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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   15 February [1868]1


Feb. 15, 1860.

My dear Lubbock—

Many thanks for Anthropological Review returned.2 Thanks also about buds and ovary. I wish I had remembered your discussion. I have now alluded to it in 2nd Edition. Taking the whole sense of Müller’s pages, especially one passage further on, I still think that he meant to say that buds and germs were essentially the same, but it is far more doubtful than I supposed.3 I have been reading your address to Ent. Soc.; and the number of first rate papers to which you refer is quite appalling.4 How do you find time to search up so much matter? I have nothing else to do, and do not hear of half so many papers. It is very unfair of you! Do you take in the Zeitschaft fur Wissen. Zoolog.; if so, can you lend me vol. xvii. p. 1, with Landois’ “On Noises of Insects”?5

Also can you lend me Desmarest on ‘Crustacea,’—a thick pinkish volume, if you have it. I want to look at sexual differences.6 I have been looking at your papers and figures in March and May, and have been fairly astonished (for I had nearly forgotten) at the wonderful structure of the geniculated antennae of male; but I wish you had figured both antennæ, i.e. the pair, in their proper position: I should have liked to have given a copy in a wood cut.7

If you ever arrive at any definite conclusion, either wholly or partially for or against Pangenesis, I should very much like to hear; for I settled some time ago, that I should think more of Huxley’s and your opinion, from the course of your studies and clearness of mind, than of that of any other man in England.8 H. Spencer’s views, I hear from him, are quite different from mine: he says he shall think over the subject, but apparently he does not yet quite understand what I mean.9

There is a rather nice Review of you in last Athenæum and a very unnice one of my book; I suspect, from two or three little points, by Owen.—10

Ever yours very truly, | C. Darwin.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Lubbock, 12 February [1868]. The date given in the published source, Hutchinson 1914, is in error.
CD may refer to the January issue of Anthropological Review; it included the article ‘Darwinism in Germany’, a review of Friedrich Rolle’s Der Mensch (Rolle 1866).
See letter from John Lubbock, 12 February [1868] and n. 3. CD had cited Johannes Müller’s Elements of physiology (J. Müller 1838–42) in Variation.
CD refers to Lubbock’s presidential address to the Entomological Society of London on 27 January 1868 (Lubbock 1868). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Hermann Landois’s article, ‘Die Ton- und Stimmapparate der Insecten in anatomisch-physiologischer und akustischer Beziehung’ was published in the first issue of volume 17 of Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie (Landois 1867). A copy of the issue is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; Landois’s article is annotated. It is cited extensively in Descent. Lubbock had summarised the article in his presidential address (Lubbock 1868, pp. cxv–vii).
CD discussed secondary sexual characters in Crustacea in Descent 1: 328–37. Anselme-Gaëtan Desmarest’s Considérations générales sur la classe des Crustacés (Desmarest 1825) is not cited.
CD refers to Lubbock’s papers on Crustacea in Annals and Magazine of Natural History (Lubbock 1853a–c). One of these papers illustrated the right antenna of a male Labidocera (Lubbock 1853a). CD referred to these papers in Descent 1: 329, n. 5; he included the figure from Lubbock 1853a, and described how the antenna of the male served as a prehensile organ for holding the female. See also Correspondence vol. 17, letter to John Lubbock, 3 August 1869.
CD refers to his chapter ‘Provisional hypothesis of pangenesis’ (Variation 2: 357–404) and to Thomas Henry Huxley.
The Athenaeum review of Variation was by John Robertson, not Richard Owen ([Robertson] 1868a). There was a review of Nilsson 1868, a work of Scandinavian ethnography with an introduction by Lubbock, in the same issue (pp. 245–6).


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Desmarest, Anselm-Gaëtan. 1825. Considérations générales sur la classe des crustacés: et description des espèces de ces animaux, qui vivent dans la mer, sur les côtes, ou dans les eaux douces de la France. Paris: F. G. Levrault.

Hutchinson, Horace Gordon. 1914. Life of Sir John Lubbock, Lord Avebury. 2 vols. London: Macmillan.

Landois, Hermann. 1867. Die Ton- und Stimmapparate der Insecten in anatomisch-physiologisher und akusticher Beziehung. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie 17: 105–84.

Lubbock, John. 1868. The president’s address. [Read 27 January 1868.] Transactions of the Entomological Society of London 3d ser. 5 (1865–7): cxiii–cxxxi.

Müller, Johannes. 1838–42. Elements of physiology. Translated from the German by William Baly. 2 vols. London: Taylor and Walton.

Nilsson, Sven. 1868. The primitive inhabitants of Scandanavia: an essay on comparative ethnography, and a contribution to the history of the development of mankind. Containing a description of the implements, dwellings, tombs, and mode of living of the savages in the north of Europe during the Stone Age. Edited by John Lubbock. 3d edition. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Rolle, Friedrich. 1866. Der Mensch, seine Abstammung und Gesittung, im Lichte der Darwin’schen Lehre von der Art-Entstehung und auf Grundlage der neuern geologischen Entdeckungen dargestellt. Frankfurt: J. C. Hermann.

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


Returns Anthropological Review.

Asks to borrow Desmarest on Crustacea [Considérations générales sur la classe des crustacés (1825)].

Has been reading JL’s address to the Entomological Society [Trans. R. Entomol. Soc. Lond. 3d. ser. 5 (1865–7): cxiii–cxxxi].

Would like to hear JL’s conclusion for or against Pangenesis.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Source of text
Hutchinson 1914, 1: 48

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5881,” accessed on 28 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16