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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. H. Huxley   14 April 1874

Athenæum Club | Pall Mall S.W.

April 14 1874

My dear Darwin

I send you herewith my screed about the brain, and I think you will say that I have pounded the enemy into a jelly—1 I hope it is not too long— but there were a great many points to be considered— What a beastly blot!— That comes of a quill pen—

Is it worth while saying anything about the skull & hand & foot? I have not had time to look up Aeby’s book yet— As for Bischoff & Lucæ about the hand & foot— they are really hardly worth powder & shot—2 But perhaps I do not estimate properly the effect of what they say upon people who are unacquainted with the facts—

We had week at Folkestone— mostly bad weather cold & blowy   The wife3 has been terribly pestered with ear-ache but is better

As for me I am in great force— I am doing my working man’s lectures just now & they tire me less than they have done for years4

Three cheers for Clarkism!5

Ever | Yours very truly | T. H. Huxley


Huxley’s ‘Note on the resemblances and differences in the structure and the development of the brain in man and apes’ appeared at the end of chapter 7 of Descent 2d ed., pp. 199–206 (see letter to T. H. Huxley, 28 March [1874]).
Huxley refers to Aeby 1867, Bischoff 1868, Lucae 1865, and Lucae 1873. Christoph Theodor Aeby, Theodore Ludwig Wilhelm Bischoff, and Johann Christian Gustav Lucae had criticised Huxley’s earlier work (T. H. Huxley 1863), in which he had argued for the common ancestry of humans and apes based upon brain anatomy (see Montgomery 1988, pp. 94–5).
Huxley had been giving regular lectures to working men at the Museum of Practical Geology in London since 1855 (L. Huxley ed. 1900, 1: 137–8).
CD was consulting the physician Andrew Clark (see letter to Andrew Clark, 10 January [1874]). Clark was also Huxley’s physician (see Correspondence vol. 21, letter to G. H. Darwin, [3 April 1873]).


Aeby, Christian. 1867. Die Schädelformen des Menschen und der Affen: ein morphologische Studie. Leipzig: Vogel.

Bischoff, Theodore Ludwig Wilhelm. 1868. Die Grosshirnwindungen des Menschen, mit Berücksichtigung ihrer Entwicklung bei dem Fötus und ihrer Anordnung bei den Affen. Abhandlungen der Mathematisch-Physikalischen Classe der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 10: 389–497.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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

Lucae, Johann Christian Gustav. 1865. Die Hand und der Fuss. Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Osteologie der Menschen, Affen und Beutelthiere. Frankfurt: Christian Winter.

Lucae, Johann Christian Gustav. 1873. Affen- und Menschenschädel im Bau und Wachsthum verglichen. Archiv für Anthropologie 6: 13–38.

Montgomery, William M. 1988. Germany. In The comparative reception of Darwinism, with a new preface, edited by Thomas F. Glick. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.


Sends his screed about the brain [for Descent], which he thinks pounds the enemy into a jelly.

Is in good health.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Henry Huxley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Athenaeum Club
Source of text
DAR 103: 198–9
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9409,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

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