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Darwin Correspondence Project
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To Charles Kingsley   [17 June 1865]


Did not think anyone would notice case of Lathyrus.

Recalls reading correspondent’s paper on great fir woods of Hampshire.

Thanks for photograph.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Kingsley
Date:  [17 June 1865]
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library (Robert M. Stecher Collection: FF10)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13877

To Henry Denny   23 March [1865]


Interested by HD’s information on aperea; CD had concluded that it was not the progenitor of domestic guinea-pigs.

Is unsure what HD means by "stock-dove"; properly this is Columba oenas and the domestic pigeon is C. livia.

Suggests that the Zoological Society might arrange for some specimens [unspecified] to be supplied from the Gardens.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Denny
Date:  23 Mar [1865]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.120)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2435

To Charles Kingsley   2 June [1865]


Thanks for note; sends photograph taken by one of his sons.

His continued ill-health has prevented him making the acquaintance of many.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Kingsley
Date:  2 June [1865]
Classmark:  Bonhams New York (dealers) (4 December 2019, lot 19)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3174F

From John Murray   1 April 1865


Will be proud to publish CD’s new work on domestic animals [Variation]. Will announce it as the complement of the Origin. Advises on woodcuts; does not wish to limit number; agrees to CD’s suggestions for artists.

Author:  John Murray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Apr 1865
Classmark:  DAR 171: 332
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3493

To John Murray   4 April [1865]


Discusses proposed publication of Variation.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Murray
Date:  4 Apr [1865]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 434
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3494

From J. D. Hooker   [3 November 1865]



Kew affairs.

H. J. Carter’s observations are wonderful but want verification.

Skeptical of H. H. Travers’ observations.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [3 Nov 1865]
Classmark:  DAR 102: 43–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4330

From Lucy Caroline Wedgwood   [April–May 1865?]



Observations for CD on oxlips, which she finds never grow near cowslips or primroses.

Author:  Lucy Caroline Wedgwood; Lucy Caroline Harrison
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Apr–May 1865?]
Classmark:  DAR 108: 171–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4370

From Thomas Rivers   6 January [1865]


Thanks CD for his paper on Lythrum [Collected papers 2: 106–31].

Astonished by CD’s powers of observation and perseverance.

His elms raised from three varieties of weeping elms are doing well.

Author:  Thomas Rivers
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 Jan [1865]
Classmark:  DAR 176: 163
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4381

To Asa Gray   19 April [1865]


Congratulates AG on the "grand news of Richmond".

Still interested in dimorphism and would welcome new cases.

Working on Variation

and correcting proofs of Climbing plants.

Would like seed of AG’s dimorphic Plantago.

Cannot understand how the wind could fertilise reciprocally dimorphic flowers.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  19 Apr [1865]
Classmark:  Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (77)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4467

From W. E. Darwin   [April–May 1865]


Sends camera outlines of pollen. Thinks the red longstyled ones are more sterile than the yellow.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Apr–May 1865]
Classmark:  Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 20)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4506F

From Ellen Frances Lubbock   [27 August – 1 September 1865]


JL is in France with J. Steenstrup.

Author:  Ellen Frances Hordern; Ellen Frances Lubbock
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [27 Aug – 1 Sept 1865]
Classmark:  DAR 170: 10
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4603

To Edward Cresy   7 September [1865]


May his son George call for advice on his career?

CD has been ill for past four months.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Edward Cresy, Jr
Date:  7 Sept [1865]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 324
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4610

To Edward Cresy   19 October [1865]


Discusses income provided for sons at Cambridge.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Edward Cresy, Jr
Date:  19 Oct [1865]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 325
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4639

To Daniel Oliver   24 October [1865]


Thanks for correcting Fritz Miller’s paper on climbing plants. CD will send it to Linnean Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Daniel Oliver
Date:  24 Oct [1865]
Classmark:  DAR 261.10: 60 (EH 88206043)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4643

From Robert Swinhoe   [before 1 October 1865?]


Reports that dogs caught in the act of sodomy have been attacked by their fellows, who mutilate the offender’s genitals.

