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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: 11 hits

  • … of style, the more grateful I shall be’  ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ). She had …
  • … ever have thought that I shd. turn parson?’ ( letter to H. E. Darwin, [8 February 1870] ). …
  • … thing so unimportant as the mind of man!’ ( letter from H. E. Darwin, [after 8 February 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 …
  • … wasted if I once began to answer objectors’ ( letter to W. H. Flower, 25 March [1870] ). In his …
  • … out seven devils worse than that first!’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 22 June 1870 ). In the …
  • … highly important for the welfare of mankind’ ( letter to [H. H. Vivian?], [April or May 1870?] ). …
  • … dark to me and to every one else I suspect’ ( letter from H. B. Jones, 2 August 1870 ). …
  • … to ride the same horse that had thrown him (letter from G. H. Darwin to H. E. Darwin, [21 – 2 …
  • … an armchair’, he informed his father ( letter from G. H. Darwin, [3 February 1870 or earlier] ). …

Darwin in letters, 1877: Flowers and honours

Summary

Ever since the publication of Expression, Darwin’s research had centred firmly on botany. The year 1877 was no exception. The spring and early summer were spent completing Forms of flowers, his fifth book on a botanical topic. He then turned to the…

Matches: 5 hits

  • … recent term ‘heterostyled’ to describe the different flower forms, distinguished in part by the …
  • … to advance more speculative views on the origin of different flower forms, such as cleistogamy, and …
  • … might then be highly beneficial to [a plant] that the same flower or the same individual should not …
  • … to the mark hereafter is another question’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 30 May [1877] ). In the end, …
  • … between sagging of pavemts & castings’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 21 November [1877] ). It is …

Darwin in letters, 1862: A multiplicity of experiments

Summary

1862 was a particularly productive year for Darwin. This was not only the case in his published output (two botanical papers and a book on the pollination mechanisms of orchids), but more particularly in the extent and breadth of the botanical experiments…

Matches: 22 hits

  • attempted to dissuade him from this view ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 14 [January 1862] ): 'no
  • together. He failed. Huxley replied ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 20 January 1862 ): 'I
  • themsimply perfect’, but continued ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 18 December [1862] ): 'you say
  • their difference of opinion, but complained ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 28 December [1862] ): &#039
  • The paper described the two forms of  Primula flower, short-styled and long-styled, and
  • books for indications that a species had more than one flower form, and writing to botanists asking
  • his son, William, his language was more blunt ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February [1862] ): …
  • distinct flowersgovern the structure of almost every  flower’ ( letter to Daniel Oliver, 8
  • eminently useful in showing me how nearly all parts of the flower are coadapted for fertilisation by
  • withgood dashes of original reflexions’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 13 January [1862] ). He warmly
  • … & admirable papers I ever read in my life’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 20 November [1862] ). He
  • telling him of the need for a second edition ( letter from H. G. Bronn, [before 11 March 1862] ), …
  • and Emmaperplexed to death what to do’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, [23 August 1862] ). They
  • analogous to the nervous matter of animals’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 20 [September 1862] ; letter
  • byparticularly active young wolves’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 9 October 1862 ). Darwin
  • have never passed so miserable a nine months’ ( letter to W. D. Fox, 12 September [1862] ). …
  • work would make his lifemuch happier’ ( letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 February [1862] ). Darwin
  • with him, enthusiastically set to work ( see letter to W. E. Darwin, [23 August 1862] , and
  • insects with Darwins hypothesis ( see letter from H. W. Bates, 30 April 1862 ), Darwin was
  • views, though not to natural selection ( see letter from T. H. Huxley, 13 January 1862 ). Darwin
  • the skimmings of the pot of life’? ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 May 1862 ). In his address, …
  • in reply, referred him back to  Origin  (l etter to T. H. Huxley, 10 May [1862] ): 'I fully

Was Darwin an ecologist?

Summary

One of the most fascinating aspects of Charles Darwin’s correspondence is the extent to which the experiments he performed at his home in Down, in the English county of Kent, seem to prefigure modern scientific work in ecology.

