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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   20 February 1871

My dear Darwin

Best thanks for your new book a copy of which I find awaiting me this morning—1 But I wish you would not bring your books out when I am so busy with all sorts of things— You know I can’t shew my face anywhere in society without having read them—and I consider it too bad

No doubt too, it is full of suggestions just like that I have hit upon by chance at p. 212 of vol I. which connects the periodicity of vital phenomena with antecedent conditions—2

Fancy lunacy & menstruation coming out of the primary fact that one’s nth. ancestor lived between tide-marks! I declare it’s the grandest suggestion I have heard of for an age

I have been working like a horse for the last fortnight, with the fag end of influenza hanging about me—and I am improving under the process, which shews what a good tonic work is—3

I shall try if I can’t pick out from ‘Sexual selection some practical hint for the improvement of gutter-babies & bring in a resolution thereupon at the Schoolboard4

Ever Yours faithfully | T H Huxley

Jermyn St

Feby. 20. 1871.


Huxley’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Descent (Appendix IV).
Huxley refers to Descent 1: 212 n. 27.
Huxley was professor at the Royal School of Mines and held a number of other positions in societies and other official bodies; his health broke down in December 1871 (ODNB).
Huxley was a member of the London School Board, and sat on its education committee (ODNB).


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Thanks for new book [Descent].

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Abbey Place, 26
Source of text
DAR 166: 324
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7494,” accessed on 16 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19