Gives a description of the nature and occurrence of the wild Bos of Formosa.

Author:  Robert Swinhoe
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 1 Oct 1865?]
Classmark:  DAR 177: 328
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4727

From William Erasmus Darwin   [late February–May 1865]



[Outline sketches of pollen from short-styled yellow primrose and from long-styled yellow and red primroses.]

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [late Feb–May 1865]
Classmark:  DAR 108: 89a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4729

From Thomas Henry Huxley   1 January 1865


Sends photograph.

THH wishes he could write the popular zoology but writing is a boring and slow process when he is not interested, and he is overburdened with lectures.

Author:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Jan 1865
Classmark:  DAR 166: 304
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4732

From Henrietta Anne Huxley   1 January 1865


Has just been shown CD’s remarks on Tennyson. Upbraids CD for "Owen-like quotation" out of context, and getting source wrong. "If ""facts"" in Origin are of this sort I agree with Bishop of Oxford."

Author:  Henrietta Anne Huxley
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Jan 1865
Classmark:  DAR 166: 284
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4733

From J. D. Hooker   1 January 1865



Forwards H. T. Stainton letter for reply.

Finds many Cucurbita have tendrils with sticking ends.

The "potentiality of so many organs in plants to play so many parts is one of the most wonderful of your discoveries . . . one day it will itself play a prodigious part in the interpretation of both morphological and physiological facts".

Is disgusted with Sabine’s address [see 4708] because of its mutilation of what JDH wrote.

THH’s slashing leader in Reader ["Science and ""Church policy"" ", 4 (1864): 821] – as usual he destroys all in his path.

Encloses letter from G. H. K. Thwaites with a message for CD [see encl].

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Jan 1865
Classmark:  DAR 102: 1–3; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Directors’ Correspondence 162: 224
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4734

From Henry Holland   2 January 1865


Thanks for Lythrum paper [Collected papers 2: 106–31].

T. S. Cobbold’s book on the Entozoa [1864].

Remarks on development of the tapeworm.

Author:  Henry Holland
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Jan 1865
Classmark:  DAR 166: 245
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4735
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Darwin in letters, 1865: Delays and disappointments


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: 29 hits

  • … In 1865, the chief work on Charles Darwin’s mind was the writing of  The …
  • … However, several smaller projects came to fruition in 1865, including the publication of his long …
  • … of Hugh Falconer Darwin’s first letter to Hooker of 1865 suggests that the family had had a …
  • … the house jolly’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] ). Darwin was ready to submit his …
  • … letter from Hugh Falconer to Erasmus Alvey Darwin, 3 January 1865 ). Erasmus forwarded his letters …
  • … laboured in vain’ ( letter to Hugh Falconer, 6 January [1865] ). Sic transit gloria …
  • … the world goes.—’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 February [1865] ). However, Hooker, at the time …
  • … are unalloyed’ ( letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 February 1865 ). Darwin, now ‘haunted’ by …
  • … with a vengeance’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 February [1865] ). Continuing ill-health …
  • … to try anyone’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] ). He particularly hated being ill …
  • … of life. He wrote to Charles Lyell on 22 January [1865] , ‘unfortunately reading makes my head …
  • … it up by early July ( see letter to J. D. Hooker, [10 July 1865] ). In July, he consulted …
  • … bread & meat’ ( letter to Asa Gray, 15 August [1865] ). By October, Darwin thought he might be …
  • … to Jones’s diet ( see letter to T. H. Huxley, 4 October [1865] ). It was not until December, …
  • … hour on most days’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 22 December [1865] ). Delays and …
  • … last & concluding one’ ( letter to John Murray, 31 March [1865] ). In April he authorised …
  • … press in the autumn’ ( letter to John Murray, 4 April [1865] ). In early June, he wrote to Murray …
  • … when I can do anything’ ( letter to John Murray, 2 June [1865] ). It was not until 25 December …
  • … of the woodcuts ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 January [1865] ). After sending the manuscript to the …
  • … like tartar emetic’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 19 January [1865] ). An abstract of the paper …
  • … for it is your child’ ( letter to Asa Gray, 19 April 1865 ; Darwin noted at the beginning of …
  • … the Linnean Society ( letter to [Richard Kippist], 4 June [1865] ). The paper was published in a …
  • … German, he had it translated, and wrote to Müller in August 1865 that he had just finished hearing …
  • … letter from Fritz Müller, [12 and 31 August, and 10 October 1865] ; since it is impossible to …
  • … clearly understand (l etter to Daniel Oliver, 20 October [1865] ). Darwin was particularly …
  • … scientific work’ ( letter to Fritz Müller, 20 September [1865] ), he clearly read Müller’s letters …
  • … from sea-sickness ( letter from John Scott, 21 July 1865 ). This may have been unwise: Thomas …
  • … & ability’ ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [10 March 1865] ). Scott took these criticisms, no …
  • … again when he had time ( letter from John Scott, 21 July 1865 ); at the time of writing, he had …