Matches: 2 hits

  • … new words … is something dreadful’, Darwin wrote to T. H. Huxley on 22 December 1866 . ‘He seems …
  • …  Lectures on the physiology of plants . Translated by H. M. Ward. Oxford: Clarendon Press. …

Darwin in letters, 1864: Failing health

Summary

On receiving a photograph from Charles Darwin, the American botanist Asa Gray wrote on 11 July 1864: ‘the venerable beard gives the look of your having suffered, and … of having grown older’.  Because of poor health, Because of poor health, Darwin…

Matches: 4 hits

  • … whether the tendrils of  Passiflora  might be modified flower peduncles rather than modified …
  • … their collaborative work in determining what differences in flower structures, in addition to stigma …
  • … its death blow’ with the publication of  Origin  (T. H. Huxley 1864a, p. 567). In 1864, …
  • … had there been any failure of justice’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 4 November 1864 ). …

Darwin in letters, 1863: Quarrels at home, honours abroad

Summary

At the start of 1863, Charles Darwin was actively working on the manuscript of The variation of animals and plants under domestication, anticipating with excitement the construction of a hothouse to accommodate his increasingly varied botanical experiments…

Matches: 11 hits

  • … I never in my life read anything grander’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 26 [February 1863] ). In the …
  • … on this subject seems to get rarer & rarer’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 18 April [1863] ), …
  • … for the Natural History Review  ( see letter to H. W. Bates, 12 January [1863] ). Darwin added …
  • … to J. D. Hooker, [9 May 1863] , and memorandum from G. H. Darwin, [before 11 May 1863]) . …
  • … the end of 1862, and published as a book in early 1863 (T. H. Huxley 1863a). Though Darwin was …
  • … sterility of species, when crossed’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 10 [January 1863] ). He reminded …
  • … in  Primula ’), he had demonstrated that two different flower forms, one with a long style and …
  • … that suggested a high degree of sterility when the same flower forms were crossed (see Appendix IV). …
  • … noticed.—a triple marriage’ between three hermaphrodite flower forms; during the summer of 1863, …
  • … both self-pollination and cross-pollination ( letter to P. H. Gosse, 2 June [1863] ). The …
  • … and Lyell’s  Antiquity of man  ( see letter from T. H. Huxley, 25 February 1863 , and letter …

Darwin in letters, 1860: Answering critics

Summary

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

  • … would have been ‘ utterly  smashed’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 July [1860] ). (A chronological …
  • … inter se ,’ Darwin’s theory would remain unproven (T. H. Huxley 1860a). Darwin had long …
  • … geographical distribution of species ( see letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 August 1860 ). But Baer in …
  • … ‘this row is best thing for subject.—’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 July [1860] ). Further details …
  • … detail, focusing on specific aspects of the structure of the flower parts of various species. He …

Darwin’s observations on his children

Summary

Charles Darwin’s observations on the development of his children,[1] began the research that culminated in his book The Expression of the emotions in man and Animals, published in 1872, and his article ‘A biographical sketch of an infant’, published in…

Matches: 10 hits

  • Transcription: 1 [9W. Erasmus. Darwin born. Dec. 27 th . 1839.—[10During first week. …
  • morning put on an unconspicuous bonnet of C. Langton,[52W. instantly observed it knew whose it was
  • leaves, stuck them in the ground to observe if the Bees, w d  look at them.[53Willy across whole
  • as large as pins head, which I had put at bottom of each flower.— During last fortnight has
  • 46  Horace[712½. G. When shall you wean baby. H. I am weaned for theres no more milk. …
  • remonstrating with him on telling such a Burster (as he w d . call it), he answered, “Well then I
  • to do”.— Lenny going to do something to a flower said. “Ive a fact to do52  June
  • Darwins sister. [53CDs observations on the flower garden at Maer and the role of bees in
  • first books that she could recall encountering as a child (H. E. Litchfield papers, CUL). [60
  • family archives, but who possesses it, I do not know.’ (H. E. Litchfield papers, CUL). [71] …

