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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   21 November 1877

4 Marlborough Place | N.W

Nov 21. 1877

My dear Darwin

Nothing can give me greater pleasure than [there arising] the chance of speaking my mind about you & your work which was afforded me at the Dinner the other night— I said not a word beyond what I believe to be stricly accurate—; and, please Sir, I don’t sneer at any body. There was only a little touch of the whip at starting & it was so tied round with ribbons that it took them some time to find out where the flick had hit—1

My wife made up her mind to stay with the Fosters till tomorrow unfortunately she has been obliged to lay up—2

She would have me write out my speech as well as I could recollect it— so I have sent her a version for her amusement and one of the girls shall write you out a copy of it when she comes back.3

I hope Mrs Darwin is none the worse

Ever | Yours very faithfully | T H Huxley


Huxley had spoken at a dinner in Cambridge following the presentation of an honorary LLD to CD (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 19 November [1877]). According to L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 480, Huxley said: Mr. Darwin’s work had fully earned the distinction you have to-day conferred upon him four and twenty years ago; but I doubt not that he would have found in that circumstance an exemplification of the wise foresight of his revered intellectual mother. Instead of offering her honours when they ran a chance of being crushed beneath the accumulated marks of approbation of the whole civilised world, the University has waited until the trophy was finished, and has crowned the edifice with the delicate wreath of academic appreciation.
Henrietta Anne Huxley was staying with Michael and Margaret Sarah Foster at Great Shelford, near Cambridge.
Huxley had five daughters, all unmarried at this date. For recollections of his speech, see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 480, and ML 1: 371. No copy of the speech has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL; there is a copy at Imperial College London, Records and Archives, Miscellaneous Darwiniana, papers of T. H. Huxley, 41.151.


ML: More letters of Charles Darwin: a record of his work in a series of hitherto unpublished letters. Edited by Francis Darwin and Albert Charles Seward. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1903.


He said nothing in his tribute to CD that was not strictly accurate. Has written out a version as well as he can recollect it and will send CD a copy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Marlborough Place, 4
Source of text
DAR 166: 348
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11244,” accessed on 13 May 2021,