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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   6 January 1862

11, Mansion House Street, | London, | E.C.1

6 Jany 1862

My dear Mr. Darwin

I should be very much obliged if you would look over the general remarks in the last 12 dozen pages of the paper which I enclose, as I am particularly anxious to know what you think of my notions.2

I often long for a good talk with you & am very sorry to live so far off.3 If I was to come down by the 3.30 train some Saturday afternoon & drive straight over to you, so as to get to Down about 5, should that suit you? If not I must manage to drive over some afternoon earlier.

Please remember me very kindly to Mrs. Darwin & believe me | Yours affect | John Lubbock

C Darwin Esq


The address is that of ‘Robarts, Lubbock & Co. Bankers’ in the city of London (Post Office London directory 1861). Lubbock travelled into London daily from his home in Chislehurst, Kent (Hutchinson 1914, 1: 52).
CD was unable because of illness to read the paper Lubbock sent him (see letter to John Lubbock, 23 January [1862]). It was probably a manuscript version of Lubbock’s paper entitled ‘On the geologico-archæological discoveries in Denmark, Switzerland, and France’ (Lubbock 1862a), which he read before the Geological and Polytechnic Society of the West Riding of Yorkshire on 19 February 1862. The first part of this paper (pp. 238–56) was a condensed version of Lubbock’s observations on ancient lake dwellings in Switzerland, which were shortly to be published in the Natural History Review (Lubbock 1862b). In the latter part of the paper (Lubbock 1862a, pp. 256–73), which was later expanded for publication in the Natural History Review (Lubbock 1862c; see also letter from John Lubbock, 15 May 1862), he described the human artefacts discovered by Jacques Boucher de Perthes in the river gravels of the Somme valley, and discussed their relevance in establishing the antiquity of the human species. The last three pages of the published paper contained Lubbock’s most radical public statement on human antiquity to date, concluding that the ‘cave men’ of the Somme were not definitively ‘the earliest human settlers in Western Europe’. He continued (p. 273): We have not indeed as yet the materials to decide the question, but if we were to express any opinion on the subject, it would seem more philosophical to imagine that the genus Homo dates back to a period as ancient as the other widely-spread genera of mammalia
John and Ellen Frances Lubbock lived about five miles from Down, in Chislehurst, Kent. See also letter from E. F. Lubbock to Emma Darwin, [January 1862], n. 4.


Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Sends paper [on ancient Swiss lake-habitations, Nat. Hist. Rev. n.s. 2 (1862): 26–51] for CD’s opinion.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Mansion House St, 11
Source of text
DAR 170.1: 23
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3376,” accessed on 27 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10