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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Edward Cresy   9 June 1865

Metropolitan Board of Works | Spring Gardens

9 June ’65—

My dear Sir.

Until yesterday I was unable to verify the reference for which Mrs Darwin asked me in her P.S.—1 it is “The Darwinian hypothesis supported by observations on Crustacea by Fritz Muller of Desterro”—contained in the Annals & Magazine of Natural History No 89—May. ’65— P 410. Article 44—2

The article purports to be an abstract of the Bibliotheque Universelle 1865 Bulletin Scientifique, p 154—3 If I can be of service by so doing I will gladly ask Walter White to let me see the article itself as I have no doubt they have it at the Royal Society—4 The argument struck me very much as a piece of circumstantial evidence does in a criminal trial where a hundred little immaterial facts are linked together to demonstrate irresistably the main conclusion—

I was very sorry to hear from Mrs Darwin you have again been so ill—5 I wish your disciples could each club together a fragment of their health to repair yours— It is lamentable to think how much good work we are losing which we should otherwise possess—

I am sorry to say I missed hearing your paper on the climbing plants although looking out for it & never knew it was read till I saw the brief abstract in the papers.6

You would have been amused to have heard Huxley on Friday at the Royal Institution on Ethnology boldly proclaiming his faith in Darwinism & pitching Noahs ark in good set terms to the four winds—7 He never lacks le courage de ses opinions—

With kindest remembrances to Mrs Darwin & your daughter8

I remain | Very truly yours | E Cresy

C Darwin Esq.

How is George getting on—9 I hear of him occasionally from Carpmael—10


The letter to Cresy has not been found.
Cresy refers to Anon. 1865b, which was an abstract of Anon. 1865a, a review of Müller 1864. See letter from Edward Cresy, 30 May 1865 and n. 3.
The reference is to Anon. 1865a.
Walter White was assistant secretary and librarian of the Royal Society of London (DNB).
Cresy refers to ‘Climbing plants’, which was read before the Linnean Society on 2 February 1865. The publication that contained a brief abstract of CD’s paper has not been identified.
Thomas Henry Huxley delivered the Friday evening lecture at the Royal Institution on 2 June 1865; he spoke on the methods and results of ethnology (Proceedings of the Royal Institution of Great Britain 4 (1865): 461–3). The text of the lecture was later published in the Fortnightly Review (T. H. Huxley 1865). In the lecture, Huxley argued that the application of CD’s views on descent to ethnology could reconcile the views of those who believed in a common origin of man and those who favoured multiple ancestral forms. He also alluded to earlier work on the application of CD’s theory to ethnology by Alfred Russel Wallace (see A. R. Wallace 1864a; for CD’s exchange of views with Wallace on the topic, see Correspondence vol. 12, letter to A. R. Wallace, 28 [May 1864], and letters from A. R. Wallace, 10 May 1864 and 29 May [1864]). For Huxley’s earlier involvement in ethnological disputes in 1864, see Correspondence vol. 12, letter from J. D. Hooker, 9 [March] 1864 and n. 23.
Cresy refers to Emma Darwin and Henrietta Emma Darwin.
George Howard Darwin was an undergraduate at Cambridge. He matriculated at Trinity College in October 1864 (Alum. Cantab.).
William Carpmael was a civil engineer who worked with Cresy and whose son, Ernest, was an undergraduate at Cambridge at this time. Ernest matriculated at St John’s College in October 1863 (Alum. Cantab.; see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Edward Cresy, 27 April 1863 and n. 8). George stayed with Ernest when he competed for a scholarship at Trinity College in April 1864 (see letter from G. H. Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [4 April 1864] (DAR 251: 2236)).


Alum. Cantab.: Alumni Cantabrigienses. A biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900. Compiled by John Venn and J. A. Venn. 10 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1922–54.

‘Climbing plants’: On the movements and habits of climbing plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 2 February 1865.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 9 (1867): 1–118.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 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.


Sends Fritz Müller citation as CD requested.

Huxley is boldly proclaiming his Darwinism at Royal Institution ["Methods and results of ethnology", Not. Proc. R. Inst. G. B. 4: 460–3; also Collected essays 7 (1894)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Cresy, Jr
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Metropolitan Board of Works
Source of text
DAR 161: 244
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4856,” accessed on 28 January 2021,

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