Darwin's notes for his physician, 1865


On 20 May 1865, Emma Darwin recorded in her diary that John Chapman, a prominent London publisher who had studied medicine in London and Paris in the early 1840s, visited Down to consult with Darwin about his ill health. In 1863 Chapman started to treat…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … On 20 May 1865, Emma Darwin recorded in her diary that John Chapman, a prominent London …
  • … Darwin wrote that he fell ill again on 22 April 1865 and was unable to ‘do anything.’  Emma Darwin’s …
  • … hand). Darwin began the ice treatment on 20 May 1865. In his letter to Chapman of 7 June 1865
  • … from Charles and Emma Darwin to J. D. Hooker, [10 July 1865]). Darwin’s condition had been …
  • … and George Busk (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [7 January 1865], and letter from George Busk, 28 April …

The Lyell–Lubbock dispute


In May 1865 a dispute arose between John Lubbock and Charles Lyell when Lubbock, in his book Prehistoric times, accused Lyell of plagiarism. The dispute caused great dismay among many of their mutual scientific friends, some of whom took immediate action…

Matches: 22 hits

  • … In May 1865 a dispute arose between John Lubbock and Charles Lyell when Lubbock, in …
  • … basis of Lubbock’s book, Prehistoric times (Lubbock 1865).  By 1860, Lyell had begun work …
  • … material available pertaining to the antiquity of humans. In 1865, he wrote that the section on …
  • … not pursue any grievance against Lyell until the spring of 1865. 13  In the course of …
  • … C. Lyell 1863c and Lubbock 1861 (and consequently in Lubbock 1865), combined with the wording of …
  • … between the end of February and the beginning of March 1865, Lubbock wrote the note which would …
  • … received a copy of Lubbock’s book, published in mid-May 1865, he immediately wrote to express his …
  • … Ramsay in a note to an article published in the April 1865 issue of the Philosophical Magazine . …
  • … thought of the affair ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [2 June 1865] ). Hooker, for his part, could see …
  • … for Lubbock’s book ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 June 1865] ). A week later he sent Lubbock a …
  • … the note in the preface (letter to John Lubbock, 11 June [1865] ). No correspondence with Lyell …
  • … him for an opinion ( letter from J. D. Hooker, 13 July 1865 ), Darwin wrote back ( letter to J. D …
  • … and Lubbock had no direct communication after the end of May 1865, each appealing to friends to …
  • … Thus, in print-runs after the end of June 1865, Lubbock had cancelled his note at the end of the …
  • … of both interested parties. Only one known review of Lubbock 1865 draws attention to Lubbock’s note; …
  • … situation was succinct. In his letter to Hooker of [4 June 1865] he warned that no one could do …
  • … (C. Lyell 1863c; see letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865] and n. 13). The third edition had …
  • … vii–ix (revised version of last section, printed in August 1865, but dated 1863 on the title page) …
  • … of the ‘ Elements of geology ’ 34 [C. Lyell 1865], and the printed proofs were transferred …
  • … (see enclosure to letter from J. D. Hooker, [15 June 1865] ). Later, Lubbock claimed that he had …
  • … the note which appeared at the end of the preface to Lubbock 1865. He told Hooker, ‘I did not trust …
  • … ours’ (letter from John Lubbock to J. D. Hooker, 23 June 1865, in Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, …



