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Darwin in letters, 1879: Tracing roots

Summary

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: 16 hits

  • There are summaries of all Darwin's letters from the year 1879 on this website.  The full texts
  • 27 of the print edition of The correspondence of Charles Darwin , published by Cambridge
  • to publish a biographical account of his grandfather Erasmus Darwin to accompany a translation of an
  • the sensitivity of the tips. Despite this breakthrough, when Darwin first mentioned the book to his
  • all over like a baked pear’ ( enclosure in letter from R. W. Dixon, 20 December 1879 ). The year
  • nice and good as could be’ ( letter from Karl Beger, [ c. 12 February 1879] ). The masters of
  • of the Admiralty described the unknown young man asA M r Darwin grandson of the well known
  • with the when & the where, & the who—’ ( letter from V. H. Darwin, 28 May [1879] ). On the
  • itvery dull,—almost too dull to publish’, while Leonard Darwin considered that insufficient
  • tastefully and well, and with little fatigue’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 12 July 1879 , and
  • to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 5 June 1879 , and letter to G. H. Darwin, 12 July 1879 ). Darwins
  • the highest point, for hiswhy”—“what for” &c are incessant’, Darwin joked on 2 July (first
  • Darwin found the innvery comfortable’, but told Leonard Darwin on 12 August that there
  • is his profession thonot a profitable one; also D r  C[lark]’s opinion that he was so likely to
  • wait for three months. ‘Nothing can be more useless than T.Hs conduct’, Emma Darwin pointed out, …
  • and his family to the Riviera for the summer ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 23 July 1879 ). Allen, who

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: 24 hits

  • 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the early months working
  • dispute over an anonymous review that attacked the work of Darwins son George dominated the second
  • and traveller Alexander von Humboldts 105th birthday, Darwin obliged with a reflection on his debt
  • be done by observation during prolonged intervals’ ( letter to D. T. Gardner, [ c . 27 August
  • pleasures of shooting and collecting beetles ( letter from W. D. Fox, 8 May [1874] ).  Such
  • Andone looks backwards much more than forwards’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 11 May [1874] ). …
  • Andrew Clark, whom he had been consulting since August 1873. Darwin had originally thought that
  • …  ( letter to B. J. Sulivan, 6 January [1874] ). Darwin mentioned his poor health so frequently in
  • 1874 ). Séances, psychics, and sceptics Darwin excused himself for reasons of
  • Williams wasa cheat and an imposter’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 27 January 1874 ). Darwin
  • he was thus free to perform his antics’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 29 January [1874] ). This did
  • alloweda spirit séanceat his home ( letter from T. G. Appleton, 2 April 1874 ). Back
  • sweetly all the horrid bother of correction’ ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 21 [March 1874] ). The
  • Descent  was published in November 1874 ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 12 November 1874 ). Though
  • on subsequent print runs would be very good ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 12 November 1874 ). …
  • conciseness & clearness of your thought’ ( letter from G. H. Darwin, 20 April 1874 ). …
  • the spread of various mental and physical disorders (G. H. Darwin 1873b). In July 1874, an anonymous
  • over thescurrilous libelon his son ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [27 July 1874] ).  George, …
  • in sympathy: ‘If anybody tries that on with my boy Leonard the old wolf will shew all the fangs he
  • … [1874] ). At the end of June, Darwins fourth son, Leonard, who had joined the Royal
  • son of the Astronomer Royal, George Biddell Airy, to help Leonard gain the commission ( …
  • took twelve weeks aboard the immigrant ship  Merope . Leonard joined a colourful collection of
  • in a few hours dissolve the hardest cartilage, bone & meat &c. &c.’ ( letter to W. D. …
  • Sharpe for promotion at the British Museum ( letter to R. B. Sharpe, 24 November [1874] ).  He

Darwin in letters, 1880: Sensitivity and worms

Summary

‘My heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old Shrewsbury friend Henry Johnson on 14 November 1880. Darwin became fully devoted to earthworms in the spring of the year, just after finishing the manuscript of…

