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To Peter Martin Duncan   13 April [1868?]


Promises to send coral specimens.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Peter Martin Duncan
Date:  13 Apr [1868?]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (272)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13802

To Moritz Wagner   [April–June 1868]


Thanks MW for his essay [Die Darwin’sche Theorie und das Migrationsgesetz der Organismen (1868)]. Is highly gratified that MW agrees with him to a considerable extent.

Almost wishes that he could believe in the importance of isolation to the same extent as MW.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Moritz Friedrich (Moritz) Wagner
Date:  [Apr–June 1868]
Classmark:  LL 3: 157; DAR 148: 198
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5760

From W. E. Darwin   [13 April 1868]


Action of facial muscles at onset of crying.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [13 Apr 1868]
Classmark:  DAR 162: 98
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-5965

From W. E. Darwin   [7–15 April 1868]


Langstaff has never seen the platysma act, and he believes it to be rudimentary in humans.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [7–15 Apr 1868]
Classmark:  DAR 162: 80/4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6076

From Frederick F. Geach   April 1868


Sends expanded answers [to Queries about expression], in view of CD’s statement that his first list had not been sufficiently explanatory. Is pleased that some answers confirmed CD’s views [see Expression, passim].

Author:  Frederick F. Geach
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 165: 23
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6077

From J. J. Weir   [before 28 April] 1868


Proportion of sexes in chaffinches.

Pugnacity of blackbirds and robins.

Harrison Weir reports up to nine eggs in starling nests.

Newspaper report of a sheep born with its owner’s brand.

Author:  John Jenner Weir
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 28 Apr] 1868
Classmark:  DAR 86: C1–2, DAR 84.1: 73–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6078

From William Bowman   1 April [1868]


Asks for precise reference in Charles Bell to subject of CD’s question. Agrees to assist CD’s investigation. Asks about Bell’s observations on eyes engorged with blood. Has noticed that eyes of children with excessive photophobia tend to be pale when forced open.

Author:  William Bowman, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  DAR 160: 268
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6079

From G. H. K. Thwaites   1 April 1868


Has circulated CD’s Queries about expression and gives some of his observations of the natives.

Author:  George Henry Kendrick Thwaites
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 178: 123
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6080

To William Bowman   2 April [1868]


Gives Charles Bell’s explanation of the contraction of the orbicularis during screaming and seeks confirmation of his view because the action is "the key-stone of a whole class of expressions". Curious to learn WB’s conclusion in regard to the relation between contraction of the orbicularis and secretion of tears. Notes that voluntary contraction of the orbicularis causes no tears.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bowman, 1st baronet
Date:  2 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  DAR 249: 72 (photocopy)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6081

From George Robert Gray   2 April 1868



On the changes in plumage of scarlet ibis at the zoo in breeding season.

Author:  George Robert Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 84.1: 90–1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6082

From Robert Caspary   2 April 1868


Finds important differences between English and German versions of Variation on graft-hybrids.

Experiments and observations on submerged flowers.

Author:  Johann Xaver Robert (Robert) Caspary
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 161: 122
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6083

To John Bush   2 April [1868]


Thanks JB for his information. Has heard of analogous cases to JB’s observations on [colours of] crossed rats; the offspring of white and grey mice are stated to be either white or grey and never piebald.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Bush
Date:  2 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  Private collection
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6084

To Fritz Müller   3 April [1868]


Movement in plants.


Would welcome FM’s opinion of Pangenesis.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Date:  3 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  British Library (Loan MS 10 no 23)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6085

To J. D. Hooker   3 April [1868]


Asks for [John?] Smith’s exact count of seeds of the crossed and self-fertilised Victoria water-lily. Similar question on Euryale seed and seedlings.

JDH’s coming [BAAS] Presidential Address.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  3 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  DAR 94: 60–1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6086

From Henry Doubleday   3 April 1868


Otto Staudinger’s catalogue shows prices of female Lepidoptera to be higher than those of males.

Author:  Henry Doubleday
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 81: 78, DAR 82: A8
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6087

From Camille Dareste   3 April 1868


Thanks for Variation.

CD must be happy about the tendency toward acceptance of his views, though it is regrettable that France is backward in this regard.

His own work goes slowly, but he still hopes his work on artificially produced monstrosities will help to answer the question of the origin of species.

