skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project


From T. H. Huxley To St. G. J. Mivart   [23 December 1874]

Dear Mivart

I am much obliged for the letter which you have sent me in reply to the message which Mr Roberts was kind enough to convey from me— The letter is marked private & confidential, & I have endeavoured to respect your wishes in that matter So far as such a course may be consistent with justice to those concerned 〈    〉 〈    〉 with its contents.

You tell me that you now regret the publication of the attack on Mr G. Darwin, & that the impression made upon your mind by his article, & under the influence of which you wrote, is not to be justified— And I gather that this regret & conviction that your attack was not justifiable have existed in 〈    〉 〈    〉 mind for some months— in fact ever since the article was published.

Under these circumstances, had I been in your position, there were two things I shd have felt it my duty to do. In the first place I should have written to Mr G. Darwin or to Mr D.— with whom you have been in friendly correspondence & offered him the fullest & frankest apology I cd put into words, & in the second place, I 〈    〉 〈    〉 requested the Ed. of the 〈    〉 to insert a note fully & fairly retracting all that cd be considered unjust & therefore offensive to Mr. G. D—

You did neither of these things, & when an apology was extorted from the J.— what appeared presumably with your sanction, if not from your hand, was a defence rather than a retractation.

Proceedings of this kind are not in accordance with what I understood to be the rules by which men shd endeavour to guide their conduct— & as I concur with Mr G. D that the charges made & insinuated against him are, as he says “absolutely false”—it will be obvious to you that our views on those points which I hold to be the most important of all to mankind, are too hopelessly divergent to readers familiar intercourse between us pleasant or adviseable

I am | Yours very truly | T. H. H—


A severe letter of rebuke to Mivart for his attack on G. H. Darwin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Huxley, T. H.
Mivart, St G. J.
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 336
Physical description
6pp damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9774,” accessed on 28 October 2016,