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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   20 July [1860]

at Miss Wedgwoods | Hartfield | Tonbridge Wells

July 20th

My dear Lubbock

I am puzzled what to think about the Review.—1 Good periodicals undoubtedly do very good service in cause of Science.—   Unless good men will devote some time to them, they will never be good; yet I cannot avoid regretting that men like Huxley & yourself shd give up much of your precious time to such work. If you had not the Bank work, I shd. be strong for your assisting.— 2 I suppose you could not do such work in Banking hours? If not I must say I doubt about wisdom.—   Do not quote me to Huxley, as it would be so ungracious.—   I have heard from Huxley himself today & I shall tell him that I doubt much the wisdom of his undertaking the work.3

On other hand it is wonderful the amount of work which you hard-working men continue to do.—   In fact, the more I think the more puzzled I feel.—   On one point I am clear, that if it would stop your doing original work you ought not, even pro bono publico, undertake this new work.—   If it would not stop you, I feel sure your name & help would be highly serviceable in a good cause.— This note is a collection of platitudes, but I can say nothing else.— I feel that the subject is of importance; for I am convinced that you are one of the very few philosophical naturalists which this country contains; & therefore you are bound to do the best service which you can in the good cause of Natural Science.—

Poor dear Etty does mend a little, but it is fearfully little, only just perceptibly— The Doctors fear some Mesenteric mischief; but they hope not permanent. Her pulse still keeps high.—   It is wretched work—

GoodBye, my dear friend | Yours affectly | C. Darwin

Have you seen Quarterly R.? Very clever & amusing, & quizzes me so capitally, that I chuckled again, & read it with thorough enjoyment.—4


Thomas Henry Huxley had written to Lubbock to solicit his assistance were he to take over the editorship of the Natural History Review. See preceding letter and L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 209. Lubbock presumably asked CD’s opinion about this matter in a letter that is now missing.
Lubbock was a partner in his father’s bank, Robarts, Lubbock & Co.
See preceding letter.
[Wilberforce] 1860. See the two preceding letters.


[Wilberforce, Samuel.] 1860. [Review of Origin.] Quarterly Review 108: 225–64.


Is puzzled what to think about the [Natural History] Review. Doubts that it is wise that JL and Huxley should give up time to it: "if it would stop your doing original work you ought not, even pro bono publico, undertake the new work".

Reports on Henrietta’s health.

The Quarterly Review [108 (1860): 255–64] quizzes CD "capitally" and he read it with thorough enjoyment.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Wedgwood, S. E. (b) Hartfield
Source of text
DAR 263: 40a (EH 88206447)
Physical description
ALS 5pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2874,” accessed on 27 September 2022,

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