Author:  Gabriel-Madeleine-Camille (Camille) Dareste
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Apr 1868
Classmark:  DAR 162: 44
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6088

From Edward Blyth   [3 April 1868]


Discusses apes and their relationships to each other. Writes particularly of the gibbon, its structure and well-developed legs giving it the ability to walk without using its hands.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [3 Apr 1868]
Classmark:  DAR 45: 29, DAR 83: 156
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6089

From Fritz Müller   3 April 1868


Thanks CD for sending him copy of Variation.

Describes results of his brother’s [August Müller] experiments on effect of climate on maize.

Like ancestors of horses, young tapir is also striped.

Author:  Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Apr 1868
Classmark:  Möller 1915–21, 2: 137–8
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6089A

From W. E. Darwin 3 April 1868


Discusses how they might enquire about any provisions in the laws of partnership concerning lunacy.

Author:  William Erasmus Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  3 Apr 1868
Classmark:  Cornford Family Papers (DAR 275: 32)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6089F

To J. J. Weir   4 April [1868]


CD thanks JJW for the mine of information his last "ten!" letters contain. Comments on sexual display of pheasants and colour preferences of pigeons.

Asks about hens that pair earliest in spring and about possible existence of unpaired birds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Jenner Weir
Date:  4 Apr [1868]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Getz 6090)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6090
Document type
letter (81)
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in keywords
106 Items
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Darwin’s queries on expression


When Darwin resumed systematic research on emotions around 1866, he began to collect observations more widely and composed a list of queries on human expression. A number of handwritten copies were sent out in 1867 (see, for example, letter to Fritz Muller…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … The Scottish botanist John Scott wrote from Calcutta, 4 May 1868 : “Shame is … expressed by an …
  • … Foster, Michael 4 June [1871] Trinity College, …
  • … Geach, F.F. 4 July 1868 Johore, Malaysia …
  • … Haast, J.F.J. von 4 Dec 1867 Christchurch, New …

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, …

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 …

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

  • … Could you tell us a bit more about that? 4. How did you use Darwin’s …
  • … between him and us, however uncomfortable. 4. How did you use Darwin’s correspondence to re …

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: 7 hits

  • … improvement to Jones’s diet ( see letter to T. H. Huxley, 4 October [1865] ). It was not until …
  • … for the press in the autumn’ ( letter to John Murray, 4 April [1865] ). In early June, he wrote to …
  • … from the Linnean Society ( letter to [Richard Kippist], 4 June [1865] ). The paper was published …
  • … to high scientific account’ (A. Gray 1865–6, pp. 273-4). Darwin had also written to Gray on 19 …
  • … for him to read attentively ( see letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 June 1865] ). The fact that …
  • … do it if it ever can be done’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 June 1865] ); the hard work of …
  • … keep out of contact with him’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 May [1865] ). Darwin contributed …

Teachers notes: Offer of a lifetime


The Offer of a Lifetime?  Activities for: English Key Stage 3 and 4 When Darwin was 22 he received an exciting and unique opportunity to join HMS Beagle. The voyage changed his life but the letters show how close he came to not going at all! …

Matches: 1 hits

  • … Activities for: English Key Stage 3 and 4 When Darwin was 22 he received an exciting and …

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: 9 hits

  • … published in Paris (in 2 vols.), so long ago as 1839 4  [Pierquin de Gembloux 1839]. Said to …
  • … et anim: on sleep & movements of plants  £ 1 ..s  4. [Dutrochet 1837] Voyage aux …
  • … observations on increase & decrease of different diseases 4 to . 1801 [Heberden 1801] quoted …
  • … worth reading [Dampier 1697] Sportsman’s repository 4 to . [W. H. Scott 1820]— contains …
  • … Audubons Ornithol: Biography [Audubon 1831–9]— 4 Vols. well worth reading [DAR *119: 4v.] …
  • … 31 An analysis of British Ferns. G. W. Francis 4 s  [Francis 1837]— plates of every …
  • … of Rural Sports [Blaine 1840] (at Athenæum?) Book II Chapt. 4 on variation by  Blaine .— & on …
  • … Yak.— Steudel Botan. Nomenclature [Steudel 1821–4]. Synonym of every plant & country— …
  • … Paper on transmutation of shells [Haldeman 1843–4] already (1844) VI. vols. published Lib. …

Darwin and vivisection


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: 2 hits

  • … on the Trichinae’ (letter to H. E. Litchfield, 4 January [1875] ). Darwin also worried that any …
  • … a new sketch for a petition (letter from T. H. Huxley, [4 April 1875] ). This was evidently …