Women’s scientific participation

Summary

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: 24 hits

  • … in inheritance. Letter 3787 - Darwin, H. E. to Darwin, [29 October 1862] …
  • … birds. Letter 5817 - Darwin to Huxley, T. H., [30 January 1868] Darwin …
  • … Letter 6535 - Vaughan Williams , M. S. to Darwin, H. E., [after 14 October 1869] …
  • … patience”. Letter 4242 - Hildebrand, F. H. G. to Darwin, [16 July 1863] …
  • … Women: Letter 1701 - Morris, M. H. to Prior, R. C. A., [17 June 1855] …
  • … Letter 4823  - Wedgwood, L. C. to Darwin, H. E., [May 1865] Darwin’s niece, Lucy, …
  • … Leith Hill Place. Letter 6139  - Doubleday, H. to Darwin, [22 April 1868] …
  • … Letter 8168 - Ruck, A. R . to Darwin, H., [20 January 1872] Amy Ruck reports the …
  • … undertaken during an expedition in Cuba. He describes the flower of an orchid he has found and …
  • … “eyebrows”. Letter 1701  - Morris, M. H. to Prior, R. C. A., [17 June 1855] …
  • … with minnows. Letter 2781  - Doubleday, H. to Darwin, [3 May 1860] …
  • … suggestion. Letter 5254  - Hildebrand, F. H. G. to Darwin, [23 October 1866] …
  • … those at Kew. Letter 6139  - Doubleday, H. to Darwin, [22 April 1868] …
  • … it. Letter 3896 - Darwin to Huxley, T. H, [before 25 February 1863] Darwin …
  • … Henrietta. Letter 4010 - Huxley, T. H. to Darwin, [25 February 1863] …
  • … critic”. Letter 5585  - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [26 July 1867] Darwin …
  • … . Letter 7124 - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [8 February 1870] Darwin seeks …
  • … style. Letter 7123 - Darwin to Darwin, H. E., [March 1870] Darwin …
  • … Letter 7605  - Darwin to Darwin,  H. E., [20 March 1871] Darwin reports to …
  • … Letter 8089 - Darwin to Litc hfield, H. E., [2 December 1871] Darwin sends a …
  • … Letter 8427 - Darwin to Litc hfield, H. E., [25 July 1872] Darwin thanks …
  • … Letter 9157  - Darwin to Da rwin, G. H., [20 November 1873] Darwin offers the work …
  • … pretty garden ”. Letter 6066  - Weir, H. W. to Darwin, [28 March 1868] …
  • … Letter 9157  - Darwin to Da rwin, G. H., [20 November 1873] Darwin offers the work …

Darwin in letters, 1861: Gaining allies

Summary

The year 1861 marked an important change in the direction of Darwin’s work. He had weathered the storm that followed the publication of Origin, and felt cautiously optimistic about the ultimate acceptance of his ideas. The letters from this year provide an…

Matches: 8 hits

  • … where Nature manufactures her new species’ ( letter from H. W. Bates, 28 March [1861] ). …
  • … enemies from which the other set is free’ ( letter from H. W. Bates, 30 September 1861 ). As Peter …
  • … valuable contribution to Nat. History.—’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 4 April [1861] ). He also …
  • … and ‘Monkeys,—our poor cousins.—’ ( letter to H. W. Bates, 3 December [1861] ). Darwin volunteered …
  • … obtaining ‘large distribution’ for the work ( letter to H. W. Bates, 25 September [1861] ). …
  • … producing ‘a complete and awful smasher’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 January [1861] ). Ever since …
  • … and Owen would ‘never be friends again’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 3 January [1861] ). …
  • … serious scientific pursuits. In his experiments with the two flower forms  Primula , he began with …

Darwin in letters, 1871: An emptying nest

Summary

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: 8 hits

  • … her liking, ‘to keep in memory of the book’ ( letter to H. E. Darwin, 20 March 1871 ). …
  • … . ancestor lived between tide-marks!’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 20 February 1871 ). Asa Gray …
  • … Abraham Dee Bartlett, Albert Günther, George Busk, T. H. Huxley, Osbert Salvin, and William Henry …
  • … and misquoting of both Darwin and Catholic theology (T. H. Huxley 1871). Huxley judged Mivart to be …
  • … Popery and fear for his soul’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley and H. A. Huxley, 20 September 1871 ). …
  • … who was ‘as good as twice refined gold’ ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 4 September [1871] ). …
  • … up to the last with quinine & sherry’ ( letter from H. E. Litchfield to Charles and Emma Darwin …
  • … reflection that ‘Truth doesn’t die’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 28 September 1871 ). …

Darwin in letters, 1867: A civilised dispute

Summary

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

  • … cross-pollination, it complemented Darwin’s work on flower structure by focusing on the details of …
  • … ‘I hear he is down on both of us’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, [before 7 January 1867] ). In …
  • …  for this month; except on wet days’ ( letter from H. B. Jones, 1 October [1867] ). There is no …
  • … are excellent, excellent, excellent’ ( letter to H. E. Darwin, 26 July [1867] ). The year ended as …

