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Darwin Correspondence Project

From John Lubbock   20 February 1868

15, Lombard Street. E.C.

20 Feb. 1868

My dear Mr. Darwin

I feel much flattered by your kind letter & will certainly let you know as soon as I can make up my great mind about Pangenesis.1

I want to hear what can be said against it.

The whole book has, I need not say, been full of interest for me. The article in the Athenæum will do no harm   it overshoots the mark so absurdly.2

If you get other cases of mixed races reverting to Barbarism, please let me know.3 It would be an additional argument for me.

I have been away from home a good deal this week, & have not yet been able to find Desmarest, but hope to send you both the books this evening.4

Believe me, dear Mr. Darwin | Yours most sincerely | John Lubbock

P.S. I send you the Zeits. Desmarest I cannot find for the moment.



CD had discussed the tendency of ‘crossed races of man’ or ‘half-castes’ to revert to ‘a primitive and savage condition’, citing a number of examples from European travel literature, in Variation 2: 46–7.
CD had requested Desmarest 1825 and a volume of Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie (see letter to John Lubbock, 15 February [1868] and nn. 5 and 6).


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.

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


Found [Variation] full of interest. Has not yet made up his mind about Pangenesis; wants to hear what can be said against it.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Lombard St, 15
Source of text
DAR 170: 63
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5901,” accessed on 21 March 2023,

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