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Darwin Correspondence Project
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From J. D. Hooker   [24 March 1863]



Has been looking at separation of sexes in poplars.

Interested in reversion.

Does not understand all CD said on inheritance.

JDH now remembers that Origin was "published" some time before it was "distributed" and therefore appeared prior to his own essay [see also 2478].

Impossible to say whether some Dipterocarpaceae survived a cold period or have developed since.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [24 Mar 1863]
Classmark:  DAR 100: 154, DAR 101: 123–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2027

From Daniel Oliver   [26 March 1863]


Discusses the female parts of the Primula flower; the true character of the free placenta is not completely understood.

Author:  Daniel Oliver
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [26 Mar 1863]
Classmark:  DAR 173: 18
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3894

From J. D. Hooker   [1 March 1863]



John Lubbock’s lecture on man a success [Not. Proc. R. Inst. G. B. 4 (1863): 29–40].

JDH on the effect of the Civil War on Asa Gray.

JDH’s opinion of Lyell on glaciers is improving.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [1 Mar 1863]
Classmark:  DAR 101: 111–13
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4019

From Smith, Elder and Company   3 March 1863


Sum due to CD is £11 13s 1d. Offer £5 for remaining stock of South America and Volcanic islands.

Author:  Smith, Elder & Co
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Mar 1863
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (MS.23181:1)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4020

From John Scott   3 March 1863



JS criticises natural selection as based on an innate "continuously watchful selective principle".

Seeks seed of wild Rocky Mountain maize.

What is CD’s view on origin of maize?

Seeks information on self-sterility of Passiflora and Lobelia.

Weeping habit of trees.

Intended to say bisexual plants presented more established varieties than unisexual, not that they are more variable.

Explains his opinion that homomorphically fertilised Primula will produce only their own form. Is trying homomorphic crosses with different coloured Primula varieties.

Asks to read Asa Gray’s 2d review of Orchids.

Has finally successfully fertilised Gongora, but it was done by unnatural means.

Author:  John Scott
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Mar 1863
Classmark:  DAR 108: 179
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4021

To H. W. Bates   4 March [1863]


CD relates Asa Gray’s pleasure over HWB’s paper and Gray’s plans to write abstract [Am. J. Sci. 2d ser. 36 (1863): 285–90].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Walter Bates
Date:  4 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4022

To Thomas Rivers   5 March [1863]


Thanks for information on weeping trees; asks for a few weeping elm seeds.

The double peach is in flower; the almond has not flowered; will beg a specimen of fruit later.

Has been unwell.

Tells of Hooker’s admiration for TR’s articles.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Rivers
Date:  5 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  Sotheby’s (dealers) (23–4 July 1987)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4023

To J. D. Hooker   5 March [1863]



Ill health.

At work on Variation.

Reading JDH on Welwitschia.

Letter from Lyell defends his position on species.

Anger at Owen.

John Lubbock’s lectures.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  5 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 184
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4024

To Smith, Elder and Company   5 March [1863]


Accepts offer of £5 [for remaining stock of Geology of "Beagle"].

Orders postage stamps for son.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Smith, Elder & Co
Date:  5 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (MS.23181, ff.6-10 (S. E. & Co. work slip, ff.6-7, letter ff.8-9, address envelope f.10))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4025

From Julius von Haast   5 March 1863


Sends copy of his December letter [see 3851], which he fears is lost.

Has been in the Southern Alps and has discovered a wonderful pass.

Author:  John Francis Julius (Julius) von Haast
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Mar 1863
Classmark:  DAR 166: 1–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4026

From H. B. Dobell   5 March 1863


At CD’s request HBD has traced the quotation; it is on regeneration from Charles White in W. B. Carpenter’s Comparative physiology (1854), p. 480.

Is gratified that CD thinks some of the arguments in his book [Lectures on the germs of disease (1861)] are satisfactory.

Author:  Horace Benge Dobell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Mar 1863
Classmark:  DAR 162: 188
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4027

To Charles Lyell   6 March [1863]


Comments at length on CL’s book [Antiquity of man (1863)]. CD is "greatly disappointed that you have not given judgment and spoken fairly out what you think about the derivation of species".

Lists large number of queries concerning minor points.

Praises especially the chapters on language and glaciers.

Comments on the temperature of Africa during the glacial period, especially with regard to the views of Hooker.

