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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   22 November [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Nov. 22

My dear Huxley

I am so much obliged to you for telling me about Mac donnell & Mac donald:2 Since writing to you I have had a second, such a capital, letter from him.3 He will in time come round to our view on Species as I believe.—   For Heaven sake don’t write an anti-Darwinian article; you would do it so confoundedly well.— I have sometimes amused myself with thinking how I could best pitch into myself, & I believe I could give two or three good digs; but I will see you — first, before I will try.— I shall be very impatient to see the Review.4 If it succeeds, it may really do much, very much good.—

I cannot imagine what name in one of your notes I mistook (what an odd thing that I shd. not read your handwriting) for Von Siebold.5 I remember you said that the man had written to enquire where one of your Reviews was;—that he was interested in subject;—that in some work on Ethnography he had already expressed similar views, founded, chiefly, I think on geographical considerations; & lastly that perhaps he would take opportunity publickly to say something more on subject. This latter remembrance made me ask whether he had written.—   I now remember you began your note by saying he was equal to Owen + Agassiz or some such expression. I cannot have dreamed all this.6 I suppose I shall some time come to London & shall see you & you must tell me who it is.—

Ever my dear Huxley | Yours most truly | C. Darwin

I heard today from Murray that I must set to work at once on new Edit of Origin. He sold at his sale 700 copies & has not 12 the number. Says the Reviews have not injured sale.—   I shall always think those early Reviews, almost entirely yours,—did the subject an enormous service.—   If you have any important suggestion or criticism to make on any part of Origin I shd. of course be grateful for it. For I mean to correct as far as I can, but not enlarge. How you must be wearied with & hate the subject & it is God’s Blessing if you do not get to hate me.—



Dated by the reference to a new edition of Origin. According to an entry in his ‘Journal’ in March 1861, CD began preparing the third English edition in December 1860 (de Beer ed. 1959).
In his letter to T. H. Huxley, 16 November [1860], CD asked about the Irish naturalist with whom he was corresponding. Huxley presumably explained that CD was confusing Robert M’Donnell, the Dublin co-editor of the Natural History Review, with John Denis MacDonald, the naval surgeon and microscopist.
The letter has not been found; it is further discussed in the letter to Charles Lyell, 24 November [1860].
The first volume in the new series of the Natural History Review.
CD was confusing Karl Theodor Ernst von Siebold with Karl Ernst von Baer. Huxley had told CD about Baer’s general approval of Origin in the letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 August 1860.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Has had a good letter from Robert McDonnell. Thinks he will be converted in time.

Impatient to see first number of Natural History Review.

Murray wants a new edition of Origin immediately.

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: 147)
Physical description
ALS 6pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2994,” accessed on 22 April 2024,

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