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Darwin Correspondence Project

From L. H. Morgan   1 August 1871


August 1st. 1871

My Dear Sir

Edward M Moore M.D. L.L. D. of Rochester read a paper before our Club on Hybridity not long since, and when I came away I asked him to give me an abstract of his conclusions to hand to you. This he did and when I visited you I forgot to take it with me. I now enclose it.1

We leave for Liverpool tomorrow morning and sail on the Oceanic on Thursday: If we have a prosperous voyage we may expect to reach New York soon after your sons who left I think on Saturday last and are now well out at sea2

I remember my visit to your house with much pleasure.

With regards to Mrs & Miss Darwin3 and a good bye for yourself

Yours truly | L H Morgan

Charles Darwin Esq

I have written to Dr Henry, Sec. of the Smithsonian Institution to send you a copy of my work on Consanguinity through the London Agent of the Institution Mr William Wesley 28, Essex St. Strand.4 You may expect to receive in the course of two months.

I have read Sir John Lubbocks paper on the subject before the Anthropological Institute in Feb last. It contains a number of judicious observations; but I find he has placed himself against some of my most important, and as I think, best sustained conclusions.5 Time will show where the truth of the matter lies.

L H. M.


Morgan refers to Edward Mott Moore and to the Club of Rochester, or Pundit Club, which Morgan had founded in 1854 (ANB). Morgan visited CD at Down on 9 June 1871 (see letter to L. H. Morgan, 7 June 1871 and n. 1, and letter from L. H. Morgan, 8 June 1871). Morgan forgot to enclose Moore’s abstract and sent it on later; see letter from L. H. Morgan, [1 August 1871].
George Howard Darwin and Francis Darwin had sailed for New York on Saturday 29 July 1871 (see letter to Asa Gray, 16 July [1871]); Morgan had provided information for their visit (see letter to L. H. Morgan, 14 June [1871]). The Oceanic was the first of a new and faster fleet of steamships built for the recently constituted White Star Line–Oceanic Steam Navigation Company; she had made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York in March 1871 (Gardiner 2006, p. 205).
Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin.
Morgan refers to Joseph Henry and William Wesley. There is a copy of Morgan’s Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family (Morgan 1870) in the Darwin Library–Down. Morgan had sent CD an advance copy of the concluding chapter the previous year (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter from L. H. Morgan, 9 August 1870).
In his paper ‘On the development of relationships’ (Lubbock 1871a), John Lubbock rejected Morgan’s conclusion that the close correlation of naming systems for kinship used by Native American peoples and by Malays suggested common descent (Lubbock 1871a, pp. 3–7, 25–6). For the reception of Morgan’s theories and for Lubbock’s wider criticisms, see Trautmann 1987, pp. 256–7.


ANB: American national biography. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. 24 vols. and supplement. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999–2002.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Gardiner, Robin. 2006. The history of the White Star Line. Paperback ed. Hersham, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing.

Morgan, Lewis Henry. 1870. Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.

Trautmann, Thomas R. 1987. Lewis Henry Morgan and the invention of kinship. Berkeley: University of California Press.


John Lubbock’s paper [? "Remarks on stone implements from western Africa", Rep. BAAS 40 (1870): 154–5] opposes some of his best sustained conclusions.

Letter details

Letter no.
Lewis Henry Morgan
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 240
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7891,” accessed on 18 October 2019,

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