Matches: 22 hits

  • heart & soul care for worms & nothing else in this world,’ Darwin wrote to his old
  • to adapt to varying conditions. The implications of Darwins work for the boundary between animals
  • studies of animal instincts by George John Romanes drew upon Darwins early observations of infants, …
  • of evolution and creation. Many letters flowed between Darwin and his children, as he took delight
  • Financial support for science was a recurring issue, as Darwin tried to secure a Civil List pension
  • with Samuel Butler, prompted by the publication of Erasmus Darwin the previous year. …
  • Charles Harrison Tindal, sent a cache of letters from two of Darwins grandfathers clerical friends
  • divines to see a pigs body opened is very amusing’, Darwin replied, ‘& that about my
  • have influenced the whole Kingdom, & even the world’ ( letter from J. L. Chester, 3 March 1880
  • Darwins Life . ‘In an endeavour to explain away y r . treatment of [William Alvey Darwin],’ …
  • delighted to find an ordinary mortal who could laugh’ ( letter from W. E. Darwin to Charles and
  • much powder & shot’ ( Correspondence vol. 27, letter from Ernst Krause, 7 June 1879 , and
  • by anticipation the position I have taken as regards D r Erasmus Darwin in my book Evolution old
  • … , sending one or both to his daughter Henrietta ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 1 February [1880] ). …
  • he will have the last word’, she warned ( letter from H. E. Litchfield, [1 February 1880] ). ‘He
  • to the end’, added her husband Richard ( letter from R. B. Litchfield, 1 February 1880 ). Even the
  • Darwinophobia? It is a horrid disease’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 February 1880 ). All
  • in a book about beetles the impressive wordscaptured by C. Darwin”. … This seemed to me glory
  • … ‘but the subject has amused me’ ( letter to W. C. McIntosh, 18 June 1880 ). Members of the family
  • and letting them out of their respective bags ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [6, 13, or 20] March
  • received more attention than the baby!’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, 17 December 1880 , and
  • biologist of our time’ ( letter from W. D. Roebuck to G. H. Darwin, 25 October 1880 ). The

Darwin in letters, 1882: Nothing too great or too small

Summary

In 1882, Darwin reached his 74th year Earthworms had been published the previous October, and for the first time in decades he was not working on another book. He remained active in botanical research, however. Building on his recent studies in plant…

Matches: 27 hits

  • In 1882, Darwin reached his 74th year Earthworms had been published the previous
  • for scientific colleagues or their widows facing hardship. Darwin had suffered from poor health
  • … ‘I feel a very old man, & my course is nearly run’ ( letter to Lawson Tait, 13 February 1882 ) …
  • of his scientific friends quickly organised a campaign for Darwin to have greater public recognition
  • Botanical observation and experiment had long been Darwins greatest scientific pleasure. The year
  • fertility of crosses between differently styled plants ( letter from Fritz Müller, 1 January 1882
  • working at the effects of Carbonate of Ammonia on roots,’ Darwin wrote, ‘the chief result being that
  • contents, if immersed for some hours in a weak solution of C. of Ammonia’. Darwins interest in root
  • London on 6 and 16 March, respectively. In January, Darwin corresponded with George John
  • François Marie Glaziou (see Correspondence vol. 28, letter from Arthur de Souza Corrêa, 20
  • letter from Arthur de Souza Corrêa, 28 December 1881 ). Darwin had a long-running interest in such
  • experiments had been conducted to lend support to Darwins theory of pangenesis (see
  • … & I am glad to shirk any extra labour’ ( letter to G. J. Romanes, 6 January 1882 ). The
  • to have rather the best of the fight’ ( letter from G. F. Crawte, 11 March 1882 ). The battle
  • our homes, would in this case greatly suffer’ ( letter to C. A. Kennard, 9 January 1882 ). Kennard
  • judged, intellectually his inferior, please ( letter from C. A. Kennard, 28 January 1882 ). …
  • Anthony Rich, he shared several of his sonsachievements. Leonard had been appointed to observe the
  • depressed about himself’ (letter from H. E. Litchfield to G. H. Darwin, 17 March 1882 (DAR 245: 319) …
  • plagued with dull aching in the chest’ (Emma Darwin to G. H. Darwin, [ c . 28 March 1882] (DAR 210
  • is always easier to write than to speak,’ she wrote to Leonard, ‘& so though I shall see you so
  • … & have been able to be to him’ (letter from Emma Darwin to Leonard Darwin, [21? April 1882] (DAR
  • where he had witnessed an earthquake in 1835 ( letter from R. E. Alison, [MarchJuly 1835 ]). …
  • Natural History, that I went as Naturalist on the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle round the World & …
  • I cannot tell how or where to begin’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 21 [January 1860] ). Darwins
  • will be months before I am able to work’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, [ c . 10 April 1864] ). To
  • of Darwinian theory to flowers and flower-visiting insects; H. Müller 1869)). Darwin was full of
  • at least be a valid ground for divorce’ ( letter to H. K. Rusden, [before 27 March 1875] ). In

