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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   12 June [1867]1

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

June 12th

My dear Huxley

We come up on Saturday 15th for a week.—2 I want much to see you for a short time to talk about my youngest Boy & the School of Mines.—3 I know it is rather unreasonable, but you must let me come a little after 10 o clock on Sunday morning 16th— If in any way inconvenient, send me line to “6 Queen Anne St. W.”,4 but if I do not hear, I will (stomacho volente)5 call, but I will not stay very long & spoil your whole morning as a holiday.—

Will you turn 2 or 3 times in your mind this question: What I called pangenesis means that each cell throws off an atom of its contents or a gemmule & that these aggregated from the true ovule or bud &c.—6

Now I want to know whether I could not invent a better word.

Cyttarogenesis, ie cell-genesis is more true & expressive but long.—

Atomogenesis, sounds rather better, I think, but an “atom” is an object which cannot be divided; & term might refer to the origin of atom of inorganic matter.—7

I believe I like pangenesis best, though so indefinite; & though my wife says it sounds wicked like pantheism; but I am so familiar now with this word, that I cannot judge, I supplicate you to help me.—

My dear Huxley | Yours ever most truly | C. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to the Darwins’ visit to London (see n. 2, below) and the discussion of an alternative term to pangenesis (see letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1867]). June 15 was a Saturday in 1867.
The Darwins in the event went to London from 17 to 24 June (see CD’s ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix II)).
CD’s youngest son was Horace, then aged 16. Huxley was a professor at the Royal School of Mines (L. Huxley 1900).
CD gave the address of his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin (Post Office London directory 1867).
Stomacho volente: stomach willing.
Huxley had read CD’s manuscript on pangenesis in 1865 (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter to T. H. Huxley, 12 July [1865]).


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

Huxley, Leonard, ed. 1900. Life and letters of Thomas Henry Huxley. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Post Office London directory: Post-Office annual directory. … A list of the principal merchants, traders of eminence, &c. in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and parts adjacent … general and special information relating to the Post Office. Post Office London directory. London: His Majesty’s Postmaster-General [and others]. 1802–1967.


Asks THH to think about a better name for "Pangenesis"; suggests "Cytarrogenesis" or "Atomogenesis", but still prefers vaguer "Pangenesis".

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: 235)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5568,” accessed on 22 May 2022,

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