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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Gerard Krefft   17 February 1873

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Feb 17 1873

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for yr kind letter; & am much pleased that you have been interested in my Descent of Man—1

I have been glad to hear about the monkey throwing stones.2 The photos of the skulls seem very curious, but as I have never attended much to skulls & as it is a pity that such interesting drawings should be wasted, I will send them to Mr Busk who will appreciate them better than any one else in England.3

I shall feel much obliged for any observations which you may be inclined to communicate to me; & I heartily wish so excellent an observer had less of his time taken up with routine work—

I published, a year ago, a new, & I hope, much improved ed. of my Origin of Species,4 & I have thought that you might like to possess a copy & will therefore send one.

Pray believe me | dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. As you are so kind as to offer me information,5 will you observe & tell me, whether during rainy weather, (or at other times in damp & shady valleys) the worms throw up on the grass-lawns or plains, or in the woods many vermiform castings or little heaps of their earthy excrement? You will remember the appearance of lawns in the Spring & autumn in Europe.— In India I hear that the ground is covered during the rainy season with gigantic castings.—6 Is Australia too dry for the worms thus to act?

I have opened my letter to insert this, & shd. be grateful for an answer—


In his letter of 30 December 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20), Krefft wrote that he had read Descent and would note observations that might interest CD.
In his letter of 30 December 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20), Krefft described the attention-seeking behaviour of a monkey and compared it to that of a child.
See Correspondence vol. 20, letter from Gerard Krefft, 30 December 1872. CD forwarded the photographs of skulls of Aboriginal people to George Busk, who was president of the Anthropological Institute from 1873 to 1874.
In his letter of 15 May 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20), Krefft had written, ‘if I can be of service to you in any other way please command me’.
CD had received this information from John Scott (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter from John Scott, 25 September 1872). In Earthworms, p. 122, CD described castings sent to him by Krefft.


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.

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

Origin 6th ed.: The origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 6th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Is glad JLGK has been interested in Descent.

Thanks him for his observations on monkey behaviour [see 8698]

and drawings of skulls, which CD has sent to George Busk.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Louis Gerard (Gerard) Krefft
Sent from
Source of text
Mitchell Library, Sydney (MLMSS 5828)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8768,” accessed on 21 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21