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: 21 hits

  • The year 1876 started out sedately enough with Darwin working on the first draft of his book on the
  • games. ‘I have won, hurrah, hurrah, 2795 games’, Darwin boasted; ‘my wifepoor creature, has won
  • regarding the ailments that were so much a feature of Darwin family life. But the calm was not to
  • four days later. ‘I cannot bear to think of the future’, Darwin confessed to William on 11
  • once, the labour of checking proofs proved a blessing, as Darwin sought solace for the loss of his
  • and his baby son Bernard now part of the household, and Darwin recasting his work on dimorphic and
  • quantity of workleft in him fornew matter’ (letter to Asa Gray, 28 January 1876). The
  • to a reprint of the second edition of Climbing plants ( letter from R. F. Cooke, 23 February
  • … & I for blundering’, he cheerfully observed to Carus. ( Letter to J. V. Carus, 24 April 1876. …
  • effected by his forthcoming pamphlet, Darwin confounded (C. OShaughnessy 1876), which, he
  • and who had succeeded in giving him pain ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 17 June 1876 ). Although
  • results in this years experiments’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [ c . 19 March 1876] ). A less
  • Encyclopaedia Britannica the previous year ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [after 4 September 1876] ). …
  • theawful jobof informing the author ( letter to G. G. Stokes, 21 April [1876] ). Darwin could
  • … ‘all I can say is do not commit suicide’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [4 June 1876] ). By midsummer, …
  • a set of sons I have, all doing wonders.’ ( Letter to G. H. Darwin, 13 July [1876]. ) A
  • and eczema, was able to rest his mind ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 2 May [1876] ). Darwin even
  • because of along and terrible illness’ ( letter to C. S. Wedgwood, 20 April 1876 ). By the time
  • Just four days later, Darwin had the hard task of telling Leonard that Amy, after seeming to recover
  • not by hiding the pain of the situation, but by reminding Leonard of how much his friendship had
  • … & a Prof. Romer came to lunch’, Emma Darwin reported to Leonard Darwin on 29 September (DAR 239

Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments

Summary

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: 24 hits

  • In 1865, the chief work on Charles Darwins mind was the writing of  The variation of animals and
  • letters on climbing plants to make another paper. Darwin also submitted a manuscript of his
  • protégé, John Scott, who was now working in India. Darwins transmutation theory continued to
  • Argyll, appeared in the religious weeklyGood Words . Darwin received news of an exchange of
  • Butler, and, according to Butler, the bishop of Wellington. Darwins theory was discussed at an
  • in the  GardenersChronicleAt the end of the year, Darwin was elected an honorary member of
  • year was marked by three deaths of personal significance to Darwin: Hugh Falconer, a friend of
  • in August. There was also a serious dispute between two of Darwins friends, John Lubbock and
  • having all the Boys at home: they make the house jolly’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] …
  • had failed to include among the grounds of the award ( see letter from Hugh Falconer to Erasmus
  • his letters to Darwin, and Darwin responded warmly: ‘Your letter is by far the grandest eulogium
  • may well rest content that I have not laboured in vain’ ( letter to Hugh Falconer, 6 January [1865] …
  • the improvement to Joness diet ( see letter to T. H. Huxley, 4 October [1865] ). It was not until
  • Darwin had received a copy of Müllers bookFür Darwin , a study of the Crustacea with reference
  • … … inheritance, reversion, effects of use & disuse &c’, and which he intended to publish in
  • hang on it a good many groups of facts.’ ( Letter to T. H. Huxley, 27 May [1865] .) The
  • … “producingthis and that modification of structure’ (G. D. Campbell 1864, pp. 2756). Campbell
  • humans (see  Correspondence  vol. 10, letter from J. H. Balfour, 14 January 1862 ). According
  • He wrote to Hooker, ‘I doubt whether you or I or any one c d  do any good in healing this breach. …
  • a trying year. In January he had influenza ( letter from F. H. Hooker, [27 January 1865] ); before
  • Hookers behalf, ‘He asks if you saw the article of M r . Croll in the last Reader on the
  • letter from Edward Cresy, 10 September 1865 ). Francis and Leonard were still at school in Clapham, …
  • Carr of Carrlyon , pronouncing itutter trash after G. Eliot’. Darwin replied ( letter to
  • … ‘As for your thinking that you do not deserve the C[opley] Medal,’ he rebuked Hooker, ‘that I

Darwin in letters, 1872: Job done?

