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Darwin Correspondence Project

To H. N. Moseley   22 November [1876]1

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

Nov. 22d

My dear Mr Moseley

It is very kind of you to send me the Japanese books, which are extremely curious & amusing. My son Frank is away, but I am sure he will be much obliged for the two papers which you have sent him.2

Thanks, also, for your interesting note: it is pity that Peripatus is so stupid as to spit out the viscid matter at the wrong end of its body: it would have been beautiful thus to have explained the origin of the spiders web.—3

Yours very sincerely. | Ch. Darwin

P.S | I am not disappointed at what W. Thomson says: as long as a man believes in evolution biology will progress, & it signifies comparatively little whether he admits natural selection & thus gains some light on the method, or remains in utter darkness.4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. N. Moseley, [after 17 November 1876] (Correspondence vol. 24). This letter was originally published in Correspondence vol. 24 from a copy; the differences between the two version are minor, except that the original has ‘thus’ in the postscript where the copy had ‘then’.
See Correspondence vol. 24, letter from H. N. Moseley, [after 17 November 1876]. The papers sent to Francis Darwin have not been identified.
Moseley had commented on Frederick Wollaston Hutton’s article about Peripatus novae-zealandiae (now Peripatoides novaezealandie, a velvet worm) in his letter of [after 17 November 1876] (Correspondence vol. 24).
Moseley had sent a clipping from The Times about Charles Wyville Thomson’s address to the natural history class at Edinburgh University; see Correspondence vol. 24, letter from H. N. Moseley, [after 17 November 1876] and n. 4.


Thanks for Japanese books, and papers by HNM.

Comments on Peripatus.

Not disappointed at what William Thomson says about evolution.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Nottidge Moseley
Sent from
Source of text
Christie’s, London (dealers) (online 31 October – 8 November 2018, lot 8)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10685,” accessed on 24 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24