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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   2 February [1862]1


Feb. 2

My dear Huxley

I return the enclosed sent me by Lyell.2 It is a capital letter; you certainly are a dead hand at writing; but whether it is worth wasting your precious time, I cannot help feeling rather doubtful. I must however confess that a man must be utterly blind with prejudice, who would not take up your Lectures, when published, with a more impartial feeling after reading this letter.3 Can you spare me the article to read which you praise as written in a candid and good spirit by a man of science??4

With respect to your reference to me;—it is not a case for thanks; it is quite beyond my deserts or claims.5

Most truly yours | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to a letter written by Huxley to the Scotsman (see n. 3, below).
Charles Lyell apparently sent CD a copy of the Scotsman, 24 January 1862, in which a letter from Huxley was published (see n. 3, below).
In his letter to the Scotsman, Huxley pointed out that his recent Edinburgh lectures had achieved their object, namely to state his conclusions, to avoid giving offence, and to provoke unfair attacks in the Scottish press to ensure wide dissemination of his views (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix V and L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 196–7). See also letter from T. H. Huxley, 20 January 1862.
Huxley had cited an article published in the Week, 17 January 1862 (see Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix V), as an example of reasoned criticism given in the proper spirit, contrasting it with the unreasoned attacks that had appeared in the Witness.
Huxley wrote of ‘my revered friend Mr Darwin’ and described himself as a ‘mere disciple of that great naturalist’.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Returns a letter, which, when it is published, he believes will make readers take up THH’s lectures in a more impartial spirit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 145: 223
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3436,” accessed on 14 October 2019,

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