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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. D. Walsh   20 August [1866]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Aug 20

My dear Sir

I am sorry to say that before receiving your letter of July 17th the new edit. of the Origin had been despatched by Murray for you.1 I received safely your paper exposing Dana’s mis-quotations; I never cd. persuade myself that there was much or any thing in Dana’s paper, but I see it is taking effect in the United States2

I have read Prof. Clark’s book3 & was interested by it on psychological principles as shewing how differently two men viz. the writer & the reader can view the same subject. I am heartily glad that you are making progress with your Cynips experiment.4 The new gall which has spread so wonderfully in England (& about which by the way there was a letter 2 days ago in the Times)5 is attached not to the leaf but to twigs; so that the bushes are rendered conspicuous in the winter by their numbers. I do not think any one can define an ovule from a bud; the only difference being, as many now view the case, that the former must be fertilized.

Have you seen Balbiani’s extraordinary paper on the vivaparous aphides being at a very early age hermaphrodites:6 he is a capital observer, & Sir J. Lubbock tells me that he has no doubt the appearances are true, for he has seen the same in Coccus, whether the interpretation be correct or not.7

Some of the Germans, as Prof. Claus, have been taking up a subject which I am glad of, namely to ascertain the amount, in order to test my views, of the individual variability of some of the commoner lower animals; & they find it very great.8

My dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


In his letter of 17 July 1866, Walsh had asked CD to send a copy of the fourth edition of Origin to him via Baillière Bros., London and New York. John Murray was CD’s publisher.
CD refers to Walsh 1866c, to James Dwight Dana and to Dana 1866. See letter from B. D. Walsh, 17 July 1866 and n. 1.
Henry James Clark’s book, Mind in nature (H. J. Clark 1865), discussed spontaneous generation as proof of the existence of a Creator (see letter from B. D. Walsh, 17 July 1866 and n. 14).
See letter from B. D. Walsh, 17 July 1866 and n. 16. A letter, signed ‘C.’, commenting on the large increase in galls and proposing the employment of children to collect the galls in order to contain any further spread of the insects, appeared in The Times, 17 August 1866, p. 10. A second letter, signed A. W. Digby & Co. (The Times, 18 August 1866, p. 12), offered to test the commercial value of any galls collected. Some oak galls are used in making inks and dyes.
Edouard-Gérard Balbiani’s paper ‘On the reproduction and embryogeny of the Aphides’ (Balbiani 1866) appeared in instalments in the July and August issues of Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Balbiani claimed to have detected male reproductive elements in viviparous aphids, and argued that this was positive proof of the hermaphrodite nature of these insects (ibid., p. 62). CD’s annotated copy of the article is in his collection of unbound journals in the Darwin Library–CUL.
John Lubbock had discussed two species of Coccus (soft scale insects) in his paper ‘On the ova and pseudova of insects’ (Lubbock 1858) and had described in detail the development of the embryo.
CD refers to Carl Friedrich Claus and Claus 1866 (see letter to Ernst Haeckel, 18 August [1866] and n. 6).


Balbiani, Édouard-Gérard. 1866. On the reproduction and embryogeny of the Aphides. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 3d ser. 18: 62–9, 106–9.

Clark, Henry James. 1865. Mind in nature; or the origin of life, and the mode of development of animals. New York: D. Appleton and Company.

Claus, Carl Friedrich. 1866. Die Copepoden-Fauna von Nizza. Ein Beitrag zur Charakteristik der Formen und deren Abänderungen ‘im Sinne Darwin’s’. Marburg and Leipzig: N. G. Elwert’sche Universitäts-Buchhandlung. [Reprinted from Schriften der Gesellschaft zur Befoerderung der gesammten Naturwissenschaften zu Marburg.]

Dana, James Dwight. 1866. On cephalization; no. IV: explanations drawn out by the statements of an objector. American Journal of Science and Arts 2d ser. 41: 163–74.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


On various subjects: Dana’s misquotations,

H. J. Clark’s book Mind in nature [1865],

BDW’s Cynips experiments, galls,

Balbiani’s paper on aphids ["Sur la reproduction et l’embryogénie des pucerons", C. R. Hebd. Acad. Sci. 62 (1866): 1231–4, 1285–9, 1390–4].

Claus and other Germans testing CD’s views of variability in common lower animals.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Benjamin Dann Walsh
Sent from
AU 21 66
Source of text
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago (Walsh 5)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5194,” accessed on 27 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14