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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   7 January [1867]1

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

Jan 7th

My dear Huxley

Very many thanks for your letter which has told me exactly what I wanted to know.— I shall give up all thoughts of trying to get the book translated, for I am well convinced that it would be hopeless without too great an outlay.—2 I much regret this, as I shd. think the work wd be useful & I am sure it would be to me, as I shall never be able to wade through more than here & there a page of the original. To all people I cannot but think that the number of new terms would be a great evil.3 I must write to him. I suppose you know his address but in case you do not, it is “to care of

Signor. Nocolaus Krohn Madeira.”4

I have sent the M.S of my Big book, & horridly disgustingly big it will be, to the Printers, but I do not suppose it will be published, owing to Murray’s idea on seasons, till next November.—5

I am thinking of a Chapter on man, as there has lately been so much said on nat. selection in relation to man.—6 I have not seen the Duke’s (or Dukelets?, how can you speak so of a living real Duke) book, but must get it from Mudie, as you say he attacks us.—7

Ever yours my dear Huxley | C. Darwin

Nature never made species mutually sterile by selection; nor will man.—8


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. H. Huxley, [before 7 January 1867].
In his letter to Huxley of 22 December [1866] (Correspondence vol. 14), CD had asked for his impression of Haeckel 1866, noting that he feared an English translation was out of the question. For Huxley’s reply, see his letter of [before 7 January 1867].
See letter from T. H. Huxley, [before 7 January 1867] and nn. 3 and 4.
Ernst Haeckel told CD he would be spending the winter on zoological research on Madeira and Tenerife in his letter of 19 October 1866 (Correspondence vol. 14). Haeckel probably left Nicholas Krohn’s address with CD when he visited him on 21 October 1866 (see ibid., letter to Ernst Haeckel, [20 October 1866]). Haeckel travelled to Madeira and Tenerife in November 1866, and arrived in December at Lanzarote, where he spent three months (Krauße 1987, pp. 76–7); see also letter from Ernst Haeckel, 12 May 1867. Krohn Brothers & Co., wine merchants, was founded in Madeira in 1858 by John and Nicholas Krohn, British brothers of Russian descent.
CD refers to the manuscript of Variation and to the printing firm William Clowes & Sons. For CD’s concern about the publication date, see also the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 6 January [1867] and n. 3.
See letter to John Murray, 3 January [1867] and n. 5. For recent discussions of human origins and natural selection, see especially A. R. Wallace 1864 and Lubbock 1865; see also Correspondence vols. 11–13.
Huxley had mentioned George Douglas Campbell, the duke of Argyll’s Reign of law (G. D. Campbell 1867) in his letter of [before 7 January 1867]). CD also refers to Mudie’s Select Library, a subscription lending library (see letter to Athenæum, 1 January 1867 and n. 2).
CD is responding to Huxley’s argument regarding natural selection (see letter from T. H. Huxley, [before 7 January 1867] and n. 15).


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Campbell, George Douglas. 1867. The reign of law. London: Alexander Strahan.

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

Haeckel, Ernst. 1866. Generelle Morphologie der Organismen. Allgemeine Grundzüge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft, mechanisch begründet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie. 2 vols. Berlin: Georg Reimer.

Krauße, Erika. 1987. Ernst Haeckel. 2d edition. Leipzig: B. G. Teubner.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Gives up plan to have Haeckel’s Generelle morphologie translated.

His big book [Variation] has gone to printer. Thinks of adding a chapter on man.

Will order Duke of Argyll’s book [Reign of law (1867)].

"Nature never made species mutually sterile [by selection]; nor will man.–"

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 233)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5348,” accessed on 15 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15