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Letter 7286

Darwin, C. R. to Lubbock, John

21 July [1870]


Thanks JL for his book [Origin of civilization (1870)], which he has read with “extreme interest”. Wishes JL had published four or five months earlier as CD would have “so profited & saved so much work”. CD will have to modify some of what he has written [in Descent]. Sees they differ a good deal about moral sense “but hardly two men ever do agree on this perplexing subject”.

JL’s note of the 16th [see 7277] about the Census arrived too late for CD to answer.


Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

July 21

My dear Lubbock

Very many thanks for your Book: I have read 4 or 5 Chapts.with extreme interest, too much interest for the good of myinternal viscera. It makes me groan that you had not published 4 or 5 months ago: I shd have so profited & saved so muchwork.— But on some very important points for me, I shall beable & must modify what I have written.—f2 I see that we havestruck on some quotations & points in common; but it hassurprised me, as on the ornamentation of savages, how largely we havecollected our facts from different sources.—f3

I see we differ a good deal about “moral sense” or ratherapproach the subject from different points of view; but hardlytwo men ever do agree on this perplexing subject.— I expect thatyour book will be a great success.—f4

I have not yet even looked at the Thysanura, which I shallalways love after your description of their playing like lambs &the sweet coyness of the females.—f5

Your note of the 16th about the Census did not reach me till10 oclock on the 18th when it was too late to answer. Moreover,I understood from Dr Farr, that the detailed manner of puttingthe query wd be left to his Officef6

My dear Lubbock | Yours most truly | Ch. Darwin

Dr N. Hammond (private collection)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter andthe letter to John Lubbock, 17 July 1870.
CD refers to Lubbock’s book The origin of civilisation and theprimitive condition of man (Lubbock 1870a); CD’s annotated copy is inthe Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 511–12). CD added severalcitations of Lubbock 1870a to notes in Descent.
For Lubbock’s discussion of ornamentation, see Lubbock 1870a,pp. 25–49; for CD’s account, see Descent 2: 338–54.
For Lubbock’s views on the development of the moral sense, seeLubbock 1870a, pp. 257–73; for CD’s account, see Descent 1:70–106.
In ‘Notes on the Thysanura. Part III’ (Lubbock 1867b), Lubbockdescribed the courtship behaviour of Smynthurus luteus in the insectorder Thysanura; CD quoted the description in Descent 1: 348. CD’sannotated copy of the article is in the unbound journal collection inthe Darwin Archive–CUL. Smynthurus luteus (now Deuterosminthurussulphureus) is no longer considered an insect, but belongs to theorder Collembola (springtails) in the class Entognatha.
CD refers to William Farr. See letter from John Lubbock, 16 July[1870], and letter from William Farr, 16 July 1870.
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