skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   8 September [1854]

Down Farnborough Kent

Sept. 8th

My dear Sir

I am extremely much obliged to you for your interesting note. Now that you are enjoying holidays,1 it is really a shame to ask you to write again, but if you wd send me literally a single line, just to say which of the two Leuckart’s, whether “Fr. Sig.”2 who has been publishing much since 1820, or Rud. Leuckart,3 who published in 1847 on Sepiola, & in 1851 on Polymorphismus.4

I enclose my list & I have still one more copy, which I will either keep for somebody turning without you think fit to add another name.—

I have sent my Book for you to Jermyn St, & Mr Baily says he has sent it on to Dr Lankester according to your instructions.—

I am much pleased to hear what you say about the Branchiæ of Balanus: it is exactly my view, the ovigerous fræna having been metamorphosed to this new function, & the glands having become aborted.— And the case strikes me as rather pretty.5

If ever so practised a hand as you sets to work on the Cirripedia I have no doubt whatever, you will discover many errors on my part: I learnt the art of minute dissection in this work, which for a long time was the work of a mere beginner.—6

I most heartily agree with you, in what you say about Owen & the pursuit of Science.—7

Very sincerely yours | C. Darwin

I cannot find out in any Bibliographia, where Leydig8 has published, though I know the name.— Will it not be rash to send on chance to Würzburg Krohn9 I think I cd send to care of Müller as he often publishes in the Archif.10

I will follow your advice & send through Williams & Norgate11


Huxley was in Tenby, South Wales, where he was surveying and collecting various marine invertebrates inhabiting the coastal areas in connection with his proposed coastal survey and work on the marine natural history of Britain (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 124–5).
Friedrich Sigismund Leuckart had been, until his death in 1843, professor of zoology at Freiburg im Breisgau. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 2 September [1854], n. 4.
Karl Georg Friedrich Rudolf Leuckart, nephew of Friedrich Sigismund Leuckart, was then at Giessen.
Leuckart 1847 and 1851.
In Living Cirripedia (1854): 65, CD wrote: ‘I can hardly doubt that the branchiæ in the Balanidæ are the ovigerous fræna of the Lepadidæ in a modified condition; a transformation of function not greater than that of the swimming bladder of a fish into the lungs of the higher Vertebrata.’ Huxley had apparently dissected Balanus specimens found at Tenby.
In T. H. Huxley 1857, p. 238 n., Huxley praised CD’s skill in anatomical dissection and the Cirripedia monograph as ‘one of the most beautiful and complete anatomical and zoological monographs which has appeared in our time, and is the more remarkable as proceeding from a philosopher highly distinguished in quite different branches of science, and not an anatomist ex professo’. Nevertheless, he did differ with some of CD’s interpretations, such as the function of the so-called acoustic gland and his association of the gut-formed gland with the ovaria.
See letter to T. H. Huxley, 2 September [1854] and n. 5.
Franz von Leydig, the microscopist, was at that time a lecturer in physiology at the University of Würzburg.
August David Krohn later published a paper questioning CD’s identification of the cement glands with the ovaria (Krohn 1859) and the prehensile antennae with the fronto-lateral horns of the larva (Krohn 1860).
Johannes Peter Müller was the editor of the Archiv für Anatomie und Physiologie, commonly referred to as Müller’s Archiv.
A publishing firm in London that specialised in foreign scientific publications.


Agrees with THH on metamorphosis of branchiae of Balanus, and on his view of Owen.

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Huxley, T. H.
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 11)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1590,” accessed on 26 February 2017,