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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   25 November [1859]

Ilkley Wells House | Otley Yorkshire

Nov. 25th

My dear Huxley

I rejoice beyond measure at Lecture.1 I shall be at home in a fortnight, when I could send you splendid folio coloured drawings of Pigeons.2 Would this be in time? If not I think I could write to my servant & have them sent to you.— If I do not hear I shall understand that about 15 or 16 days will be in time.—

I have had a kind yet slashing letter against me from poor dear old Sedgwick, “who has laughed till his sides ached at my Book”3 Phillips is cautious but decidedly, I fear, hostile.—4

Hurrah for Lecture it is grand!

In Haste | C. Darwin


Huxley had apparently completed plans to deliver a lecture on CD’s theory at the Royal Institution of Great Britain (see letter from J. D. Hooker, [21 November 1859], and letter to J. D. Hooker, [22 November 1859]). The lecture was delivered on 10 February 1860 (T. H. Huxley 1860).
At his lecture, Huxley exhibited skulls and illustrations of various breeds of domestic pigeons and discussed CD’s theory of their common origin from the wild rock pigeon (T. H. Huxley 1860,p. 197). See letter to T. H. Huxley, 16 December [1859]. The coloured drawings to which CD refers came from Eaton 1858. See also letter to T. H. Huxley, 13 December [1859].
John Phillips’s letter has not been found. CD had sent him a presentation copy of Origin (see letters to John Phillips, 11 November [1859] and 26 November [1859]).


Eaton, John Matthews. 1858. A treatise on the art of breeding and managing tame, domestic, foreign, and fancy pigeons. London. [vols. 6,7]

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.


Rejoices over THH’s lecture ["On species and races, and their origin", 10 Feb 1860, Not. Proc. R. Inst. G. B. 3 (1858–62): 195–200] to be given at Royal Institution. Offers pigeon illustrations.

Adam Sedgwick has sent a "slashing" letter [2548] about Origin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 74)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2554,” accessed on 18 May 2024,

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