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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   24 December [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Dec. 24th

My dear Huxley

Your letter to Mivart is a tremendous reproof to him.2 (I have read it again, it is tremendous.) As he now owns that he has thought himself for some time in the wrong, it makes his miserable shabby equivocating rejoinder worse.3 I have forwarded your note to me & copy of note to Mivart to Hooker, & told him to return the latter to you.—4 As you think it best, I will not write to Mivart at present, but I do not feel inclined to allow such conduct to pass without telling the author what I think of him in plain language. As for Mivart, now that he afraid of you, saying he is sorry, it goes for nothing. He practised a similar dodge with me about some passages in the Genesis of Species.5 Nor would a private apology to George in my opinion be at all sufficient.

To my knowledge one person has been disgusted & horrified at George, for believing in the Quarterly.— I will wait & do nothing at present, but if George receives a mere simple expression of regret, or if we do not hear, I do not think I shall resist telling him how base a man I think him:

You have been, my dear Huxley, most generous in this whole affair.

Yours affecy | C. Darwin

If, as I understand, you have made out the homology of the skull, it is in my opinion, the greatest discovery for many a year.6


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. H. Huxley, 23 December 1874.
See enclosure to letter from T. H. Huxley, 23 December 1874. Huxley had censured St George Jackson Mivart for failing to apologise for critical remarks about George Howard Darwin’s work made in an article in the Quarterly Review ([Mivart] 1874b, p. 70).
See Quarterly Review 137 (1874): 588–9, and Appendix V.
For CD and Mivart’s correspondence about Mivart 1871a, see Correspondence vol. 19.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 21 December 1874. Huxley’s paper on the skull of Amphioxus (T. H. Huxley 1874b) was read at the Royal Society of London on 17 December 1874. See also letter from T. H. Huxley, 8 December 1874 and n. 4.


THH’s letter to Mivart is "tremendous". CD’s feelings and intentions about the matter.

If THH has made out homology of the skull, it is grandest discovery in years.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science and Technology Archives (Huxley 5: 311)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9776,” accessed on 26 March 2019,

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