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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   23 October [1875]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Oct 23d

My dear Huxley

Your essay on species seems to me excellent—the whole subject in a nut.— I do not know whether I may keep it— If I may, please tell me title of book in which it in.—2 But, though I shd. like to keep it, do not hesitate to have it returned, as it a mere chance whether I shall ever again write on large & general questions. I think it will be wiser to keep to easier & special subjects, such as Insectivorous plants or Climbing Plants.— By the way I hope you got the former book.— I told Murray to send a copy to you to make the series of my books, complete; though I do not suppose you wd. care about it. & so it shall be with my Climbing Plants.3

Ever yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. H. Huxley, 30 October 1875.
Huxley’s essay has not been found in the Darwin Library, but was the entry on species in the American cyclopædia 15: 233–6, which was published in 1876.
Huxley’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Insectivorous plants in the section of copies to be sent by his publisher John Murray (see Appendix IV). Huxley evidently also received a copy of Climbing plants 2d ed., but there is no mark next to his name on the list that would indicate that this was the case.


American cyclopædia: The American cyclopædia: a popular dictionary of general knowledge. Edited by George Ripley and Charles A. Dana. 16 vols. New York and London: D. Appleton and Company. 1873–9.

Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Thanks for THH’s essay on species [article for an American encyclopedia].

Will probably never again write on large and general subjects; will keep to easier specific ones such as insectivorous and climbing plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Medicine and Technology Archives (Huxley 5: 320)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10214,” accessed on 7 July 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23