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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   22 October [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. [Sevenoaks, Kent.]

Oct 22d

My dear H.

I have been glad to sign & forward the paper, for I have very long thought it a sin that the immense funds of the Universities shd. be wasted in fellowships, except a few for paying for education.2 But when I was at Cambridge, it would have been an unjustifiable sneer to have spoken of the place as one for Education, always excepting the men who went in for Honours.

You speak of another resolution “in the interest of the anti-letter-writing association”—but alas this never arrived!3

I shd. like a Society formed so that everyone might receive pleasant letters & never answer them.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin

We return home on Saturday after 3 weeks of the most astounding dullness, doing nothing & thinking of nothing.—4 I hope my Brain likes it—as for myself it is dreadful doing nothing.


The year is established by the reference to the petition against prize fellowships (see n. 2, below).
CD had signed a petition supporting the abolition of prize fellowships at universities (ML 2: 442). Huxley attended a meeting of educators on 16 November 1872 at the Freemasons’ Tavern in London. A resolution was passed stating, ‘That the present mode of awarding Fellowships as prizes has been found unsuccessful as a means of promoting mature study and original research, and that it is, therefore, desirable that it should be discontinued’ (The Times, 23 November 1872, p. 4). For more on the system of fellowships and the movement for educational reform, see MacLeod 1971.
Huxley’s letter has not been found.
CD stayed in Sevenoaks from 5 to 26 October 1872 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Supports the abolition of prize fellowships at the universities.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 301)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8567,” accessed on 17 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20