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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   18 September [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Sept 18th.

My dear Huxley

I was indeed grieved to receive your news this morning.— 1 I cannot resist writing, though there is nothing to be said.

I know well how intolerable is the bitterness of such grief.2 Yet believe me, that time, & time alone, acts wonderfully. To this day, though so many years have passed away, I cannot think of one child without tears rising in my eyes; but the grief is become tenderer & I can even call up the smile of our lost darling, with something like pleasure. My wife & self deeply sympathise with Mrs. Huxley & yourself. Reflect that your poor little fellow cannot have had much suffering.

God Bless you. | Charles Darwin

I have written to John Lubbock


Noel Huxley, the Huxleys’ oldest child, died from scarlet fever on 15 September 1860. He was nearly four years old. See L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 151–2, 216.
CD refers to the death of his oldest daughter, Anne Elizabeth Darwin, aged ten, in 1851. See Correspondence vol. 5.


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


Expresses his grief upon hearing of the death of THH’s young son. Recalls his own bitter loss of a child.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
SP 19 60
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley papers)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2920B,” accessed on 25 February 2024,

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