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: 4 hits

  • … mammoth ( Correspondence vol. 8, letter to Charles Lyell, 4 May [1860] and n. 3; Hutchinson 1914, …
  • … partly inspired by the controversies associated with it. 4 One area of controversy centred …
  • … admiration for Lubbock’s book ( letter to J. D. Hooker, [4 June 1865] ). A week later he sent …
  • … of the situation was succinct. In his letter to Hooker of [4 June 1865] he warned that no one …

Darwin in letters, 1871: An emptying nest


The year 1871 was an extremely busy and productive one for Darwin, with the publication in February of his long-awaited book on human evolution, Descent of man. The other main preoccupation of the year was the preparation of his manuscript on expression.…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … of  Descent , he wrote to Philip Lutley Sclater on 4 January , ‘Heaven knows, whether the book …
  • … produce physiological changes ( letter from Michael Foster, 4 June [1871] ). Pangenesis …
  • … can hardly sit up, so no more’ ( letter to A. R. Wallace, 4 August [1871] ). On 23 September he …
  • … good as twice refined gold’ ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 4 September [1871] ). The months …

Darwin in letters, 1876: In the midst of life


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: 5 hits

  • … curs in London’ ( letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [4 February 1876] ). 'The heat of …
  • … as stemming a torrent with a reed’, he told Romanes on 4 June , but added, ‘Frank … who sputters …
  • … the previous year ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [after 4 September 1876] ). ...all sorts of …
  • … say is do not commit suicide’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [4 June 1876] ). By midsummer, Darwin …
  • … size of pollen grains & state of stigma’, he told Gray on 4 December. Darwin also adopted …

Dramatisation script


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

Matches: 2 hits

  • … except that of vigorous health… DARWIN:  4   My confounded stomach. GRAY: …

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

  • … He expressed his views to his daughter Henrietta on 4 January : ‘I wd gladly punish severely …
  • … eyes of one variety into another ( Variation 2d ed. 1: 420–4, 2: 360). Darwin had encouraged …
  • … become wholly white’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [before 4 November 1874] ).   Testing …
  • … am very glad indeed of your work,’ Darwin replied on 4 November , ‘though I cannot yet follow all …
  • … occasions and finally arranged a visit to Down House on 4 May, but was not content with just one …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest


The year 1866 began well for Charles Darwin, as his health, after several years of illness, was now considerably improved. In February, Darwin received a request from his publisher, John Murray, for a new edition of  Origin. Darwin got the fourth…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … [1866] ). Darwin began riding the cob, Tommy, on 4 June 1866, and in a letter to his …
  • … before the season is over’ ( letter from John Lubbock, 4 August 1866 ). More predictably, however, …
  • … is known on the subject’ ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 3 and 4 August [1866] ). And on the next day: …
  • … he had sounded the charge’ ( letter from J. D. Hooker, [4 September 1866] ). 'Natural …

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

  • … “Es hebt ihn keiner, bis ich selbst ihn hebe!” 4 O schlauer Spruch! Wann hätte je der Gott …
  • … “You may not lift it, till I myself shall lift it!” 4 O what a wise saying! When did God …
  • … poem of the same name by Friedrich von Schiller. 4. This is a partial quotation from …

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, …

Darwin in letters, 1847-1850: Microscopes and barnacles


Darwin's study of barnacles, begun in 1844, took him eight years to complete. The correspondence reveals how his interest in a species found during the Beagle voyage developed into an investigation of the comparative anatomy of other cirripedes and…

Matches: 3 hits

  • … write the chapter on geology ( letter to J. F. W. Herschel, 4 February [1848] ). Letters between …
  • … into a sessile, adult organism ( Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix II). One particular aspect of …
  • … affinities of the cirripedes ( Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix II). In some cases he felt he …

Interview with Tim Lewens


Dr Tim Lewens is a Lecturer in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Organisms and artifacts (2004), which examines the language and arguments for design in biology and philosophy, and of…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … inherent in Darwin’s work. 4. The expanding scope of biology …

Suggested reading


  Contemporary writing Anon., The English matron: A practical manual for young wives, (London, 1846). Anon., The English gentlewoman: A practical manual for young ladies on their entrance to society, (Third edition, London, 1846). Becker, L. E.…

Matches: 1 hits

  • … species : A b iography , (London, 2006),  chapter 4: Controversy , pp. 84 – 117.  …
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