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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Armand de Quatrefages1   19 May [1863]2

Paris

19 mai 6〈3〉

Monsieur et cher confrere

Mille remerciements pour votre photographie.3 Elle a dépassé mon attente et je suis curieux de voir ce qu’en diront les partisans de la fixité absolue que j’ai ‘a combattre en ce moment.4 Je l’ai reçue il y a deja quelques jours et aurais voulu vous remercier sur le champ mais vous savez au milieu de quelles grandes affaires je me trouvais jeté. Le procès de la machoire, comme dit Mr Carpenter, me préoccupait entierement.5 J’ai été profondément touché de la conduite de vos compatriotes dans cette circonstance. Il est impossible d’apporter dans l’examen d’une question très vivement controversée plus de franchise, de loyauté et de cordialité. J’espere qu’ils nous auront trouvés animés des mêmes sentiments. Je me suis fait un devoir et un plaisir ‘a la fois d’exprimer hier ‘a l’Académie tout ce que je pense ‘a cet égard.6

J’ai depuis 4 jours sur mon bureau, plié ‘a votre adresse, un exemplaire des deux photographies de la fameuse machoire   en véritable étourdi je n’ai pas songé ‘a la remettre ‘a Mr Christy qui emportait le semblable pour Mr Falconer.7 J’ai cru vous l’avoir deja envoyé mais ce ne sera qu’un court retard.

Adieu Monsieur et cher confrère et merci encore. Votre bien devoué | De Quatrefages

Footnotes

For a translation of this letter, see Correspondence vol.11, Appendix I.
The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Armand de Quatrefages, 14 May [1863].
CD sent Quatrefages two photographs of a skull of the niata breed of cattle. See letter to Armand de Quatrefages, 14 May [1863].
Quatrefages was engaged in a debate at the Société d’Anthropologie de Paris with André Sanson, who challenged him to cite a single species in which the action of the environment had produced anatomical modifications (see letter from Armand de Quatrefages, [28 March –] 11 April 1863 and n. 4). Quatrefages responded with CD’s example of the niata cattle (Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 145–6) and, on 2 July 1863, exhibited the photographs that CD had sent to him. On 16 July 1863, Quatrefages continued to expand his case for the environmental modification of species by reading from Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 145–6, and from the letter to Armand de Quatrefages, [14 April 1863] (Bulletin Société d’Anthropologie de Paris 4 (1863): 350–3 and 376–80). For Sanson’s response to Quatrefages, see Bulletin Société d’Anthropologie de Paris 4 (1863): 374–5 and 380–3.
William Benjamin Carpenter’s phrase the ‘trial of the jaw’ was used to describe the inquiry into the authenticity of the fossil human jawbone and other remains discovered at Moulin-Quignon, near Abbeville, France, in March 1863 by Jacques Boucher de Perthes (Falconer et al. 1863, p. 423). See also n. 6, below. For a summary of this dispute, see the letter from J. D. Hooker, [7 May 1863], n. 5.
A conference of French and British scientists on the Moulin-Quignon archaeological finds took place in Paris and Abbeville from 9 to 13 May 1863. Quatrefages paid tribute to the British scientists at the meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris on 18 May 1863 (Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences 56 (1863): 933–5. The British scientists included Carpenter, Hugh Falconer, Joseph Prestwich, and George Busk. The French scientists included Quatrefages, Edouard Lartet, and Alphonse Milne Edwards. A summary of the conference proceedings was published in the Athenæum, 23 May 1863, p. 682. For a full report of the proceedings, see Falconer et al. 1863.
Henry Christy was an English ethnologist, archaeologist, and geologist who worked closely with the French palaeontologist and archaeologist Lartet; together they excavated a number of European prehistoric sites in the 1860s (DNB). Lartet and Falconer were both involved in determining the authenticity of the Moulin-Quignon jawbone (see nn. 5 and 6, above).

Bibliography

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

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.

