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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Andrew Murray   3 May 1860

Eding. 1 Scotland Sr.

3 May 1860.—

My dear Sir

I have been from home & only returned yesterday—so that I have been unable sooner to thank you for your kind letters.—   I was sure you would read my remarks in the spirit with which I offered them to you.—1

You are quite correct in supposing that want of space has prevented me alluding to many parts of your argument wh. bear upon my objections.— I did allude to them—but my paper has been so sadly cut down to bring it within the space allowed me that I am often compelled to do injustice both to you & to myself—   that you bear so patiently the omission of what you must think a triumphant refutation of what I say, only makes me regret the more the dismemberment wh. my paper has undergone.—   Want of space also prevents me enlarging upon & explaining some of my own crude notions— For instance as to “marrying opposites”2 I imagine the seminal fluid of a hermaphrodite may be more readily received or taken up by the typical joint than by an abnormal one, in the same way that I hold the pollen of the typical plant to be prepotent over other varieties.—   You dispute this & think it not fair to make the statet. so broadly unless I have facts to support it & that I should give them—   I think I have facts, but I have not space to give them—   For instance, Mr Isaac Anderson3 a great hybridiser here—(that is great here as well as a hybridizer here) while working at making white calceolarias found the greatest difficulty in what he calls “washing out” the yellow—   He had (by working in the dark & under blue glass) succeeded in getting a calceolaria with a white ground—at least that was the means by wh. he imagined he had succeeded—and he bred white calceolarias from that plant:—but in all his crossings the slightest tinge of yellow in any of the parents always carried the day—the native or typical yellow was prepotent.—

I have endeavoured to avail myself of your remarks so as to make the paper quite consistent with your views.—   I have struck out wholly the passage about use & disuse & have appended a note to the “abominable animal” saying that I only quote it (as I have reason to believe you intended it) as an extreme & somewhat extravagant illustration intended to show forcibly the operation of Natural Selection—4 I have cancelled the ostriches & the treeless plains—& considering that these passages are the only ones which approach to what is called smart writing the sacrifice is good evidence of my sincerity—   “Defiantly” no longer rears his head—and I have stated as regards the cave animals that altho your illustration is taken from Schiodtes paper on insects, your remarks as you yourself have had the kindness to inform me were not intended to be Confined to insects.— 5

I have been very much interested by your account of the result brought out by Mr Salters grouping the spirifers.6—and so far as this goes to prove descent I cannot help going very much along with you—but descent by what you would call a leap is all that I see in it—   However without actually testing this & other evidences by ocular inspection it is very much like dogmatizing without knowledge to give an opinion upon it—

You wish a reference to the papers where the caves I mention are treated of.— There is not much of a paper about any of them— My information is taken from some descriptions of new insects found in these caves.—

Betharram    Low Pyrenees— Annales de la Soc: Ent: de France 1857. (Bulletin p. xciii)7 Trou des Fades— pres d’Hyères. Do 1859. p. 678 Gargas— High Pyrenees Do.〃  p. 719 Grotto des Ours. Ligurie Orientale Do. p. 2610 Monte Viso Do. p. 2711

The Carniolan Cave Anophthalmi are described by Sturm12—but Schiodte is the only author so far as I know who has given anything like an accot. of the Caves (except Muller perhaps)

Laibach (Müller) Stettiner&Ent: Zeitung (1856— 17th. year) p. 31013 Do. Carniola—(Müller)&Do. 1857— (18th. yr.). p. 6514

This is a good paper— Ueber die Lebensweise der Augenlosen Käfer in den Krainer Höhlen—

You ask me how the blind Paussi in foreign Countries get from one ants nest to another—   Your question is pertinent enough as regards some insects such as Claviger, Batrisus, &c., which are blind & live in ants nests— But the Paussi are not blind (at least I know of no blind ones).—   On the contrary if we are to believe Afzelius15 (one species is) provident with a phosphorescent globe to the antennae which it bears before it like a coach lamp giving light to good large prominent Eyes while traversing the dark galleries of the ants nests—   I would like to believe this.—   But it is scarcely less curious to find Paussi (different species mind—up to nearly 100 in number) found in ants nests all over the world, each country having its peculiar species—   Physical condition I say— Natural Selection you say—   It is a case very like that of the Cave insects—

I shall send you a copy of the paper when it is thrown off.

Believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Andw. Murray

CD annotations

1.1 I have … upon it— 4.6] crossed pencil
Top of first page: ‘16’16
End of letter: ‘May 5— 1860’ pencil; ‘Ch 7’17 brown crayon


See letters to Andrew Murray, 28 April [1860] and 28 [April 1860].
Murray 1860a, p. 277. See the enclosure to the letter to Andrew Murray, 28 April [1860].
Isaac Anderson-Henry was an Edinburgh solicitor and horticulturist (R. Desmond 1977).
Murray 1860a, p. 275 n. See the enclosure to the letter to Andrew Murray, 28 April [1860] and n. 14.
Schiödte [1849] was referred to in Murray 1860a, p. 287. See the enclosure to the letter to Andrew Murray, 28 April [1860] and n. 17.
Murray refers to the report of a meeting of the Société Entomologique de France, at which Charles Delarouzée exhibited cave insects from Bétharram in the Hautes-Pyrénées (Annales de la Société Entomologique de France (1857), Bulletin, pp. xciii–xcv).
Linder 1859, p. 71.
Sturm 1844 and 1847.
The number of CD’s portfolio of notes on hybridism.
A reference to chapter 7 of Natural selection, in which blind animals and the effects of use and disuse are discussed.


Afzelius, Adam. 1798. Observations on the genus Pausus, and description of a new species. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 4: 243–75.

Delarouzée, Charles. 1859. Description d’un nouveau genre de Carabiques. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 3d ser. 7: 65–9.

Desmond, Ray. 1977. Dictionary of British and Irish botanists and horticulturists, including plant collectors and botanical artists. 3d ed. London: Taylor and Francis.

Fairmaire, Léon. 1859. Miscellanea entomologica. Troisième partie. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 3d ser. 7: 21–64.

Linder, Jules. 1859. Description de trois nouvelles espèces d’Anophthalmus trouvées en France. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France 3d ser. 7: 71–3.

Müller, Hermann. 1856. Beschreibung eines augenlosen Käfers (Glyptomerus cavicola) aus der Familie der Staphylinen. Entomologische Zeitung 17: 308–12.

Müller, Hermann. 1857. Ueber die Lebensweise der augenlosen Käfer in den Krainer Höhlen. Entomologische Zeitung 18: 65–74.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Schiödte, Jörgen C. [1849]. Bidrag til den underjordiske Fauna. Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Skrifter. Naturvidenskabelig og Mathematisk n.s. 2 (1851): 1–39. [Vols. 6,8]

Sturm, Jakob. 1844. ‘Anophthalmus’ blindlaufkäfer. Neue Gattung aus der Familie der Caraben. Nürnberg.


Responds to CD’s comments on his review of the Origin. Regrets lack of space often causes him to do injustice to CD and to himself. Agrees to alter some of his statements

and offers some evidence for his opinions on plant hybridising.

Sends references to papers mentioning cave insects. Paussi are not blind, as CD thinks, though some other insects that live in ants’ nests are. Each country over the world has its peculiar species of Paussi, though they all live in ants’ nests. "Physical condition I say – Natural Selection you say".

Letter details

Letter no.
Andrew Dickson (Andrew) Murray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 47: 153–153a
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2780,” accessed on 22 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8