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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   16 December [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 16

My dear Huxley

I thank you for your very pleasant & amusing note & invitation to dinner, which I am sorry to say I cannot accept. I shall come up (stomach willing) on Thursday for Phil. Club Dinner & return on Saturday, & I am engaged to my Brother for Friday.1 But I shd. very much like to call at the Museum on Friday or Saturday morning & see you.—2 Would you let me have one line either here or at 57 Queen Anne St (W.) to say at what hour you generally come to Museum & whether you will be probably there on Friday or Saturday. Even if you are at Club, it will be mere chance if we sit near each other.

I will bring up the articles on Thursday afternoon & leave them under charge of Porter at the Museum.— They will consist of larger drawing of a Pouter, a Carrier & rather smaller drawings of some sub-varieties (which breed nearly true) of short-faced Tumblers. Also a small drawing of Scanderoon a kind of Runt & very remarkable breed.— Also a Book with very moderately good drawing of Fan-tail & Barb; but I very much doubt whether worth trouble of enlarging— Also a box (for Heaven-sake take care) with skull of Carrier & short faced Tumbler: also lower jaws (largest size) of Runt middle size of Rock Pigeon & the broad one of Barb. The form of ramus of jaw differs curiously in their jaws.—

Also M.S. of Hybridism & Pigeons,—which will just weary you to death: I will call myself for or send servant for the M.S. & Bones, whenever you have done with them; but do not hurry.—3

You have hit on exact plan, which on advice of Lyell, Murray &c I mean to follow, viz bring out separate volumes in detail & I shall begin with domestic productions;4 but I am determined to try & work very slowly so that, if possible, keep in somewhat better state of health. I had not thought of illustrations; that is capital advice.—5

Farewell my good & admirable agent for the promulgation of damnable heresies | Ever yours | C. Darwin


CD was planning to attend a meeting of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society on 22 December 1859, staying with Erasmus Alvey Darwin. In the event, he did not make this trip (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 21 [December 1859]).
The Museum of Practical Geology, in Jermyn Street, was associated with the Royal School of Mines, to which Huxley was palaeontologist and lecturer on natural history (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 132).
Huxley had asked CD for information and material illustrative of his species theory for his forthcoming lecture at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 10 February 1860 (see letters to T. H. Huxley, 27 November [1859] and 13 December [1859]).
CD’s plan was not fully carried out, but he published his work on variation in domesticated animals and plants (Variation) in 1868.
CD followed Huxley’s suggestion in Variation, the first volume of which contained 43 illustrations.


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Will bring materials for Royal Institution lecture [when he comes to London].

Plans to bring out separate detailed volumes [on his theory], starting with domestic variation.

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: 87)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2585,” accessed on 13 September 2023,

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