Translation

From Armand de Quatrefages1   19 May [1863]2

Paris

19 May 6〈3〉

Sir and dear colleague,

A thousand thanks for your photograph.3 It has exceeded my expectation and I am curious to see what the adherents of absolute fixity, with whom I am currently fighting, will say about it.4 I received it some days ago and would have liked to thank you immediately, but you know of the great affair into the midst of which I have been thrown. I have been totally preoccupied with The trial of the jaw, as Mr Carpenter calls it.5 I have been deeply touched by the behaviour of your countrymen in these circumstances. It is impossible to bring to the examination of such a controversial question more candour, loyalty, and cordiality. I hope they will find us animated by the same sentiments. I found it both a duty and a pleasure to express to the Academy yesterday everything I feel in this regard.6

For 4 days I have had on my desk, addressed to you, a copy of two photographs of the famous jaw   through absent-mindedness I forgot to give it to Mr Christy, who is taking a similar copy to Mr Falconer.7 I thought I had already sent it to you, but this will mean only a short delay.

Farewell, dear Sir and colleague and thank you again | Yours most sincerely | De Quatrefages

Footnotes

For a transcription of this letter in its original French, see Correspondence vol.11, p. 424.
The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Armand de Quatrefages, 14 May [1863].
CD sent Quatrefages two photographs of a skull of the niata breed of cattle. See letter to Armand de Quatrefages, 14 May [1863].
Quatrefages was engaged in a debate at the Société d’Anthropologie de Paris with André Sanson, who challenged him to cite a single species in which the action of the environment had produced anatomical modifications (see letter from Armand de Quatrefages, [28 March –] 11 April 1863 and n. 4). Quatrefages responded with CD’s example of the niata cattle (Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 145–6) and, on 2 July 1863, exhibited the photographs that CD had sent to him. On 16 July 1863, Quatrefages continued to expand his case for the environmental modification of species by reading from Journal of researches 2d ed., pp. 145–6, and from the letter to Armand de Quatrefages, [14 April 1863] (Bulletin Société d’Anthropologie de Paris 4 (1863): 350–3 and 376–80). For Sanson’s response to Quatrefages, see Bulletin Société d’Anthropologie de Paris 4 (1863): 374–5 and 380–3.
William Benjamin Carpenter’s phrase the ‘trial of the jaw’ was used to describe the inquiry into the authenticity of the fossil human jawbone and other remains discovered at Moulin-Quignon, near Abbeville, France, in March 1863 by Jacques Boucher de Perthes (Falconer et al. 1863, p. 423). See also n. 6, below. For a summary of this dispute, see the letter from J. D. Hooker, [7 May 1863], n. 5.
A conference of French and British scientists on the Moulin-Quignon archaeological finds took place in Paris and Abbeville from 9 to 13 May 1863. Quatrefages paid tribute to the British scientists at the meeting of the Académie des Sciences in Paris on 18 May 1863 (Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences 56 (1863): 933–5. The British scientists included Carpenter, Hugh Falconer, Joseph Prestwich, and George Busk. The French scientists included Quatrefages, Edouard Lartet, and Alphonse Milne Edwards. A summary of the conference proceedings was published in the Athenæum, 23 May 1863, p. 682. For a full report of the proceedings, see Falconer et al. 1863.
Henry Christy was an English ethnologist, archaeologist, and geologist who worked closely with the French palaeontologist and archaeologist Lartet; together they excavated a number of European prehistoric sites in the 1860s (DNB). Lartet and Falconer were both involved in determining the authenticity of the Moulin-Quignon jawbone (see nn. 5 and 6, above).

Bibliography

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

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Journal of researches 2d ed.: Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle round the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. 2d edition, corrected, with additions. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1845.

Summary

Spoke on Moulin-Quignon Jaw before Académie des Sciences.

Thanks CD for photograph [of Niata skull].

Controversy on species fixity [at Société d’Anthropologie].

Sends photographs of Mouin-Quignon Jaw.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-4171
From
Jean Louis Armand (Armand de Quatrefages) Quatrefages de Bréau
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Paris
Source of text
DAR 175: 1
Physical description
3pp (French)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4171,” accessed on 13 October 2019, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-4171.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11

letter