Mentions Owen’s paper on the aye-aye [Rep. BAAS 32 (1862) pt 2: 114–16].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  6 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.289)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4028

From John Lubbock   6 March 1863


Thanks CD for his review [of H. W. Bates’s paper on mimetic butterflies, Collected papers 2: 87–92].

Is glad Hooker approved of his [JL’s] lecture.

Author:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 Mar 1863
Classmark:  DAR 170: 38
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4029

To H. B. Dobell   6 March [1863]


Thanks for information [on regeneration quotation].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Horace Benge Dobell
Date:  6 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 389
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4030

To John Scott   6 March 1863



Answers JS’s criticism of natural selection, which he doubts JS understands. CD does not believe in an "innate selective principle".

To understand "utility" JS should read CD on correlation.

Origin of maize: no longer thinks husked form was wild because of Asa Gray’s evidence on its variability.

Has information from Thomas Rivers on weeping habit in trees.

JS’s experiments on coloured primroses.

Encloses bibliographical note on Passiflora.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Scott
Date:  6 Mar 1863
Classmark:  DAR 93: B66–8, B71
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4031

From Smith, Elder and Company   9 March 1863


Cheque for books, stamps for CD’s son.

Author:  Smith, Elder & Co
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  9 Mar 1863
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (MS.23181:6v)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4032

To W. D. Fox   9 March [1863]


Has quoted WDF on crossing white and slate muscovy ducks [Variation 2: 40]. When not crossed, do these breed true?

Will also quote him on Mr Woodd’s white ewes that produced black lambs by a ram with only black spots [Variation 2: 30].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  9 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 138)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4033

To Smith, Elder and Company   10 March [1863]


Receipt for cheque enclosed.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Smith, Elder & Co
Date:  10 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  National Library of Scotland (MS.23181, ff.11-15 (S. E. & Co. work slip, ff.11-12, letter ff.13-14, address envelope f.15))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4034

From Charles Lyell   11 March 1863


Defends position he takes on species [in Antiquity of man]. CD overestimates CL’s capacity to influence public. Will not dogmatise on descent of man; prepared to accept it, but it "takes away much of the charm from my speculations on the past". Cannot go to Huxley’s length with regard to natural selection. Responds to CD’s comments on Antiquity of man.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  11 Mar 1863
Classmark:  K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 362–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4035

From W. E. Darwin   12 March [1863]


Discusses partnership in bank and whether Atherley would like to retire.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  12 Mar [1863]
Classmark:  Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 14)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4035F
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List of correspondents


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: 24 hits

  • … (1) Abney, W. de W. (3) Accademia dei Lincei …
  • … (1) Ainslie, O. A. (3) Airy, Hubert …
  • … (4) Alberts, Maurice (3) Albrecht, R. F. …
  • … (1) Ambrose, J. L. (3) American Academy of …
  • … (1) Anderson, James (c) (3) Anderson-Henry, …
  • … (1) Badger, E. W. (3) Baer, K. E. von …
  • … (1) Balch, C. L. (3) Baldwin, J. D. …
  • … (5) Ball, Robert (3) Ball, Valentine …
  • … (1) Beal, W. J. (3) Beale, L. S. (2) …
  • … (1) Beddoe, John (3) Beger, Karl (2) …
  • … (66) Bergson, Edouard (3) Bergstedt, C. F. …
  • … (4) Blake, C. C. (3) Blanche (2) …
  • … (1) Blewitt, Octavian (3) Blomefield, Leonard …
  • … (5) Boole, M. E. (3) Boott, Francis …
  • … (1) Bornet, Édouard (3) Bosquet, J. A. H. de …
  • … (1) Bouton, Louis (3) Bowerbank, J. S. …
  • … (1) Bridgman, W. K. (3) Brigg, John …
  • … (1) Brown-Séquard, C. É. (3) Browne, H. G. C. …
  • … (2) Burgess, Thomas (3) Burn, Robert …
  • … (1) Bush, John (3) Busk, George (18) …
  • … (2) Butler, Mary (3) Butler, Samuel (b) …
  • … (1) Campbell, G. D. (3) Canby, W. M. …
  • … (9) Cattell, John (3) Cecil, Henry …
  • … (7) Chance, Frank (3) Chancellor of the …

