skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   12 June [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

June 12th

My dear Huxley

We come up on Saturday 15th for a week.—2 I want much to see you for a short time to talk about my youngest Boy & the School of Mines.—3 I know it is rather unreasonable, but you must let me come a little after 10 o clock on Sunday morning 16th— If in any way inconvenient, send me line to “6 Queen Anne St. W.”,4 but if I do not hear, I will (stomacho volente)5 call, but I will not stay very long & spoil your whole morning as a holiday.—

Will you turn 2 or 3 times in your mind this question: What I called pangenesis means that each cell throws off an atom of its contents or a gemmule & that these aggregated from the true ovule or bud &c.—6

Now I want to know whether I could not invent a better word.

Cyttarogenesis, ie cell-genesis is more true & expressive but long.—

Atomogenesis, sounds rather better, I think, but an “atom” is an object which cannot be divided; & term might refer to the origin of atom of inorganic matter.—7

I believe I like pangenesis best, though so indefinite; & though my wife says it sounds wicked like pantheism; but I am so familiar now with this word, that I cannot judge, I supplicate you to help me.—

My dear Huxley | Yours ever most truly | C. Darwin

Footnotes

The year is established by the reference to the Darwins’ visit to London (see n. 2, below) and the discussion of an alternative term to pangenesis (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1867]). June 15 was a Saturday in 1867.
The Darwins in the event went to London from 17 to 24 June (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix II)).
CD’s youngest son was Horace, then aged 16. Huxley was a professor at the Royal School of Mines (L. Huxley 1900).
CD gave the address of his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin (Post Office London directory 1867).
Stomacho volente: stomach willing.
Huxley had read CD’s manuscript on pangenesis in 1865 (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to T. H. Huxley, 12 July [1865]).
See letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1867], and letter from G. H. Darwin, [3 June 1867].

Summary

Asks THH to think about a better name for "Pangenesis"; suggests "Cytarrogenesis" or "Atomogenesis", but still prefers vaguer "Pangenesis".

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5568
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 235)
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5568,” accessed on 20 July 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-5568.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15

letter