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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   25 June 1874

My dear Darwin

I return the proof corrected but I think I had better see a revise—1 I have put in a reference to the Abbè Lecomte lest it should be thought I meant our chèr Owen2   The type is quite big enough & please let it be called a Note ‘Supplement’ is altogether too big a name for so small a matter3

I am up to my eyes in work & very jolly

All of us send love to all of you | Ever | Yours very faithfully | T H Huxley

4 Marlborough Place | June 25 1874


Huxley had contributed a section on the comparative development of human and simian brains for the second edition of Descent, which was in preparation. See n. 3, below, and the letters from T. H. Huxley, 14 April 1874 and 16 April 1874; no intervening letters to Huxley on the subject have been found.
In Descent 2d ed., p. 205 and n. 80, Huxley complained that Louis Pierre Gratiolet’s conclusions that there were differences between the brains of humans and certain primates had been used by ‘persons incompetent to appreciate their foundation’ to suggest that humans could not be related to chimpanzees or orang-utans; as an example he named Alphonse Joseph Lecomte and the second edition of his ‘terrible pamphlet’ on Darwinism and the origins of humans (Lecomte 1873). Huxley had repeatedly attacked the comparative anatomist Richard Owen for his insistence that human brains were anatomically unique (ODNB).
Huxley’s contribution was published as ‘Note on the resemblances and differences in the structure and the development of the brain in man and apes’ at the end of chapter 7 of Descent 2d ed., pp. 199–206.


Returns proof of his note on brain for 2d ed. of Descent. Has added a reference to Abbé Lecomte’s "terrible pamphlet" [Le Darwinisme et l’origine de l’homme (1873)] "lest it be thought I meant our cher Owen".

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Marlborough Place, 4
Source of text
DAR 166: 334
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9510,” accessed on 17 June 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22