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Darwin Correspondence Project
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To W. E. Darwin   23 [February 1872 – October 1874]


Asks for investment advice.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  23 [Feb 1872 - Oct 1874]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 132
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13800

From W. E. Darwin   [29 February 1872]


Amount of clay present in certain chalk samples.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [29 Feb 1872]
Classmark:  DAR 162: 102
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-7469

To J. J. Moulinié   1 February 1872


Encloses a letter to be prefixed to JJM’s translation of the Origin.

Expresses his satisfaction that JJM has undertaken the translation [of a fourth French edition] of Origin. Urges the use of the sixth English edition so as to include corrections and additions.

His interest in influencing the eminent men of science in France.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Jean Jacques Moulinié
Date:  1 Feb 1872
Classmark:  Smithsonian Libraries (Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology MSS 405 A. Gift of the Burndy Library); Paul C. Richards (dealer) (Cat. 241)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8191

From Francis Galton   1 February 1872


Asks to have one pair of rabbits sent to him; is abandoning experiments with the rats.

Author:  Francis Galton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 105: A44–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8192

From Amy Ruck to Horace Darwin   [1 February 1872]


Observations on earthworm activity in old furrows on a hillside.

Author:  Amy Richenda (Amy) Ruck; Amy Richenda (Amy) Darwin
Addressee:  Horace Darwin
Date:  [1 Feb 1872]
Classmark:  DAR 176: 222
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8193

From Asa Gray   2 February 1872


Notes the occurrence in U. S. of "vermiform piles" produced by earthworms.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 165: 178
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8194

From John Murray   2 February [1872]


Accedes to CD’s request to let Appleton have a set of stereotypes of the 6th English edition of Origin at a little above cost.

Author:  John Murray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Feb [1872]
Classmark:  DAR 171: 406
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8195

From Arthur Mellersh   2 February 1872


Exchange of photographs among CD, AM, and Philip G. King.

Author:  Arthur Mellersh
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 171: 147
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8196

From C. F. Martins   3 February 1872


CD’s views, on which he has lectured, will succeed with time.

Joachim Barrande’s refutation cannot be impartial because he is a devout Catholic.

Many young French naturalists support CD but are silent for fear of their jobs. Houget has been reprimanded for his Darwinism.

Author:  Charles Frédéric Martins
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 171: 60
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8197

To Anton Dohrn   3 February 1872


Thanks AD for his article in Das Ausland ["Englische Kritiker und Anti-Kritiker über den Darwinismus", 49 (1871): 1153–7].

Mivart’s book [Genesis of species], which misinterprets CD’s views, has produced a great effect in England.

He has answered the point about incipient structures being useless in new [6th] edition of Origin.

His Descent has had immense circulation, but has met with approval of hardly any naturalists. He supposes it was a mistake to publish it, but it will pave way for a better work.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Felix Anton (Anton) Dohrn
Date:  3 Feb 1872
Classmark:  Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München (Ana 525. Ba 699)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8199

From J. D. Hooker   [5 February 1872?]



Sends a communication [missing] from Gov. J. H. Lefroy of Bermuda.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [5 Feb 1872?]
Classmark:  DAR 103: 105–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8200

From Friedrich Hildebrand   5 February 1872


Praise for Descent.

Author:  Friedrich Hermann Gustav (Friedrich) Hildebrand
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 166: 212
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8201

From J. F. Mackenzie   8 February 1872


An engineer in India, who has read Descent, sends observations on native racial characters.

Author:  John Finlayson Mackenzie
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 171: 5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8202

From L. C. Wedgwood   [8 February 1872]


Describes earthworm experiments. She has measured depth of mould in various locales, e.g., on ridges and furrows of an old ploughed field.

Author:  Lucy Caroline Wedgwood; Lucy Caroline Harrison
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [8 Feb 1872]
Classmark:  DAR 63: 79–80
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8203

To Friedrich Hildebrand   9 February 1872


Comments on FH’s paper ["Verbreitungsmittel der Compositenfrüchte", Bot. Ztg. 30 (1872): 1–14].

