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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. C. Eyton   22 April 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Ap 22. 76

Dear Eyton

It is a pleasure to me to see your handwriting as it brings back vividly before my mind the many pleasant days I formerly spent at Eyton.1 I have received an account of the skeleton from the Geological Survey of Canada, but I would wager that it will turn out to have nothing to do with man any more than the famous skeleton of the salamander which was for so long a period thought to be human.2 I return the extracts3

Dr Haughton is an old and bitter opponent of mine.4 I am now at work at plants and do not suppose I shall ever return to the consideration of man.

I sincerely hope that you and all your family are well & remain | Yours very truly | Charles Darwin


Eyton’s letter has not been found. Eyton was a Shropshire friend of CD’s and a contemporary of his at Cambridge. The Eyton estate was at Eyton-upon-the-Weald Moors, Shropshire; CD visited it as a young man in the 1820s and 1830s (see Correspondence vols. 1 and 2).
A report of the discovery of a skeleton of a tailed human in Prince Edward Island, Canada, was sent to CD by Robert Bell (see letter from Robert Bell, 28 March 1876). In 1726, Johann Jakob Scheuchzer described a Miocene fossil as Homo diluvii testis (Scheuchzer 1726), believing it to be the remains of a human who had drowned in the biblical flood. In 1811, Georges Cuvier showed it to be the remains of a salamander, and named it Andrias scheuchzeri (Rudwick 2005, pp. 277 and 500–1).
The extracts have not been found.
Samuel Haughton was professor of geology at Dublin University. In Haughton 1859, he criticised CD’s and Alfred Russel Wallace’s papers announcing the theory of natural selection (Darwin and Wallace 1858), and he subsequently criticised Origin in [Haughton] 1860.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

[Haughton, Samuel.] 1860. Βίογένεσις. [Biogenesis.] Natural History Review 7: 23–32.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Rudwick, Martin John Spencer. 2005. Bursting the limits of time: the reconstruction of geohistory in the age of revolution. London and Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Scheuchzer, Johann Jacob. 1726. Homo diluvii testis et θεοσκοπος publicae συζητήσει expositus. Zurich: Joh. Henricus Byrgklinus.


Fondly remembers the days he spent with TCE.

Doubts the Canadian skeleton will have anything to do with man.

Returns extracts.

Samuel Haughton is a bitter opponent.

CD now working on plants;

doubts he will ever return to working on man.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Campbell Eyton
Sent from
Source of text
Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, University of Birmingham (EYT/1/44)
Physical description
LS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10465,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24