To T. H. Huxley 23 April 1
Down Farnborough Kent
My dear Sir
I have got out all the specimens, which I have thought could by any possibility be of any use to you;2 but I have not looked at them, & know not what state they are in, but shd. be much pleased if they are of the smallest use to you. I enclose a catalogue of Habitats: I thought my notes wd. have turned out of more use: I have copied out such few points as perhaps wd. not be apparent in preserved specimens.— The Bottle shall go to Mr. Gray3 on Thursday next by our weekly carrier.—
I am very much obliged for your Paper on the mollusca;4 I have read it all with much interest; but it wd. be ridiculous in me to make any remarks on a subject on which I am so utterly ignorant; but I can see its high importance. The discovery of the type or “idea” (in your sense, for I detest the word as used by Owen, Agassiz & Co) of each great class, I cannot doubt is one of the very highest ends of Natural History:5 & certainly most interesting to the worker out. Several of your remarks have interested me; I am, however, surprised at what you say versus “anamorphism”: I shd. have thought that the archetype in imagination was always in some degree embryonic, & therefore capable & generally undergoing further development.—6
Is it not an extraordinary fact, the great difference in position of the heart in different species of Cleodora?7 I am a believer that when any part usually constant differs considerably in different allied species; that it will be found in some degree variable, within the limits of the same species:—8 Thus, I shd. expect that if great numbers of specimens of some of the species of Cleodora had been examined with this object in view, the position of the heart in some of the species, wd. have been found variable.— Can you aid me with any analogous facts?
I am very much pleased to hear that you have not given up the idea of noticing my Cirripedia volume.9 All that I have seen since confirms everything of any importance stated in that volume. More especially I have been able rigorously to confirm, in an anomalous species, by the clearest evidence, that the actual cellular contents of the ovarian tubes, by the gland-like action of a modified portion of the continuous tube, passes into the cementing stuff:10 in fact cirripedes make glue out of their own unformed eggs!.11
Pray believe me | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin
I told the above case to Milne Edwards & I saw he did not place the smallest belief in it.—12
On THH’s paper on cephalous Mollusca [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 143 (1853) pt 1: 29–66]. Discovery of the type or "idea" (in THH’s sense, not Owen’s or Agassiz’s) is one of the highest ends of natural history.
position of heart in Cleodora.
Variability within species;
cementing process in cirripedes.
- Letter no.
- Charles Robert Darwin
- Thomas Henry Huxley
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 4)
- Physical description