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Darwin Correspondence Project

To E. R. Lankester   22 March [1871]1


March 22nd.

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your note.2 Could you procure for me a photograph (if it be really taken) of your friend’s ear.3 Mr. Woolner’s drawing, though I have no doubt accurate, does not seem to me good, and I could have the photograph engraved, of course not mentioning to whom the ear belonged.—4 Your intention of studying the development of the mollusca seems very good and I wish you all success.

You ask about my opinion on vivisection. I quite agree that it is justifiable for real investigations on physiology; but not for mere damnable and detestable curiosity. It is a subject which makes me sick with horror, so I will not say another word about it, else I shall not sleep to-night.

I think you will be glad to hear, as a proof of the increasing liberality of England, that my book has sold wonderfully.... and as yet no abuse (though some, no doubt, will come, strong enough), and only contempt even in the poor old Athenæum.5

Pray believe me, my dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Hinrich Nitsche, 18 April 1871.
Lankester’s note has not been found, but see letter from E. R. Lankester, 17 April [1871].
Thomas Woolner’s drawing of a human ear is in DAR 80: B120. CD reproduced the drawing in Descent 1: 22.
CD refers to the review of Descent that appeared in the Athenæum ([Leifchild] 1871).


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

[Leifchild, John R.] 1871. Review of Descent. Athenæum 4 March 1871, pp. 275–7.

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


Asks for photograph of pointed ear of ERL’s friend.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Edwin Ray Lankester
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146: 30, LL 3: 138, 200
Physical description
C 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7612,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19