skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   [19 November 1859]1

Well Terrace | Ilkley, Otley | Yorkshire


Dear Lubbock

It is Mr. Phillips of Down.2 He is an invalid & little accustomed to writing & I am sure would hate extremely explaining on paper. As you will be absent for month & as I hope at about that time to be at home, I will not write but will call on my return & inform you.—

Thank you much for asking me to Brighton. I hope much that you will enjoy your holiday.—

I have told Murray to send a copy for you to Mansion House St, & I am surprised that you have not received it—3 There are so many valid & weighty arguments against my notions, that you or anyone if you wish on the other side, will easily persuade yourself that I am wholly in error, & no doubt I am in part in error, perhaps wholly so, though I cannot see the blindness of my ways.—4

I daresay when Thunder & Lightning were first found to be due to Secondary causes, some regretted to give up the idea that each flash was caused by the direct hand of God.—

Farewell. I am feeling very unwell today so no more.— | Yours very truly | C. Darwin


Since Lubbock had not yet received his copy of Origin, it seems likely that the letter was written after 11 November 1859, the day copies were distributed. The following Saturday was 19 November.
William Waker Phillips resided at Down Hall. CD’s Account book (Down House MS) records that he received a payment of £10 12s. from Mr Phillips on 17 December. The payment was Phillips’s subscriptions for the national school in Down and for the Down Friendly Club (see letters to John Lubbock, 14 December [1859] and 17 December [1859]).
The banking company of Lubbock, Forster & Co. had its headquarters at 11 Mansionhouse Street, London. John Lubbock was a partner in the firm.


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.


Has told John Murray to send copy of the Origin. There are "many valid and weighty arguments against my notions".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 263: 16 (EH 88206465)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2527,” accessed on 22 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7