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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Anton Dohrn   13 February 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Feb 13 1874

My dear Dr Dohrn

I was astonished yesterday by receiving your very kind congratulations on my 65th birthday.1 I thank you heartily for your remembrance of so old a man who has nearly run his course. I was very glad to hear, a few weeks ago, from Huxley, that the affairs of the Zoolog. station are in a somewhat better condition; & most sincerely do I wish, for the sake of science & yourself, that they may flourish.2

Last Sunday F. Balfour3 was here, & he will start immediately for Naples; you will find him a most amiable young man, with much ability. I have a great wish that my third son, who intends devoting himself to Nat. history, should stay for a few months at Naples to learn the art of observing marine animals; but I do not at present see how it is to be managed; as he is going to be married this summer;4 I shall, however, endeavour to arrange it. As for myself I have little to say; my health is very indifferent, as it always will be, & I have been doing nothing of late except the tedious work of preparing corrected editions of 2 of my books—5

With good wishes for your success & happiness, I remain my dear Dr Dohrn— | yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


Dohrn had sent CD a telegram wishing him a happy birthday from the Naples Zoological Station (see telegram from Anton Dohrn, 12 February 1874).
According to Emma Darwin’s diary, Francis Maitland Balfour arrived on Saturday 7 February 1874 (DAR 242).
Francis Darwin married Amy Ruck in July 1874 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), ODNB).
CD was preparing the second editions of Descent and Coral reefs (‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Coral reefs: The structure and distribution of coral reefs. Being the first part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN, during the years 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1842.

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.

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.


Thanks for birthday greetings.

Comments on work at Naples Zoological Station. F. M. Balfour to visit Naples. Would like to send third son [Francis Darwin] to learn art of observing marine animals.

Health indifferent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Felix Anton (Anton) Dohrn
Sent from
Source of text
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München (Ana 525. Ba 711)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9289,” accessed on 28 May 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22