It was crucial to Darwin’s theories of species change that naturally occurring variations could be inherited.  But at the time when he wrote Origin, he had no explanation for how inheritance worked – it was just obvious that it did.  Darwin’s attempt to…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … example of in that way. ( T. H. Huxley, 16 July 1865 ). 'Your last note& …
  • … make widely opposite remarks.' ( to T. H. Huxley, [17 July 1865] ). He was forced to confess …

Darwin's health


On 28 March 1849, ten years before Origin was published, Darwin wrote to his good friend Joseph Hooker from Great Malvern in Worcestershire, where Dr James Manby Gully ran a fashionable water-cure establishment. Darwin apologised for his delayed reply to…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … regular attacks had occurred again in the last week of April 1865, and the third week of May, just …
  • … threw up food.  In his letter to Chapman of 16 May [1865] , Darwin stated that his sickness was …
  • … Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) on several occasions in 1864 and 1865. ‘Bad hysteria & sickness’ were …
  • … difficulties reading, see letters to J. D. Hooker, 1 June [1865] and 27 [or 28 September 1865] …

George Busk


After the Beagle voyage, Darwin’s collection of bryozoans disappears from the records until the material was sent, in 1852, for study by George Busk, one of the foremost workers on the group of his day. In 1863, on the way down to Malvern Wells, Darwin had…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … and Lady Lyell ( letter from J. D. Hooker [2 June 1865] ).    …

Fake Darwin: myths and misconceptions


Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, with full debunking below...

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Many myths have persisted about Darwin's life and work. Here are a few of the more pervasive ones, …

Evolution: Selected Letters of Charles Darwin 1860-1870


This selection of Charles Darwin’s letters includes correspondence with his friends and scientific colleagues around the world; letters by the critics who tried to stamp out his ideas, and by admirers who helped them to spread. It takes up the story of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Darwin to Hooker (on hearing of Robert FitzRoy’s suicide), 1865. As you are now so …

Referencing women’s work


Darwin's correspondence shows that women made significant contributions to Darwin's work, but whether and how they were acknowledged in print involved complex considerations of social standing, professional standing, and personal preference.…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letter 4370 - Wedgwood, L. C. to Darwin, [April - May 1865] Darwin’s niece, Lucy, …
  • … Letter 4794 - Darwin to Lyell, C., [25 March 1865] Darwin asks Charles Lyell for …



Design|Personal Belief|Beauty|The Church Perhaps the most notorious realm of controversy over evolution in Darwin's day was religion. The same can be said of the evolution controversy today; however the nature of the disputes and the manner in…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Letter 4752 — Darwin, C. R. to Lyell, Charles, 22 Jan [1865] Darwin writes to King's …
  • … Letter 4939 — Shaw, James to Darwin, C. R., 20 Nov 1865 Scottish school teacher and writer …
  • … Letter 4943 — Darwin, C. R. to Shaw, James, 30 Nov 1865 Darwin writes to James Shaw. He is …

Women’s scientific participation


Observers | Fieldwork | Experimentation | Editors and critics | Assistants Darwin’s correspondence helps bring to light a community of women who participated, often actively and routinely, in the nineteenth-century scientific community. Here is a…

Matches: 2 hits

  • … Letter 4823  - Wedgwood, L. C. to Darwin, H. E., [May 1865] Darwin’s niece, Lucy, …
  • … Letter 4928  - Henslow, G. to Darwin, [11 November 1865] J. S. Henslow’s son, George, …

Darwin in letters, 1867: A civilised dispute


Charles Darwin’s major achievement in 1867 was the completion of his large work, The variation of animals and plants under domestication (Variation). The importance of Darwin’s network of correspondents becomes vividly apparent in his work on expression in…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … started in January 1860, and advertised in the press since 1865 with the unwieldy title, …
  • … apparently discussing it or showing it to anyone until 1865, when he sent a version of it to Huxley, …
  • … a book based on a series of articles that had appeared in 1865. In it he challenged aspects of …
  • …  vol. 13, letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 February [1865] and n. 4). Darwin’s wife and children also …

Science: A Man’s World?