Summary

'My career’, Darwin wrote towards the end of 1872, 'is so nearly closed. . .  What little more I can do, shall be chiefly new work’, and the tenor of his correspondence throughout the year is one of wistful reminiscence, coupled with a keen eye…

Matches: 25 hits

  • … ‘My career’, Darwin wrote towards the end of 1872, ‘is so nearly closed. . .  What little more I can
  • of   On the origin of   species , intended to be Darwins last, and of  Expression of the
  • books brought a strong if deceptive sense of a job now done: Darwin intended, he declared to Alfred
  • anything more on 'so difficult a subject, as evolution’ ( letter to ARWallace,  27 July
  • of books and papers, and the latter formed the subject of Darwins last bookThe formation of   …
  • worms , published in the year before his deathDespite Darwins declared intention to take up new
  • begun many years before. In his private life also, Darwin was in a nostalgic frame of mind, …
  • The last word on Origin The year opened with Darwin, helped by his eldest son William, …
  • on 30 January , shortly after correcting the proofs, and Darwins concern for the consolidation of
  • and sixth editions were costly to incorporate, and despite Darwins best efforts, set the final
  • condition as I can make it’, he wrote to the translator ( letter to JJMoulinié, 23 September
  • remained unpublished at the end of the year ( letter from C.-FReinwald, 23 November 1872 ). …
  • to bring out the new edition in the United States, Darwin arranged with Murray to have it
  • anatomist St George Jackson Mivart ( letter to St GJMivart,  11 January [1872] ). A
  • Whale  & duck  most beautiful’ ( letter from ARWallace, 3 March 1872 ). I
  • as I am made to appear’, complained Darwin ( letter to St GJMivart, 5 January 1872 ). Piqued, …
  • … `fundamental intellectual errors’ ( letter from St GJMivart, 6 January 1872 ). Darwin
  • to think he felt friendly towards me’ ( letter to St GJMivart, 8 January [1872] ).  Despite
  • the theories of natural and sexual selection to bees (HMüller 1872), and with his reply Darwin
  • for myself it is dreadful doing nothing’ ( letter to THHuxley, 22 October [1872] ). He was far
  • from his ignorance, he feels no doubts’ ( letter to FCDonders, 17 June 1872 ). Right up to the
  • by her husband, Richard Buckley Litchfield ( letter to HELitchfield, 13 May 1872 ). Delivery
  • … 'I know that I am half-killed myself’ ( letter to HELitchfield, 25 July 1872 ). A
  • Charlton Bastians recent book on the origin of life (HCBastian 1872; Wallace 1872d) left him
  • Darwin used his correspondence with Airy to support his son Leonards application to join the

Darwin in letters,1870: Human evolution

Summary

The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the year at work on the Descent of Man & Selection in relation to Sex’.  Descent was the culmination of over three decades of observations and reflections on…

Matches: 20 hits

  • The year 1870 is aptly summarised by the brief entry Darwin made in his journal: ‘The whole of the
  • in relation to Sex’. Always precise in his accounting, Darwin reckoned that he had started writing
  • gathered on each of these topics was far more extensive than Darwin had anticipated. As a result,  …
  • and St George Jackson Mivart, and heated debates sparked by Darwins proposed election to the French
  • shall be a man again & not a horrid grinding machine’  ( letter to Charles Lyell, 25 December
  • anything which has happened to me for some weeks’  ( letter to Albert Günther, 13 January [1870] ) …
  • corrections of style, the more grateful I shall be’  ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ) …
  • … , the latter when she was just eighteen years of age. Darwin clearly expected her to make a
  • who wd ever have thought that I shd. turn parson?’ ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ). …
  • abt any thing so unimportant as the mind of man!’ ( letter from H. E. Darwin, [after 8 February
  • philanthropist Frances Power Cobbe. At Cobbes suggestion, Darwin read some of Immanuel Kants  …
  • who sent a sketch of a babys brows ( letter from L. C. Wedgwood, [5 May 1870] ). He also wrote to
  • … (in retrograde direction) naturalist’ (letter to A. R.Wallace, 26 January [1870]). …
  • is to criticise them? No one but yourself’ ( letter from H. W. Bates, 20 May 1870 ). Darwin very
  • able to say that I  never  write reviews’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, [22 May 1870] ). St
  • … & valuable labours on the Primates’ ( letter to St G. J. Mivart, 23 April [1870] ). He also
  • an Ape differs from a lump of granite’ ( letter from St G. J. Mivart, 22 April 1870 ). …
  • whatever may have been hisorigin” ( letter from St G. J. Mivart, 25 April 1870 ). In his
  • letter to [E.W. Blore], [October 1870 or later] ). Leonard continued to have great success
  • to ride the same horse that had thrown him (letter from G. H. Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [212

