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Darwin in letters, 1874: A turbulent year

Summary

The year 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working on second editions of Coral reefs and Descent of man; the rest of the year was mostly devoted to further research on insectivorous plants. A…

Matches: 12 hits

  • … over an anonymous review that attacked the work of Darwin’s son George dominated the second half of …
  • … been the naturalist and traveller Alexander von Humboldt’s 105th birthday, Darwin obliged with a …
  • … The death of a Cambridge friend, Albert Way, caused Darwin’s cousin, William Darwin Fox, to …
  • … led Darwin to the self-assessment, ‘as for one’s body growing old there is no help for it, & I …
  • … The year started for Darwin with a week’s visit to London, staying at his brother Erasmus’s house.  …
  • … August 1873. Darwin had originally thought that Clark’s dietary treatment would ‘do wonders’, but as …
  • … ( letter from Ernst Haeckel, 26 October 1874 ). Séances, psychics, and sceptics …
  • … a week ( letter from E. E. Klein, 14 May 1874 ). John Burdon Sanderson sent the results of his …
  • … He also did experiments with pepsin ( letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 25 April 1874) , and …
  • … with his lecture at the Royal Institution ( letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 21 March 1874 ). …
  • … the contraction of  Dionaea  leaves in  Nature  (Burdon Sanderson 1874). Hooker also gratefully …
  • … by Michael Foster. He then studied under John Scott Burdon Sanderson at University College London, …

List of correspondents

Summary

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: 12 hits

  • … Below is a list of Darwin's correspondents with the number of letters for each one. …
  • … T. G. (6) Arnold, F. S. (2) Arnold, …
  • … Alexander (b) (1) Baird, S. F. (1) …
  • … Barnard, Anne (2) Barnes, K. S. (1) …
  • … Edward (6) Bartlett, R. S. (1) …
  • … Batalin, A. F. (2) Bate, C. S. (21) …
  • … Baynes, H. M. (1) Baynes, T. S. (1) …
  • … H. F. (1) Billings, J. S. (2) …
  • … Jacques (1) Boulger, G. E. S. (1) …
  • … Henry (1) Brady, G. S. (1) Brady, H. …
  • … E. J. A. (1) Bristowe, J. S. (2) …
  • … Bunsen, C. K. J. (1) Burdon Sanderson, J. S. (66) …

Darwin and vivisection

Summary

Darwin played an important role in the controversy over vivisection that broke out in late 1874. Public debate was sparked when the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals brought an unsuccessful prosecution against a French physiologist who…

Matches: 13 hits

  • … was sympathetic to the cause, but found some of Cobbe’s rhetoric inflammatory, and he strongly …
  • … research on insectivorous plants. Indeed, some of Darwin’s plant experiments, such as applying toxic …
  • … Such work had drawn him into close contact with England’s leading physiologists, John Scott Burdon
  • … because it failed to mention anaesthetics. Darwin’s indebtedness and allegiance to …
  • … affection for animals and antipathy to cruelty. Darwin’s fondness for animals, especially dogs, is …
  • … ‘an English gentleman would not himself give a moment’s unnecessary pain to any living creature, and …
  • …  Vivisection was a sensitive subject within Darwin’s family. In his letter of 14 January 1875 to …
  • … the bill on vivisection, he consulted with Huxley and Burdon Sanderson, with legal experts Godfrey …
  • … of Derby. The resulting document went through many stages. Burdon Sanderson first drew up a …
  • … [4 April 1875] ). This was evidently passed back to Burdon Sanderson, who drafted a memorial, …
  • … already been prepared for the House of Lords (see letter to J. S. Burdon Sanderson, [11 April 1875 …
  • … Litchfield drew up a sketch that was approved by Huxley, Burdon Sanderson, and John Simon, a London …
  • … (letter from T. H. Huxley, 19 May 1875 , letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 23 May [1875] ). …

Darwin's in letters, 1873: Animal or vegetable?

