To John Lubbock 27 October 1
My dear Lubbock.
I received this morning your paper & have read it attentively.2 It is to me decidedly interesting, & as a whole very clear. But without some special object (& trusting not much to my own judgment) I shd. have almost thought it wd. have been better to have waited a little longer before publishing. For you discuss (& in a very interesting manner) such high points towards the close, that the premises ought to be extra certain:3 in the beginning you put very modestly & candidly the deficiences in your evidence about not having traced every step in the formation of the ephippial eggs, & in regard to impregnation.4 Certainly if these points could have been more thoroughily cleared up, your paper would have been much more valuable. (V. Back of Page)— But do not think that I wish to underrate the novelty viz about the spermatozoa, male organs, structure of case of ephippium, & the stages, as far as you have traced them, of formation of ephippium.— The two sorts of eggs from a “female” is a new & striking point. To go into a few details.
In p. 1. I shd. have thought the expression that “at once evident” that Daphnia was a case of “Lucina sine C.” was rather strong;5 for why shd not a priori the Ephippium have been produced without impregnation as well as the “ordinary eggs”.— it may be very probable that Daphnia is case in point.—
p. 1. you use word “former”; in my opinion every author who uses “former & latter” ought to be executed; & this wd. clear the world of all authors except Maccaulay.—6
p. 10 is not very clear in parts, owing, I think, to your varying your terms “cells” “eggs” “darkened” “brown”7
p. 18. Surely ought you not to give your own facts pretty full (& references to others) about ova being produced by females for successive times without males.— When I met this page, I turned back, thinking that I had overlooked some whole page.—
I shd. have doubted whether it was worth while to have given such long extracts from Baird & M. Edwards, as you state that Straus more accurate.8
I have appended a few pencil marks to some sentences, which required twice reading over, which no sentence ought to do.
Do not mistake my first remarks, & suppose for one moment that I do not think your present materials worth publishing: only I shd. have liked to have seen them still more perfect;—but it is quite likely that I carry this notion to an extreme.— Trust more to Huxley’s opinion than to mine, if you can get him to read the M.S.— — I do most honestly admire your powers of observation & zeal; & you will do, much in Nat. History, notwithstanding your terrible case of “pursuit of knowledge under riches”, as I said the other day.—
Farewell— I am sorry that you are poorly— I hope & fully expect that I shall be well enough to see you on Wednesday if you come
Adios | C. Darwin
The evidence in regard to fecundation & the 2 sorts of eggs is thus, is it not?—
Ordinary eggs are produced for 2 or 3 successive times in same individual without males; but not I suppose for successive generations.— I suppose existence of a spermatheca is very improbable.—9
Ephippial eggs are never produced without presence of males, (& you have a good long experience in this?)10 but the presence of males does not necessarily in your experience, induce ephippial eggs.— ie Whilst males are present & even seen attached to females, “ordinary” eggs are produced.— Is this not so? Certainly evidence seems pretty strong for your view: but yet, if I have put the case right, still further evidence or still longer experience wd. be desirable.—
Wd. it not be adviseable to give some summing up of evidence
Comments on JL’s paper on Daphnia, ["An account of methods of reproduction in Daphnia and of the structure of the ephippium", Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 147 (1857): 79–100].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1979,” accessed on 20 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-1979