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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Thomas Henry Huxley   1 January 1865

Jany 1. 1865

My dear Darwin

I cant do better than write my first letter of the year to you—if it is only to wish you and yours, your fair share (& more than your fair share if need be) of good for the New year— The immediate cause of my writing however, was turning out my pocket & finding therein an unanswered letter of yours containing a scrap on which is a request for a photograph1—which I am afraid I overlooked— At least, I hope I did and then my manners wont be so bad— I inclose the latest version of myself (N.B. another will be shortly published by my wife but the likeness is not warranted to be so accurate)2

I wish I could follow out your suggestion about a book on Zoology3 (By the way please to tell Miss Emma that my last is a book.4 Marry come up! Does her ladyship call it a pamphlet?)

But I assure you that writing is a perfect pest to me unless I am interested— and not only a bore but a very slow process— I have some popular lectures on Physiology which have been half done for more than a twelvemonth & I hate the sight of them because the subject no longer interests me & my head is full of other matters5

So I have just done giving a set of Lectures to working men on the various Races of Mankind which really would make a book in Miss Emma’s sense of the word & which I have had reported— But when am I to work them up?6 Twenty four Hunterian Lectures loom between me & Easter—7 I am dying to get out the second volume of the book that is not a book but in vain.8

I trust you are better though the last news I had of you from Lubbock was not so encouraging as I could have wished—9

With best wishes & remembrances to Mrs Darwin

Ever yours | T H Huxley

Thanks for ‘für Darwin’—10 I had it—


The photographs have not been found.
In his letter to Huxley of 5 November [1864] (Correspondence vol. 12), CD encouraged him to write a ‘Popular’ treatise on zoology.
In his letter to Huxley of 5 November [1864] (Correspondence vol. 12), CD included some remarks by Emma Darwin on Huxley’s recently published Lectures on the elements of comparative anatomy (T. H. Huxley 1864a): ‘I don’t call that a Book … I want something that people can read …’
Huxley had given a Friday evening course on physiology at the School of Mines in 1863 (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 246, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from T. H. Huxley, 2 July 1863). These lectures were eventually published as Lessons in elementary physiology (T. H. Huxley 1866).
Huxley’s lectures ‘On the various races of mankind’ were delivered at the end of 1864 as part of a regular series of evening courses for ‘working men’ at the School of Mines (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 249, and Bibby 1959, pp. 97–100). The lectures were not published. No report of the lectures has been found. Huxley had also discussed human races in two lectures of his Hunterian course, ‘On the structure and classification of the Mammalia’, delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons at the beginning of 1864. Abstracts of these lectures appeared in the Medical Times and Gazette, 26 March 1864, pp. 343–4, and 2 April 1864, pp. 369–70. The lectures were also reported in the Reader, 27 February 1864, pp. 266–7. Huxley’s work on human races is discussed in Di Gregorio 1984, pp. 160–84.
Huxley was required to deliver an annual course of twenty-four lectures as Hunterian Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons (see L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 254).
T. H. Huxley 1864a. A second volume was not published.
CD had reported on his poor health in his last two letters to John Lubbock (see Correspondence vol. 12, letters to John Lubbock, 19 November [1864] and 21 December [1864]). Although CD’s health had improved for some of 1864, he still suffered intermittently from sickness and weakness (see Correspondence vol. 12).
The reference is to Für Darwin (Müller 1864), a developmental history of the Crustacea, presented as a validation of CD’s theory of transmutation. CD had received the book from Fritz Müller in 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to Ernst Haeckel, 21 November [1864]). A lightly annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 609). CD later helped to finance an English translation, which was published in 1869 (see letter to Fritz Müller, 16 March [1868] (Calendar no. 6014), and Möller ed. 1915–21).


Bibby, Cyril. 1959. T. H. Huxley. Scientist, humanist and educator. London: Watts.

Calendar: A calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882. With supplement. 2d edition. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 28 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Di Gregorio, Mario A. 1984. T. H. Huxley’s place in natural science. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

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.


Sends photograph.

THH wishes he could write the popular zoology but writing is a boring and slow process when he is not interested, and he is overburdened with lectures.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 166: 304
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4732,” accessed on 16 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13