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: 21 hits

  • … Williams was ‘a 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 …
  • … sweetly all the horrid bother of correction’ ( letter to H. E. Litchfield, 21 [March 1874] ). The …
  • … I have pounded the enemy into a jelly’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 14 April 1874 ). The technical …
  • … and never mind where it goes’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 16 April 1874 ). The second …
  • … 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 the ‘scurrilous libel’ on his son ( letter to G. H. Darwin, [27 July 1874] ).  George, …
  • … accusation of [a] lying scoundrel’ ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 1 August [1874] ). He drafted a brief …
  • … with Murray on the outcome ( enclosure to letter from G. H. Darwin, 6 [August] 1874 ): …
  • … to the Editor & it had been refused’ ( letter from G. H. Darwin, [6 or 7 August 1874] ). When …
  • … of Hooker’s and Huxley’s representations ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 22 December [1874] ). Huxley …
  • … offender & give him the cold shoulder’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 23 December 1874 ). He …
  • … of exchange value, and the second elliptic integral (G. H. Darwin 1875a, 1875b, 1875d, 1875e). …
  • … disappointment it was ‘all moonshine’ ( letter from G. H. Darwin, 18 October 1874 ).   …
  • … nothing is known of George’s experiments ( letter to G. H. Darwin, 27 May [1874] ). However, the …
  • … zoological station’s debts of £1500 ( see letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 March 1874 ). Darwin …
  • … for election to the Royal Society of London ( see letter to H. B. Tristram, 3 March [1874] ). He …
  • … to the Entomological Society of London ( letter from H. W. Bates, 1 October 1874 ). He supported …
  • … thinking he could not weary the German public ( letter to H. E. Litchfield,  21 [March 1874] ). …
  • … a mere by-product of the physical workings of the body (T. H. Huxley 1874a). Despite the …

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…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … classes, a dim ray of light may be gained’ ( letter to H. T. Stainton, 21 February [1868] ). From …
  • … mechanisms and the comparative fertility of different flower forms. Müller offered observations of …
  • … of the caudicle of  Ophrys muscifera  (letters from T. H. Farrer, 17 May 1868 and 18 May …
  • … to oneself … is no slight gain’ ( letter from T. H. Farrer, 17 September 1868 ). Darwin continued …
  • … induced him to stay away ( letter from S. J. O’H. Horsman, 2 June [1868] ). But if Horsman …
  • … at the shrine of D r . Darwin’ ( letter from T. H. Huxley, 20 July 1868 ). Darwin received a …

Darwin in letters, 1878: Movement and sleep

Summary

In 1878, Darwin devoted most of his attention to the movements of plants. He investigated the growth pattern of roots and shoots, studying the function of specific organs in this process. Working closely with his son Francis, Darwin devised a series of…

Matches: 6 hits

  • … god with the ‘eternity of matter’ ( letter from H. N. Ridley, [before 28 November 1878] ). Darwin …
  • … myself about such insoluble questions’ ( letter to H. N. Ridley, 28 November 1878 ). Darwin …
  • … of geographical conditions on the fertility of different flower forms in a species of Linum : ‘Mr …
  • … without utterly demolishing it’ ( letter from G. H. Darwin, 28 January 1878 ). The matter was …
  • … seminal generations’ ( enclosure to letter to T. H. Farrer, 7 March 1878 ). In the end, the …
  • … vanish like the chaos before the wind’ ( letter from T. H. Noyes, 19 November 1878 ). A …

Darwin in letters,1866: Survival of the fittest

Summary

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: 7 hits

  • … easy work for about 1½ hours every day’ ( letter to H. B. Jones, 3 January [1866] ). Darwin had …
  • … daily to make the chemistry go on better’ ( letter from H. B. Jones, 10 February [1866] ). …
  • … think, & have come to more definite views’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 22 December [1866] ). …
  • … come on those terms so you are in for it’ ( letter from H. E. Darwin, [  c . 10 May 1866] ). …
  • … weak in his Greek, is something dreadful’ ( letter to T. H. Huxley, 22 December [1866] ). …
  • … , pp. 293–5, he credited observations of the different flower forms to William, but remarked that …
  • … as a ‘thinking pump’: ‘I read aloud your simile of H. Spencer to a thinking pump, & it was …