Summary

Having laboured for nearly five years on human evolution, sexual selection, and the expression of emotions, Darwin was able to devote 1873 almost exclusively to his beloved plants. He resumed work on the digestive powers of sundews and Venus fly traps, and…

Matches: 17 hits

  • … and  Cross and self fertilisation  (1876). Darwin’s son Francis became increasingly involved in …
  • … renouncing plans for a medical career to become his father’s scientific secretary. Darwin had always …
  • … The subject was brought closer to home by Francis Galton’s work on inherited talent, which prompted …
  • … efforts to alleviate the financial troubles of Anton Dohrn’s Zoological Station at Naples. …
  • … properties analogous to those in  Drosera . Darwin’s experiments on plant movement and digestion …
  • … had co-authored. Darwin contacted two of the  Handbook ‘s other contributors, Thomas Lauder …
  • … an abstract of his preliminary results on  Drosera  to Burdon Sanderson, who had performed …
  • … , and had specimens delivered to the Brown Institution. Burdon Sanderson used a galvanometer (a …
  • … solution to Frankland for analysis. Following Frankland’s advice, he performed his own tests and …
  • … enzyme. Cross- and self-fertilisation Darwin’s other main focus of botanical …
  • … health, supported the decision on the basis of the family’s collective infirmity: “After all he is a …
  • … during lectures, indicating attention. A friend of CD’s daughter Henrietta recollected the …
  • … and clash his teeth together: “he would fly at the Empr’s throat like a bulldog” ( letter from L. M …
  • … Stephen Bennet Francois de Chaumont, whose daughter’s habit of shoulder shrugging and finger rubbing …
  • … of the great principle of inheritance!” ( letter to F. S. B. F. de Chaumont, 3 February [1873] ). …
  • … Henry Reeks suspected the habit of scratching one’s head when puzzled to be a vestige of the …
  • … named Kepler who was fearful of butchers and butcher’s shops ( letter to  Nature , [before 13 …

Origin is 160; Darwin's 1875 letters now online

Summary

To mark the 160th anniversary of the publication of Origin of species, the full transcripts and footnotes of nearly 650 letters to and from Charles Darwin in 1875 are published online for the first time. You can read about Darwin's life in 1875…

Matches: 16 hits

  • for the first time. You can read about Darwin's life in 1875 through his letters
  • vivisection, hoping to pre-empt Frances Power Cobbes more radical bill, and in November he gave
  • that was set up to look into the subject. Darwins second visit of the year to London, in December, …
  • blackballed by the Linnean Society. John Burdon Sanderson, Edward Emanuel Klein
  • a painful experiment. Huxley told Darwin about Kleins testimony: ‘ I declare to you I did not
  • 1875 letters include: I am very glad of the 14 s , for though I much like making
  • with 3000 copies printed in the first month. Mudies circulating library bought 150 copies; another
  • sickening work of preparing new Editions .  ( Letter to JDHooker, 18 August [1875] ) …
  • Power Cobbe, a journalist and an acquaintance of Darwins, raised a petition and managed to get a
  • be poor. John Lubbock, another local landowner and Darwins friend, attempted to make peace, without
  • up a winter reading room for working men, despite Ffindens opposition, and that a temperance
  • article on linguistics, supporting William Dwight Whitneys view of the origin of language against
  • an impassable barrier between animals and humans. Darwins son Francis, who was working as his
  • The year was saddened by the death of several of Darwins correspondents, including one of his
  • any scientific Socy. has done in my time  ( Letter to JDHooker, [12 December 1875] ) …
  • week in London canvassing members to support Lankesters application at the next meeting. Emma must

Darwin in letters, 1875: Pulling strings

Summary

‘I am getting sick of insectivorous plants’, Darwin confessed in January 1875. He had worked on the subject intermittently since 1859, and had been steadily engaged on a book manuscript for nine months; January also saw the conclusion of a bitter dispute…

