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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   [4 July 1860]1

Sudbrook Park | Richmond.


Dear Lubbock

I have just seen in the Times that Mrs Lubbock has been confined, & I most heartily congratulate you on the anxiety being over.—2

I was very sorry that I was quite unable to go to Oxford;3 I have been bad enough here, but I began yesterday to revive.— I had the joyful news this morning that Etty has been safely moved to Hartfield in Sussex. I return home on Saturday evening & go to Hartfield on Tuesday or Wednesday    We shall stay a week or so there & then for Etty’s sake go to sea-side.—

If you have nothing better to do will you pay me half-an-hour visit on Sunday or Monday at any hour. It is so long since I have seen you that I shd very much like just to have a little chat with you before going away, if you can so manage it. I would have come to High Elms to call on you; but everything knocks me up so easily & so completely—   I most truly hope that Mrs Lubbock is going on well. I shall hear at Down.—   Do not trouble yourself to write, but come if you can.

Dear Lubbock | Believe me Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin


Dated by the reference to the Lubbocks’ new baby (see n. 2, below).
Ellen Frances Lubbock gave birth to Constance Mary Lubbock on 2 July 1860. The birth was reported in the The Times, 4 July 1860.
Lubbock had attended the Oxford meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He spoke in support of CD’s theory at the Saturday, 30 June, session at which Thomas Henry Huxley confronted the bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce (see Correspondence vol.8, Appendix VI). In a letter to Francis Darwin dated 2 January 1896 (DAR 106/7 (ser. 4): 30), Lubbock recalled that he was ‘proud of having born my part in the great Oxford debate … I took the point in reply to Wilberforce & [Robert] FitzRoy that the embryology of the individual in many cases represents the past history of the Species.’ See also Hutchinson ed. 1914, 1: 50, and F. Darwin ed. 1892, p. 239.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Birth of JL’s child.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Sudbrook Park
Source of text
DAR 263: 38 (EH 88206482)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2859,” accessed on 2 June 2023,

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