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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: 16 hits

  • … The year 1874 was one of consolidation, reflection, and turmoil for Darwin. He spent the …
  • … 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 …
  • … intervals’ ( letter to D. T. Gardner, [ c . 27 August 1874] ). The death of a Cambridge friend, …
  • … and collecting beetles ( letter from W. D. Fox, 8 May [1874] ).  Such reminiscences led Darwin to …
  • … much more than forwards’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 11 May [1874] ). I feel very old & …
  • … hope.— I feel very old & helpless’  ( letter to B. J. Sulivan, 6 January [1874] ). Darwin …
  • … on the matter ( letter from Ernst Haeckel, 26 October 1874 ). Séances, psychics, and …
  • … rubbish’, he confided to Joseph Dalton Hooker ( letter to J. D. Hooker, 18 January [1874] ). …
  • … letter to Smith, Elder & Co., 8 January 1874 , letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 January 1874 , and …
  • … for misinterpreting Darwin on this point ( letter from J. D. Dana, 21 July 1874 ); however, he did …
  • … whether he was the author of the review ( see letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 December 1874 ). Huxley …
  • … 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 …

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: 14 hits

  • … in the controversy over vivisection that broke out in late 1874. Public debate was sparked when the …
  • … experiments on live animals in Britain. In December 1874, Darwin was asked to sign a memorial …
  • … 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 …
  • … (letter from T. H. Huxley, 19 May 1875 , letter from J. S. Burdon Sanderson, 23 May [1875] ). …

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: 18 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 …
  • … 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 …
  • … laid to rest, another controversy was brewing. In December 1874, Darwin had been asked to sign a …
  • … 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 …
  • … A scientific friendship had developed between the men in 1874, and this was enhanced by Romanes’s …
  • … red half has become wholly white’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [before 4 November 1874] ).   …
  • … had learned of Lyell’s failing health from Hooker in 1874 and January 1875. On 22 February, he was …

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: 17 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 …
  • … Mivart made a slanderous attack on George Darwin in late 1874 in an anonymous article, which …
  • … 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 …
  • … in a ‘remarkable manner’ by replicating Darwin’s experiments. In contrast, the German physiologist …
  • … results in this year’s experiments’ ( letter from G. J. Romanes, [ c . 19 March 1876] ). A less …