Matches: 22 hits

  • … Plants always held an important place in Darwin’s theorising about species, and botanical research …
  • … the controversy involved a slanderous attack upon Darwin’s son George, in an anonymous review in …
  • … V). Darwin remained bitter and dissatisfied with Mivart’s attempts at conciliation, and spent weeks …
  • … of London, and a secretary of the Linnean Society, Darwin’s friends had to find ways of coming to …
  • … the publisher of the Quarterly Review , in which Mivart’s anonymous essay had appeared. ‘I told …
  • … feel now like a pure forgiving Christian!’ Darwin’s ire was not fully spent, however, for he …
  • … The vivisection issue was a delicate one within Darwin’s family, and he tried to balance his concern …
  • … paper sent me by Miss Cobbe.’ Darwin found Cobbe’s memorial inflammatory and unfair in its …
  • … on 12 May, one week after a rival bill based on Cobbe’s memorial had been read in the House of Lords …
  • … Emanuel Klein, a German histologist who worked with John Burdon Sanderson at the Brown Animal …
  • … on vivisection , p. 183). Darwin learned of Klein’s testimony from Huxley on 30 October 1875 : …
  • … medicine in London. Klein had assisted in some of Darwin’s botanical research and had visited Down …
  • …   Poisons, plants, and print-runs Darwin’s keen interest in the progress of physiology …
  • … of protoplasm. He added the details of Brunton and Fayrer’s experiments to Insectivorous plants , …
  • … I can say is that I am ready to commit suicide.’ Darwin’s despair over the revision process may have …
  • … ). In the event, the book sold well, and Murray’s partner, Robert Cooke, politely scolded …
  • … insects were observed in the field, and some of Darwin’s experiments on digestion were then repeated …
  • … about the same time. As was the case with some of Darwin’s previous publications, however, the …
  • … were finished. An elusive case Darwin’s attention seems to have been largely on …
  • … between the men in 1874, and this was enhanced by Romanes’s visit to Down House: ‘The place was one …
  • … remain one of the most agreeable and interesting of memory’s pictures.’ Though trained in zoology …
  • … to carry out experiments that might help confirm Darwin’s theory of heredity. ‘I am a young man yet, …

Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life

Summary

1876 was the year in which the Darwins became grandparents for the first time.  And tragically lost their daughter-in-law, Amy, who died just days after her son's birth.  All the letters from 1876 are now published in volume 24 of The Correspondence…

Matches: 20 hits

  • … Down House measured by the ongoing tally of his and Emma’s backgammon games. ‘I have won, hurrah, …
  • … Lodge with his wife, Amy, had settled in as his father’s botanical assistant, and their close …
  • … concussion from a riding accident, and George Darwin’s ill-health grew worse, echoing Darwin’s own …
  • … of the next generation of the family, with Francis and Amy’s child expected in September. Their joy …
  • … to William on 11 September just hours after Amy’s death. For once, the labour of checking proofs …
  • … dimorphic and trimorphic plants in new ways. New Year's resolutions Darwin began …
  • … Elder and Company proposed reissuing two of Darwin’s three volumes of the geology of the …
  • … not even to look at a single proof ’. Perhaps Carus’s meticulous correction of errors in the German …
  • … in an anonymous article, which impugned not only George’s but also Darwin’s respectability (see …
  • … that Mivart still had the capacity to damage George’s reputation. ‘I care little about myself but Mr …
  • … the still raw memory of this incident that underlay Darwin’s heartfelt thanks to Wallace for his …
  • … Darwin hoped not only to remove any stain on Lankester’s scientific reputation, but also to save the …
  • … founded in March 1876 by the London physiologist John Scott Burdon Sanderson to discuss how best to …
  • … with him on the subject, this did not affect Darwin’s pragmatic summing up of the situation: ‘It …
  • … be wondered at—Nature in all her contrivances,—or man’s mind, able to investigate them to such …
  • … were ‘too silly to deserve an answer’ ( letter from S. B. Herrick, 12 February 1876 ). Others …
  • … in a ‘remarkable manner’ by replicating Darwin’s experiments. In contrast, the German physiologist …
  • … but in his case in the hope of confirming Darwin’s views on heredity as expressed in the pangenesis …
  • … results in this year’s experiments’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [ c . 19 March 1876] ). A less …
  • … Hildebrand, 6 December 1876 , and letter from F. J. Cohn, 31 December 1876 ). To Darwin’s

The "wicked book": Origin at 157

Summary

Origin is 157 years old.  (Probably) the most famous book in science was published on 24 November 1859.  To celebrate we have uploaded hundreds of new images of letters, bringing the total number you can look at here to over 9000 representing more than…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … from the key players in the drama surrounding Origin’ s publication: Alfred Russel Wallace , …
  • … and Joseph Hooker , the two men who arranged for Darwin’s and Wallace’s ideas to be made public …
  • … less well-known scientific collaborators who became Darwin's correspondents, Mary Treat , an …
  • … Henrietta , Francis , Leonard, and Horace. Francis’s fiancée, Amy  Ruck, was co-opted as an …
  • … me on rising William Darwin Fox , Charles’s cousin and another friend, compared …
  • … G. Butler John Lubbock R. I. Lynch J. B. Burdon Sanderson T. V. Wollaston …