Discussion Questions|Letters Darwin's correspondence show that many nineteenth-century women participated in the world of science, be it as experimenters, observers, editors, critics, producers, or consumers. Despite this, much of the…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Letter 4940 - Cresy, E. to Darwin, E., [20 November 1865] Edward Cresy Jnr. seeks Darwin …

The evolution of honeycomb


Honeycombs are natural engineering marvels, using the least possible amount of wax to provide the greatest amount of storage space, with the greatest possible structural stability. Darwin recognised that explaining the evolution of the honey-bee’s comb…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … precise measurement was bought to bear, a myth. In 1865, Darwin received a letter from Edward …

Race, Civilization, and Progress


Darwin's first reflections on human progress were prompted by his experiences in the slave-owning colony of Brazil, and by his encounters with the Yahgan peoples of Tierra del Fuego. Harsh conditions, privation, poor climate, bondage and servitude,…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … Letter 4933 : Farrar, F. W. to Darwin, 6 November 1865 "so far as I can see, History, …
  • … Darwinonline ] John Lubbock, Pre-Historic Times (1865) [ available at ] …
  • … ] T. H. Huxley, "Methods and Results of Ethnology" (1865) [ available at archive …

Darwin in letters, 1869: Forward on all fronts


At the start of 1869, Darwin was hard at work making changes and additions for a fifth edition of  Origin. He may have resented the interruption to his work on sexual selection and human evolution, but he spent forty-six days on the task. Much of the…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … Nägeli, a Swiss botanist and professor at Munich (Nägeli 1865). Darwin had considered Nägeli’s paper …
  • … account for changes in most morphological features (Nägeli 1865, p. 29). Darwin sent a manuscript of …
  • … only be altered by his perfectibility principle (Nägeli 1865, pp. 28–9). In further letters, Hooker …
  • … been since his last period of prolonged illness in 1864 and 1865, although a particularly low spell …

Scientific Practice


Specialism|Experiment|Microscopes|Collecting|Theory Letter writing is often seen as a part of scientific communication, rather than as integral to knowledge making. This section shows how correspondence could help to shape the practice of science, from…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … 4895 — Darwin, C. R. to Müller, J. F. T., 20 Sept [1865] Darwin thanks Müller for interesting …

Climbing plants


Darwin’s book Climbing plants was published in 1865, but its gestation began much earlier. The start of Darwin’s work on the topic lay in his need, owing to severe bouts of illness in himself and his family, for diversions away from his much harder book on…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … Darwin’s book Climbing plants was published in 1865, but its gestation began much earlier. The …
  • … of the Linnean Society, Frederick Currey , on 2 February 1865. The response was enthusiastic, …
  • … ‘ spiralism as a teratological phenomenon ’. By April 1865, Darwin was correcting proofs of the …
  • … and habits of climbing plants’ was published on 12 June 1865 in a double issue of the Journal of …

Dramatisation script


Re: Design – Adaptation of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, Asa Gray and others… by Craig Baxter – as performed 25 March 2007

Matches: 5 hits

  • … your darling. BOOKS BY THE LATE CHARLES DARWIN: 1863-1865 In which Drwin struggles …
  • … I find rather dull. GRAY:   170   1 May 1865… Well, ‘treason has done its worst’ and …
  • … 5 DECEMBER 1864 170 A GRAY TO RW CHURCH, 1 MAY 1865 171  C DARWIN TO A GRAY …
  • … 25 MAY 1868 195 A GRAY TO JD HOOKER, 21 NOV 1865 196  FROM A GRAY 27 …

Interview with John Hedley Brooke


John Hedley Brooke is President of the Science and Religion Forum as well as the author of the influential Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 1991). He has had a long career in the history of science and…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … And you refer to a letter from Joseph Hooker to Darwin in 1865 in which he notes the pain and …
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