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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Dana   25 May [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent.

May 25th

My dear Sir

Although I have nothing particular to say I must thank you for all the trouble you have so kindly taken in answering my question on the relation of Arctic & Antarctic Crustacea as fully as the present state of knowledge permits.2 I was very curious on the point, otherwise I would not have troubled you. And indeed I have been many times very troublesome to you, & you have invariably received my letters of enquiry in the kindest manner.

How the U. States are going ahead in Natural History! I had not heard of the late expedition, though I had heard of Mr Stimpson before: indeed he formerly sent me some cirripedes.3 Prof. Huxley has lately been working on the homologies of Crustacea, & has come to some important differences with Milne Edwards: he has published an outline in some Lectures in a Medical Journal, but I suppose will soon publish in extenso.—4

My neighbour J. Lubbock is working on the anatomy of the larvæ of Diptera, & has made most minute & beautiful drawings of their muscular system:5 I wish he had more time & he would do good work. As I sometimes tell him, he is a case of the “pursuit of knowledge under riches”, which seems as great a drawback as poverty.6 I am glad Lyell has sent you his supplement, for it strikes me as full of remarkable facts.7

Farewell—Floreat Scientia—with very sincere thanks for all your kindness.

Yours very truly | C. Darwin


The year is given by the relationship to the letter from J. D. Dana, 27 April 1857.
In his last letter to CD, 27 April 1857, Dana had mentioned that Louis Agassiz had a collector who was to explore Pacific islands. He also told CD of William Stimpson’s progress in describing the Crustacea collected by the North Pacific Exploring Expedition.
Thomas Henry Huxley devoted the final three lectures of his course on natural history to the Crustacea. These lectures, delivered at the School of Mines, were published in a series in the Medical Times & Gazette (T. H. Huxley 1856–7). In lecture eleven, published in the issue of 23 May 1857, Huxley put forward a new interpretation of the division of the segments of the archetypal crustacean originally proposed by Henri Milne-Edwards.
John Lubbock was studying variation in larval musculature. In Lubbock 1859, he presented his observations on the muscles of the larvae of the moth Pygaera bucephala. In DAR 45: 105, there is a note in CD’s hand which reads: ‘Lubbock’s Muscles. Wonderful variation & attachment.’
Lubbock had joined his father’s bank, Lubbock, Forster & Co., as a partner in 1848 at the age of 15 (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 22).
C. Lyell 1857a included a discussion of the fossils recently discovered in the Purbeck beds near Swanage (see letter from Charles Lyell, [16 January 1857]). CD had mentioned the work in his previous letter to Dana (letter to J. D. Dana, 5 April [1857]).


Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Huxley, Thomas Henry. 1856–7. Lectures on general natural history. Medical Times & Gazette n.s. 12: 429–32, 481–4, 507–11, 563–7, 618–23; 13: 27–30, 131–4, 157–60, 278–81, 383–6, 462–3, 537–8, 586–8, 635–9; 14: 133–5, 181–3, 255-7, 353–5, 505–8, 638–40; 15: 159–62, 186–9, 238–41, 467-71.

Lubbock, John. 1859. On the ova and pseudova of Insects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 149: 341–69. [Vols. 7,9]


Thanks him for information concerning Crustacea.

Comments on natural history study in the U. S.

Mentions work done by Huxley on Crustacea ["Description of a new crustacean", J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 13 (1857): 363–9];

John Lubbock on larvae of Diptera.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
James Dwight Dana
Sent from
Source of text
Yale University Library: Manuscripts and Archives (Silliman Family Papers (MS 450) Box 19, folder 25)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2094,” accessed on 4 October 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6