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex

Summary

The quantity of Darwin’s correspondence increased dramatically in 1868 due largely to his ever-widening research on human evolution and sexual selection.Darwin’s theory of sexual selection as applied to human descent led him to investigate aspects of the…

Matches: 23 hits

  • …   On 6 March 1868, Darwin wrote to the entomologist and accountant John Jenner Weir, ‘If any
  • he ought to do what I am doing pester them with letters.’ Darwin was certainly true to his word. The
  • and sexual selection. In  Origin , pp. 8790, Darwin had briefly introduced the concept of
  • in satisfying female preference in the mating process. In a letter to Alfred Russel Wallace in 1864, …
  • to the stridulation of crickets. At the same time, Darwin continued to collect material on
  • his immediate circle of friends and relations. In July 1868 Darwin was still anticipating that his
  • which was devoted to sexual selection in the animal kingdom. Darwin described his thirst for
  • as well say, he would drink a little and not too much’ ( letter to Albert Günther, 15 May [1868] ) …
  • in January 1868. A final delay caused by the indexing gave Darwin much vexation. ‘My book is
  • 1867 and had expected to complete it in a fortnight. But at Darwins request, he modified his
  • the text. This increased the amount of work substantially. Darwin asked Murray to intervene, …
  • it was by Gray himself, but Darwin corrected him: ‘D r  Gray would strike me in the face, but not
  • … . It is a disgrace to the paper’ ( letter from A. R. Wallace, 24 February [1868] ). The review was
  • April 1868 . The letter was addressed tothe Rev d  C. Darwin M.d’; Binstead evidently assumed
  • I did not see this, or rather I saw it only obs[c]urely, & have kept only a few references.’ …
  • classes, a dim ray of light may be gained’ ( letter to H. T. Stainton, 21 February [1868] ). From
  • of her two-month old daughter Katherine ( letter from C. M. Hawkshaw to Emma Darwin, 9 February
  • of the caudicle of  Ophrys muscifera  (letters from T. H. Farrer, 17 May 1868 and 18 May
  • to oneselfis no slight gain’ ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 17 September 1868 ). Darwin continued
  • rest mostly on faith, and on accumulation of adaptations, &c) … Of course I understand your
  • induced him to stay away ( letter from S. J. OH. Horsman, 2 June [1868] ). But if Horsman
  • … ( letter from Alfred Newton, 29 January 1868 ). Leonard also excelled in highly competitive
  • and evenpreached  against’ ( letter from G. D. Hinrichs, [before 13 August 1868] ). Finally, …

Darwin in letters, 1837–1843: The London years to 'natural selection'

Summary

The seven-year period following Darwin's return to England from the Beagle voyage was one of extraordinary activity and productivity in which he became recognised as a naturalist of outstanding ability, as an author and editor, and as a professional…

Matches: 23 hits

  • The seven-year period following Darwin's return to England from the Beagle  voyage was one
  • the publication of the  Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle , for which he described the
  • a family Busy as he was with scientific activities, Darwin found time to re-establish family
  • close contact. In November 1838, two years after his return, Darwin became engaged to his cousin, …
  • daughter, Anne Elizabeth, moved to Down House in Kent, where Darwin was to spend the rest of his
  • his greatest theoretical achievement, the most important of Darwins activities during the years
  • identifications of his bird and fossil mammal specimens, Darwin arrived at the daring and momentous
  • ideas on a wide range of topics. Then, in September 1838, T. R. Malthus’  An essay on the principle
  • in species. With this new theoretical point of departure Darwin continued to make notes and explore
  • present in the version of 1859. Young author Darwins investigation of the species
  • the  Beagle  had returned to England, news of some of Darwins findings had been spread by the
  • great excitement. The fuller account of the voyage and Darwins discoveries was therefore eagerly
  • suitable categories for individual experts to work upon, Darwin applied himself to