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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Huxley   21 [January 1860]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Huxley

I have told Murray to send you copy of 2d. Edit of my Book.2 I ought to have thought of this before, as you have been beyond all or nearly all the warmest & most important supporter. I did not think of it, simply from the corrections being so few (of which I send list)3 & now I really hardly know whether you will care to have copy; but you can give it away, if you do not care.—

I long to have a little talk with you. I had firmly resolved to come up & dine with you all at Athenæum, but my accursed health made it impossible.4 I intend coming up on Tuesday evening & will call early on Wednesday at Museum for chance of seeing you; & shd. I fail on Wednesday in being able to come or in your not being there I will call on Thursday.—5

Could you let me have on Wednesday at Museum Pigeon M.S.—6 I am beginning to think of, & arrange my fuller work;7 & the subject is like an enchanted circle; I cannot tell how or where to begin.—

By strange chance, since sending you the Drawings, I have had specimen & have now prepared the skull of the Bagadotten (of which I send Plate out of German Book) & the extraordinarily curved beak is not exaggerated.—8

I cannot think it possible that you can wish to keep, but I do not want M.S. on Hybrids.

In Haste | My dear Huxley | Most truly yours | C. Darwin

I have never received from Ray Soc. your Volume on Hydrozoa:9 I must enquire what cause is.


The date is given by the reference to CD’s trip to London (see n. 5, below).
The second edition of Origin was published by John Murray on 7 January 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
For CD’s list of corrections, see the enclosure with the letter to Asa Gray, 1 February [1860].
Huxley became a member of the Athenaeum Club in 1858. CD had been a member since 1838. The dinner referred to took place on 19 January, and those attending included Huxley, Joseph Dalton Hooker, and certain unidentified ‘Naturalists’. See letter to J. D. Hooker, [22 January 1860].
On 27 January 1860, CD recorded the expenses of a trip to London in his Account book (Down House MS). Emma Darwin’s diary indicates that CD was away from home from 24 (Tuesday) to 27 (Friday) January. Huxley had an office in the Museum of Practical Geology.
CD had lent Huxley his manuscript describing the results of his study of domestic pigeons to assist Huxley in the preparation of his Royal Institution lecture on 10 February 1860 (T. H. Huxley 1860a). See Correspondence vol. 7, letters to T. H. Huxley, 16 December [1859] and 24 December [1859].
CD had begun to prepare the more comprehensive work on natural selection in which he planned to give further examples and citations not included in Origin. The first part of this project, Variation, appeared in 1868. The second and third parts were ultimately abandoned.
The Bagadotten-Tauben is a breed of pigeon in which the beak curves downwards ‘in a highly remarkable manner’ (Variation 1: 141, 163). The German book to which he refers is Riedel 1824. There is an annotated copy of the work in the Darwin Library–CUL.
T. H. Huxley 1859b. A copy of the work, published by the Ray Society, is in the Darwin Library–Down.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Riedel, Wilhelm. 1824. Die Taubenzucht in ihrem ganzen Umfange, oder, vollständige Anweisung zur Kenntniss des Taubenschlags. Ulm, Germany: J. Ebnerschen Buchhandlung.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Sends copy of 2d ed. of Origin, with list of corrections.

Is at work on "fuller work" [Variation].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent from
Source of text
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 102)
Physical description
4pp & enc 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2660,” accessed on 4 August 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8