Letter icon
Letter 2094

Darwin, C. R. to Dana, J. D.

25 May [1857]

    Summary Add

  • +

    Thanks him for information concerning Crustacea.

  • +

    Comments on natural history study in the U. S.

  • +

    Mentions work done by Huxley on Crustacea ["Description of a new crustacean", J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 13 (1857): 363–9];

  • +

    John Lubbock on larvae of Diptera.


Down Bromley Kent.

May 25th

My dear Sir

Although I have nothing particular to say I must thank you for all the trouble you have so kindly taken in answering my question on the relation of Arctic & Antarctic Crustacea as fully as the present state of knowledge permits. I was very curious on the point, otherwise I would not have troubled you. And indeed I have been many times very troublesome to you, & you have invariably received my letters of enquiry in the kindest manner.

How the U. States are going ahead in Natural History! I had not heard of the late expedition, though I had heard of Mr Stimpson before: indeed he formerly sent me some cirripedes. Prof. Huxley has lately been working on the homologies of Crustacea, & has come to some important differences with Milne Edwards: he has published an outline in some Lectures in a Medical Journal, but I suppose will soon publish in extenso.—

My neighbour J. Lubbock is working on the anatomy of the larvæ of Diptera, & has made most minute & beautiful drawings of their muscular system: I wish he had more time & he would do good work. As I sometimes tell him, he is a case of the “pursuit of knowledge under riches”, which seems as great a drawback as poverty. I am glad Lyell has sent you his supplement, for it strikes me as full of remarkable facts.

Farewell—Floreat Scientia—with very sincere thanks for all your kindness.

Yours very truly | C. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

  • +
    f1 2094.f1
    The year is given by the relationship to the letter from J. D. Dana, 27 April 1857.
  • +
    f2 2094.f2
    See letter to J. D. Dana, 5 April [1857], and letter from J. D. Dana, 27 April 1857.
  • +
    f3 2094.f3
    In his last letter to CD, 27 April 1857, Dana had mentioned that Louis Agassiz had a collector who was to explore Pacific islands. He also told CD of William Stimpson's progress in describing the Crustacea collected by the North Pacific Exploring Expedition.
  • +
    f4 2094.f4
    Thomas Henry Huxley devoted the final three lectures of his course on natural history to the Crustacea. These lectures, delivered at the School of Mines, were published in a series in the Medical Times & Gazette (T. H. Huxley 1856–7). In lecture eleven, published in the issue of 23 May 1857, Huxley put forward a new interpretation of the division of the segments of the archetypal crustacean originally proposed by Henri Milne-Edwards.
  • +
    f5 2094.f5
    John Lubbock was studying variation in larval musculature. In Lubbock 1859, he presented his observations on the muscles of the larvae of the moth Pygaera bucephala. In DAR 45: 105, there is a note in CD's hand which reads: ‘Lubbock's Muscles. Wonderful variation & attachment.’
  • +
    f6 2094.f6
    Lubbock had joined his father's bank, Lubbock, Forster & Co., as a partner in 1848 at the age of 15 (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 22).
  • +
    f7 2094.f7
    C. Lyell 1857a included a discussion of the fossils recently discovered in the Purbeck beds near Swanage (see letter from Charles Lyell, [16 January 1857]). CD had mentioned the work in his previous letter to Dana (letter to J. D. Dana, 5 April [1857]).
Maximized view Print letter