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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   10 January 1864

Lamas, | Chiselhurst. | S.E.

10 Jan/64.

My dear Mr. Darwin

I was right glad to see your hand writing & to hear a better account of you even though the improvement was not material.1

I’m sorry that you don’t think I praised Huxley enough;2 it was far from my intention not to do so, & you must remember that much of the praise of you was merely a quotation from him.3

My little volume of Essays will be in great part a republication from the Natural History Review, with two introductory chapters taken from my lectures.4 I should dearly like to have talked it over with you, to know whether you thought it a good investment of time. However now that you have begun to mend I shall hope to be allowed to see you ere long.

I met Miss Darwin & Willy at High Elms5 not long ago & was glad to find him thoroughly interested in his business, and on good terms with his partner.6

Do not bother yourself to write, but let me see you as soon as you are quite well enough, & believe me always | Your most affect | John Lubbock


Lubbock refers to CD’s assessment of his review ([Lubbock] 1864) of Thomas Henry Huxley’s lectures to working men (T. H. Huxley 1863a; see letter to John Lubbock, [1 January 1864] and n. 3).
See letter to John Lubbock, [1 January 1864] and n. 4. Lubbock ended his review ([Lubbock] 1864, p. 43) by quoting Huxley’s conclusion (T. H. Huxley 1863a, pp. 155–6): Mr. Darwin’s work … , if you strip it of its theoretical part … still remains one of the greatest encyclopædias of biological doctrine that any one man ever brought forth; and I believe that, if you take it as the embodiment of an hypothesis, it is destined to be the guide of biological and psychological speculation for the next three or four generations.
In the preface to Lubbock 1865b, Lubbock explained (p. vi) that the essays derived from five articles previously published in the Natural History Review and from a series of lectures he delivered at the Royal Institution on the ‘Antiquity of Man’; he also noted that he had added a chapter on the ‘Manners and Customs of Modern Savages’ (ibid., p. viii). Lubbock gave his first lecture on 28 February 1863 at the Royal Institution (see Lubbock 1863). His biographer writes that this was followed by several more during that year; however, these are not recorded in the Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain for 1863 (see Hutchinson 1914, 1: 58–60). There is an annotated copy of Lubbock 1865b in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 512–13).
Lubbock refers to meeting Henrietta Emma Darwin and William Erasmus Darwin at the Lubbock family home, an estate whose grounds bordered those of Down House (Freeman 1978, p. 192).
CD’s eldest son, William, became George Atherley’s partner at the Southampton and Hampshire Bank, in Southampton, in 1861. Lubbock had informed CD about the opportunity at the bank (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 May 1861], and letter to John Lubbock, [25 May 1861]).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1978. Charles Darwin: a companion. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

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

[Lubbock, John.] 1864b. Huxley’s lectures on the origin of species. Natural History Review n.s. 4: 37–43.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


JL’s article on Huxley’s "Lectures [to working men]".

Planning a volume of essays [Prehistoric times (1865)].

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Lamas, Chislehurst
Source of text
DAR 170: 44
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4384,” accessed on 23 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12