Discusses function of mucus filaments on seeds of Compositae and other plants.

Comments on Eugen Askenasy’s publication [Beiträge zur Kritik der Darwin’schen Lehre (1872)].

Comments on evolutionary views of Carl Nägeli.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Friedrich Hermann Gustav (Friedrich) Hildebrand
Date:  9 Feb 1872
Classmark:  Klaus Groove (private collection). [Sold by Venator and Hanstein, Cologne (dealers), 16 March 2018.]
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8206

From R. F. Cooke   12 February 1872


Sends first copy of new [6th] edition of Origin. Expenses have been much higher than estimated because of extensive revisions. 3000 copies retailing at 6s would yield only £100 profit. Suggests fixing price at 7s 6d.

Author:  Robert Francis Cooke; John Murray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  12 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 171: 407
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8209

From W. W. Reade   13 February 1872


Sending sheets of his forthcoming work on Africa [Martyrdom of man (1872)] with views that differ from CD’s on music and sexual selection.

The Pall Mall Gazette will review the new [6th] edition of the Origin, together with Mivart’s Genesis of species [1871].

Author:  William Winwood Reade
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Feb 1872
Classmark:  DAR 176: 52
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8210

To A. R. Wallace   [19 February 1872]


Sends 6th ed. of Origin;

draws attention to his criticism of ARW’s estimate of Kovalevsky;

mentions his disagreement with much of Spencer’s doctrine

and in a postscript points out an inaccuracy in an article in Once a Month.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:  [19 Feb 1872]
Classmark:  Linnean Society of London (Quentin Keynes Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8211

To ?   [13 February – 21 March 1872]


"Be so good as the send receipt to above address".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  [13 Feb – 21 Mar 1872]
Classmark:  Famous Notables (dealers)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8211F

To J. D. Hague   20 February 1872


Thanks for a quarto work on the mining industry. CD’s sons much obliged for kindness in California.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Duncan Hague
Date:  20 Feb 1872
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-8211G
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List of correspondents


Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. Click on a name to see the letters Darwin exchanged with that correspondent.    "A child of God" (1) Abberley,…

Matches: 16 hits

  • … Émile (8) Alice (2) Alison, R. E. …
  • … (1) Allen, Thomas (2) Allman, G. J. …
  • … (1) Appleton, C. E. C. B. (2) Appleton, T. G. …
  • … (5) Austin, A. D. (2) Austin, C. F. …
  • … (7) Axon, W. E. A. (2) Aylmer, I. E. …
  • … (3) Baldwin, J. D. (2) Balfour, F. M. …
  • … (1) Baranoff, W. (2) Barber, M. E. …
  • … (1) Barnard, Anne (2) Barnes, K. S. …
  • … (1) Barrois, J. H. (2) Bartlett, A. D. …
  • … (1) Batalin, A. F. (2) Bate, C. S. …
  • … (1) Bates, Frederick (2) Bates, H. W. …
  • … (1) Baumhauer, E. H. von (2) Baxter, E. B. …
  • … (3) Beale, L. S. (2) Beall, T. B. (1 …
  • … B. (1) Beck, John (2) Becker, L. E. …
  • … (3) Beger, Karl (2) Behrens, Frederick …
  • … (1) Bell, Robert (b) (2) Bell, Thomas …

Darwin The Collector


Look at nature more closely and create and record your own natural collections.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities provide an introduction to Charles Darwin, how and why he collected so many specimens …

Detecting Darwin


Who was Charles Darwin? What is he famous for? Why is he still important?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Pupils act as Darwin detectives, exploring clues about Darwin’s life and work. No prior knowledge …