German poems presented to Darwin


Experiments in deepest reverence The following poems were enclosed with a photograph album sent as a birthday gift to Charles Darwin by his German and Austrian admirers (see letter from From Emil Rade, [before 16] February 1877). The poems were…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Das verschleierte Bild zu Sais 3 Zu Sais steht ein riesengroßes Bild, Das in …
  • … ging. The veiled image at Sais 3 At Sais there is enormous …
  • … assertion that the earth moved around the sun. 3. The title is a reference to the poem of …

Darwin in letters, 1860: Answering critics


On 7 January 1860, John Murray published the second edition of Darwin’s Origin of species, printing off another 3000 copies to satisfy the demands of an audience that surprised both the publisher and the author. It wasn't long, however, before ‘the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … at all concern his main argument ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 January [1860] ). Darwin’s …
  • … been ‘ utterly  smashed’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 July [1860] ). (A chronological list of all …
  • … and five botanists ( see letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 March [1860] ). Others, like François Jules …
  • … I gaze at it, makes me sick!’ ( letter to Asa Gray, 3 April [1860] ). By the end of 1860, …
  • … is best thing for subject.—’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 July [1860] ). Further details of the …

4.46 'Puck' cartoon 3


< Back to Introduction In 1885 Darwin made yet another posthumous appearance in the New York satirical magazine Puck – again in a religious context. ‘SHEOL’ referred to the recently published Revised edition of the Bible, which modified the text of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … < Back to Introduction In 1885 Darwin made yet another posthumous appearance in the …

Teaching Evolution at Key Stage 3? Join our December workshop


This free, exciting training and consultation event takes place on Tuesday 12th December at Cambridge University Library, 9.00-4.30. The workshop aims to support KS3 science teachers in delivering informed, dynamic Darwin-based sessions.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … This exciting training and consultation event takes place on Tuesday 12th December at Cambridge …

4.42 'Punch' Sambourne cartoon 3


< Back to Introduction Linley Sambourne’s last caricature of Darwin, ‘Man is But a Worm’, was published in Punch’s Almanac for 1882 on 6 December 1881, only four months before Darwin’s death. Like Sambourne’s ‘Punch’s Fancy Portraits. No. 54. Charles…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … < Back to Introduction Linley Sambourne’s last caricature of Darwin, ‘Man is But a …

3.6 William Darwin, photo 3


< Back to Introduction A photograph of Darwin apparently taken outdoors (he is seated on a chair but swathed in a cloak and rug) is undated and undocumented. It exists only as an unprinted collodion positive in the Darwin archive, strongly suggesting…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … < Back to Introduction A photograph of Darwin apparently taken outdoors (he is …

I beg a million pardons: To John Lubbock, [3 September 1862]


  Alison Pearn looks at a letter Darwin wrote to his neighbour and friend, John Lubbock, after making a mistake in his research on bees in 1862.

Matches: 1 hits

  • …   Alison Pearn looks at a letter Darwin wrote to his neighbour and friend, …

Darwin in letters, 1868: Studying sex


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: 8 hits

  • … of a ‘short essay’ on man ( letter to Ernst Haeckel, 3 July 1868 ). But this work would eventually …
  • … pages feel fairly nauseated’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 February [1868] ). But such worries were …
  • … kind almost heroic, in you to sacrifice your hair and pay 3 d  in the cause of science …
  • … canary (letters from J. J. Weir, [26] March 1868 and 3 June 1868 ). ‘It was very kind’, …
  • … on 9 September . Darwin annotated a letter sent on 3 April by Henry Doubleday that contained a …
  • … you have communicated to me’ ( letter to Fritz Müller, 3 June 1868 ). it is a fatal …
  • … of species through the study of monstrosities, remarked on 3 April , ‘your works are destined to …
  • … admirer of your genius’, wrote Frederick Behrens on 3 December , ‘I presume you are much plagued …

