skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Alfred Newton   29 May 1871

Magd. Coll.

29 May 1871.

Dear Mr. Darwin

remainder of page missing〉 cannot be urged. It is in Arthur Adams’s ‘Travels of a Naturalist’1 (London, 〈remainder of page missing

I am very sorry to think that this is the last term that we shall have your son Frank with us.2

With kind regards to all your circle, believe me | Yours very Truly | Alfred Newton


The reference is to Adams 1870. CD inserted the following note in Descent 2d ed., p. 409 n. 9: I am indebted to Professor Newton for the following passage from Mr Adam’s Travels of a Naturalist, 1870, p. 278. Speaking of Japanese nut-hatches in confinement he says: ‘Instead of the more yielding fruit of the yew, which is the usual food of the nut-hatch in Japan, at one time I substituted hard hazelnuts. As the bird was unable to crack them, he placed them one by one in his water-glass, evidently with the notion that they would in time become softer—an interesting proof of intelligence on the part of these birds.’
Francis Darwin had completed his examinations for a degree in natural sciences at Cambridge, and had begun his medical studies at St George’s Hospital, London (ODNB, letter to Francis Darwin, 25 March [1871]); however, he evidently needed to return to Cambridge to fulfil the residency requirements for a degree (see Cambridge University calendar 1871, pp. 4–5).


Adams, Arthur. 1870. Travels of a naturalist in Japan and Manchuria. London: Hurst and Blackett.

Cambridge University calendar: The Cambridge University calendar. Cambridge: W. Page [and others]. 1796–1950.

Descent 2d ed.: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. London: John Murray. 1874.

ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


[Reference to Japanese nuthatch (see Descent, 2d ed., p. 410 n.) excised from letter.]

Sorry they will not have Frank Darwin with them any more.

Letter details

Letter no.
Alfred Newton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Magdalene College, Cambridge
Source of text
DAR 88: 170–1
Physical description
3pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7778,” accessed on 21 January 2021,

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