Darwin’s reading notebooks


In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … Stoke’s Library 1 Cambridge. Library 2 Royal Coll of Surgeons [DAR *119 …
  • … de l’Homme,” by Dr. Pierquin, published in Paris (in 2 vols.), so long ago as 1839 4   …
  • … 1829]; read Letter to M. Therry [Broughton 1832]— a 2 d  Edit preparing in 1841.— Lesson …
  • … of habits of birds. Temminck Manuel D’ornithologie. 2 d  Edit: Introduction on migration of …
  • … Ker Porter’s Travels in Caucasus [R. K. Porter 1821–2] praised by Silliman poor Cyclop. of …

Rewriting Origin - the later editions


For such an iconic work, the text of Origin was far from static. It was a living thing that Darwin continued to shape for the rest of his life, refining his ‘one long argument’ through a further five English editions.  Many of his changes were made in…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … edition published, 1872   1 st to 2 nd editions I have …
  • … the voids caused by the action of His laws.” ( Origin 2d ed, p. 481).   2 nd …
  • … to a letter to Asa Gray he had yet to start it on 28 January, but on 2 February 1860 he told …
  • … “Origin” for the first time, for I am correcting for a 2 nd . French Edition; & upon my life, …

Dates of composition of Darwin's manuscript on species


Many of the dates of letters in 1856 and 1857 were based on or confirmed by reference to Darwin’s manuscript on species (DAR 8--15.1, inclusive; transcribed and published as Natural selection). This manuscript, begun in May 1856, was nearly completed by…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … nor was it recorded in Darwin's ‘Journal’. Chapter 2 is not extant but was recorded in Darwin& …
  • … [1] (not extant) 2 13 October 1856 …

Language: Interview with Gregory Radick


Darwin made a famous comment about parallels between changes in language and species change. Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University, talks about the importance of the development of language to Darwin, what…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … to Darwin, how did language begin? 2. Was this an important topic for Darwin? And …
  • … sense, a more developed moral sense, and so forth. 2. Was this an important topic for Darwin? …

Darwin's Fantastical Voyage


Learn about Darwin's adventures on his epic journey.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … These activities explore Darwin’s life changing voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Using letters home, …

Darwin And Evolution


What is evolution? What did Darwin discover and how did he come to his conclusions?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities give an introduction to Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution. Specimens brought …

Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots


Darwin spent a considerable part of 1879 in the eighteenth century. His journey back in time started when he decided to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an essay on Erasmus’s evolutionary ideas…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … his wife sent birthday greetings and a photograph of their 2-year-old son named Darwin, who, they …
  • … materialism”’ ( letter from Francis Darwin, [after 2 June 1879 ]). As one of Darwin’s most ardent …
  • … other than Darwin’s sister Caroline (who was around 2 years old at the time of Erasmus’s death). …
  • … that plants were ‘mere machines’, reminding Francis on 2 June that he had long thought that …
  • … for certain movements’ ( second letter to Francis Darwin, 2 July [1879] ). Sachs guarded …
  • … for” &c are incessant’, Darwin joked on 2 July (first letter) . Much of the time, however, …
  • … their ‘tremendous journey’ ( letter to Francis Darwin, [2 August 1879] ). The journey proved more …

Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments


The year was marked by three deaths of personal significance to Darwin: Hugh Falconer, a friend and supporter; Robert FitzRoy, captain of the Beagle; and William Jackson Hooker, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and father of Darwin’s friend…

Matches: 7 hits

  • … to me. So the world goes.—’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 February [1865] ). However, Hooker, at the …
  • … idle when I can do anything’ ( letter to John Murray, 2 June [1865] ). It was not until 25 …
  • … abstract of the paper was read before the Linnean Society on 2 February, and in April Darwin wrote …
  • … 1867), and Darwin summarised them in  Variation  2: 106–7, concluding, ‘it follows from Mr. Scott …
  • … and professional seniority ( see letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ); but Darwin’s feelings …
  • … in healing this ugly breach’ ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ), Darwin seems to have …
  • … of weather-forecasting ( see letter from J. D. Hooker, 2 May 1865 and nn. 2 and 5), and he may …

Home learning: 7-11 years


Do try this at home! Support your children’s learning by downloading our free and fun activities for those aged between 7-11 and 11-14 years, using Darwin’s letters.  