Darwin’s reading notebooks


In April 1838, Darwin began recording the titles of books he had read and the books he wished to read in Notebook C (Notebooks, pp. 319–28). In 1839, these lists were copied and continued in separate notebooks. The first of these reading notebooks (DAR 119…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … Surgeons [DAR *119: 1] Books to be Read 3 “Traité de la Folie des …
  • … on Annals of Nat. Hist. [Jenyns 1838] Prichard; a 3 d . vol [Prichard 1836–47] Lawrence [W. …
  • … ou Traité de Tératologie, par I. Geoffroy-Saint Hilaire, 3 vols. 8vo. et atlas de 20 planches. ibid, …
  • … of Human wishes. 28 Bacon’s Essays [Bacon 1825–36].— Butler. 3. first sermons …
  • … 1826]— (read) Pallas’ Travels [Pallas 1802–3]— Hookker (623 no) read Darby’s Louisiana …
  • … Drinkwater] 1833]— Prof. Smyth. French Revolution 3 vols [Smyth 1840] Baber’s …

Darwin in Conversation exhibition


Meet Charles Darwin as you have never met him before. Come to our exhibition at Cambridge University Library, running from 9 July to 3 December 2022, and discover a fascinating series of interwoven conversations with Darwin's many hundreds of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … 9 July – 3 December 2022 Milstein Exhibition Centre, Cambridge University …

Rewriting Origin - the later editions


For such an iconic work, the text of Origin was far from static. It was a living thing that Darwin continued to shape for the rest of his life, refining his ‘one long argument’ through a further five English editions.  Many of his changes were made in…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … ( to Charles Layton, 24 November [1869] ). From the 3 rd edition on, each English …
  • … ( Origin 2d ed, p. 481).   2 nd to 3 rd editions; US edition …
  • … changes, was doomed to disappointment.   3 rd to 4 th editions …
  • … to include at least one change only previously made in the 3 rd German edition . I …

Language: Interview with Gregory Radick


Darwin made a famous comment about parallels between changes in language and species change. Gregory Radick, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at Leeds University, talks about the importance of the development of language to Darwin, what…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … topic for Darwin? And if so, why? 3. Darwin made a famous comment about parallels …
  • … Darwinian account of the origin of language. 3. Darwin made a famous comment about parallels …

Darwin in letters, 1875: Pulling strings


‘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: 5 hits

  • … to the subject of cross and self-fertilisation. On 3 October , he wrote with fresh enthusiasm to …
  • … other interested parties. Darwin was summoned to testify on 3 November. It caused him much anxiety, …
  • … for printing an additional 250 ( letter to John Murray, 3 May 1875 ). In the event, the …
  • … weekly publications of Natural History’, he explained on 3 June , ‘are not sufficiently …
  • … time I can talk to anyone’ ( letter to John Lubbock, 3 May [1875] ). Finally it was arranged for …

Dates of composition of Darwin's manuscript on species


Many of the dates of letters in 1856 and 1857 were based on or confirmed by reference to Darwin’s manuscript on species (DAR 8--15.1, inclusive; transcribed and published as Natural selection). This manuscript, begun in May 1856, was nearly completed by…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … selection , pp. 534--66) 3 16 December 1856 …
  • … 5 3 March 1857 The struggle for existence as bearing on …

Detecting Darwin


Who was Charles Darwin? What is he famous for? Why is he still important?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Pupils act as Darwin detectives, exploring clues about Darwin’s life and work. No prior knowledge …

Darwin And Evolution


What is evolution? What did Darwin discover and how did he come to his conclusions?

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities give an introduction to Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution. Specimens brought …

Darwin's Fantastical Voyage


Learn about Darwin's adventures on his epic journey.

Matches: 1 hits

  • … These activities explore Darwin’s life changing voyage aboard HMS Beagle. Using letters home, …

Darwin in letters, 1880: Sensitivity and worms


‘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: 4 hits

  • … Kingdom, & even the world’ ( letter from J. L. Chester, 3 March 1880 ). Darwin’s sons George …
  • … regret that I did not do so’ ( letter to Samuel Butler, 3 January 1880 ). At the top of Butler’s …
  • … It is a horrid disease’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 February 1880 ). All went quiet until …
  • … letter … made me open my eyes’, Gray replied on 3 February , but he affirmed his original …

Language: key letters


How and why language evolved bears on larger questions about the evolution of the human species, and the relationship between man and animals. Darwin presented his views on the development of human speech from animal sounds in The Descent of Man (1871),…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letter 8367: Darwin, C. R. to Wright, Chauncey, 3 June [1872] In this letter to the …
  • … Letter 8962: Darwin, C. R. to Max Müller, Friedrich, 3 July 1873 In the 1870s, Darwin …
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