ ( Forms of flowers , p. 344). Darwin was typically pessimistic about the
  • be sold’. His publisher knew from previous experience that Darwin was a poor judge of sales, and
  • suspicion of ambitious gardeners ( letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 25 August 1877 ). At
  • one of the young leaves with a delicate twig’ ( letter to R. I. Lynch, 14 September 1877 ). …
  • but I think the great honour of its being printed in the R. Soc. Transactions, (sh d . the
  • larger aim was announced in the subtitle: Zeitschrift für einheitliche Weltanschauung auf Grund
  • … ‘but found him as soft & smooth as butter’ ( letter to C. E. Norton, 16 March 1877 ). Hooker
  • I hope it may remain for centuries to come’ ( letter from C. C. Graham, 30 January 1877 ). Graham
  • of Siebolds study of medical monstrosity ( letter from C. T. E. Siebold, 10 October 1877 ). An
  • any recognition by any public bodies of England & that y r . own University w d . like to be
  • to the mark hereafter is another question’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 30 May [1877] ). In the end, …
  • at the Senate House yesterday, with a suspended monkey &c; but I believe the cheering was more
  • of a Roman villa near Thomas Farrars home in Surrey; and Farrer sent him aworm journalwith
  • between sagging of pavemts & castings’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 21 November [1877] ). It is