Matches: 1 hits

  • … More Detecting Darwin activities 2 Learn about Darwin and the Beagle …

Darwin in letters, 1878: Movement and sleep


In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to the movements of plants. He investigated the growth pattern of roots and shoots, studying the function of specific organs in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of…

Matches: 9 hits

  • … in plants , pp. 112–13). He explained to Francis on 2 July : ‘I go on maundering about the …
  • … tomorrow to Wurzburg,’ Darwin wrote to Thiselton-Dyer on 2 June , ‘& work by myself will be …
  • … [before 17 July 1878] ), ‘a strong horizontal axis about 2 feet long which goes round by clockwork …
  • … animal instinct and intelligence. ‘Frank’s son, nearly 2 years old (& we think much of his …
  • … more expertly. ‘I conclude that a child—just under 2 years is inferior in intellect to a monkey.’ …
  • … & a baby in your house!’ ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 2 September [1878] ). More …
  • … seems to me quite ridiculous’ ( letter to John Price, 2 April [1878] ). When a wealthy businessman …
  • … was ‘deeply gratified’, remarking to Skertchly on 2 March : ‘It is the greatest possible …
  • … that such checks had been in action during the last 2 or 3 centuries, or even for a shorter time in …

Satire of FitzRoy's Narrative of the Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, by John Clunies Ross. Transcription by Katharine Anderson


[f.146r Title page] Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle Supplement / to the 2nd 3rd and Appendix Volumes of the First / Edition Written / for and in the name of the Author of those / Volumes By J.C. Ross. / Sometime Master of a…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … the Adventure and Beagle Supplement / to the 2 nd 3 rd and Appendix Volumes of …
  • … many Kentledge pigs – and almost as heavy – limited the 2 nd to 700 pages of easily readable type …
  • … for commanding under it an H.C. Cruizer [ vf.147v p.2 ] of considerably greater tonnage – and …
  • … making a quick passage to the Southward. In the 2 nd that the expression “sailed from …
  • … in singing ^of^ jovial sea songs even on Wednesdays *[2] [ f.158r p.23 ] instead of the …

Interview with Pietro Corsi


Pietro Corsi is Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford. His book Evolution Before Darwin is due to be published in 2010 by Oxford University Press. Date of interview: 17 July 2009 Transcription 1: Introduction …

Matches: 1 hits

  • … surrounding evolutionary theories. 2. The situation in France …

Interview with John Hedley Brooke


John Hedley Brooke is President of the Science and Religion Forum as well as the author of the influential Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 1991). He has had a long career in the history of science and…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Paul. It’s a very great pleasure. 2. Victorian spiritualism and the …

Interview with Randal Keynes


Randal Keynes is a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin, and the author of Annie’s Box (Fourth Estate, 2001), which discusses Darwin’s home life, his relationship with his wife and children, and the ways in which these influenced his feelings about…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … which came to my mind as I read his book. 2. Darwin's influences …

Interview with Emily Ballou


Emily Ballou is a writer of novels and screenplays, and a prize-winning poet. Her book The Darwin Poems, which explores aspects of Darwin’s life and thoughts through the medium of poetry, was recently published by the University of Western Australia Press.…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … some of these poems today, and? 2. The idea of writing about Darwin …

Interview with Tim Lewens


Dr Tim Lewens is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Organisms and artifacts (2004), which examines the language and arguments for design in biology and philosophy, and of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … you for the flattering introduction. 2. The unusual role Darwin plays today …

Fake Darwin: myths and misconceptions


Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, with full debunking below...

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, …
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