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Darwin Correspondence Project

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Darwin Correspondence Project
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From Charles Lyell to T. H. Huxley   17 June 1859


Extended discussion of their respective difficulties with the definition and status of species and with the extent to which the theory of transmutation may be applied.

Has rediscovered S. S. Haldeman’s 1844 paper defending the transmutation theory with great skill.

Asks for reference to Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire’s first enunciation of the progressive development and transmutation theory.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  17 June 1859
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 6: 20)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2469A

Matches: 5 hits

  • … Lyell, Charles Huxley, T. H. …
  • … From Charles Lyell to T. H. Huxley   17 June 1859 …
  • … T. H. Huxley 1859a. In a lecture at the Royal Institution of Great Britain on 3 June 1859, …
  • … their ancient representatives. See T. H. Huxley 1859a. For CD’s response to this point, …
  • … in Origin , p. 425. See letter to T. H. Huxley, 25 November [1859] . For Huxley’s response …

From Charles Lyell   15 March 1863


Lyell has received compliments for letting readers draw own inferences [on species question]. Now feels he earlier did Lamarck injustice. [CD’s] substitution of variety-making power for volition [as in Lamarck] in some respects only a change of names.

Thinks Huxley taking on too many responsibilities.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  15 Mar 1863
Classmark:  K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 364–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4041

Matches: 5 hits

  • … Correspondence vol.  8, letter to T.  H.  Huxley, 20 July [1860] ). Lyell refers to James …
  • … degradation, or retrograde movement towards a simpler structure T.  H.  Huxley 1863b. See …
  • … letter from T.  H.  Huxley, 25 February 1863  and n.   …
  • … 4, and letter to T.  H.  Huxley, 26 [February 1863] and n.  6. See also …
  • … Charles Lyell, 12–13 March [1863] . T.  H.  Huxley 1863a and 1862a. No letter from Thomas …

From Charles Lyell to J. D. Hooker   [31 May 1865]


Emcloses copies of correspondence concerning his dispute with John Lubbock.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [31 May 1865]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Letters to J. D. Hooker, vol. 14, doc. 323); Edinburgh University Library, Centre for Research Collections (Gen. 113/3650–3, 3813–20, 3821–4)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4844F

Matches: 2 hits

  • … as Hooker (letter from Charles Lyell to T.  H.  Huxley, 2 June 1865, Imperial College of …
  • … George Busk (letter from Charles Lyell to T.  H.  Huxley, 5 June 1865, Imperial College of …

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

Matches: 2 hits

  • … unprogressive to the lowest progressive. T.  H.  Huxley 1863b, pp.  105–8. See also K.  M. …
  • … pp.  455–6. The reference is to T.  H.  Huxley 1863b. Crawfurd discussed Lyell’s Antiquity …

From Charles Lyell   4 November 1864


Delighted to hear that CD was awarded Copley Medal. Important because award by chartered institution acts on outsiders and helps increase stock of moral courage.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Nov 1864
Classmark:  K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 383–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4658

Matches: 1 hit

  • … See letter from T.  H.  Huxley, 4 November 1864  and nn.  1 and 2. Thomas Henry Huxley. …

From Charles Lyell   19 June 1860


Sees Huxley’s deification of matter and force as a reaction to the way Paley likened the "Unknown Cause" to the mind of man so that new causes could be introduced. If you wish to retain free will which is inconsistent with constant law, Paley’s position is better. Free will is a recently introduced cause on our planet. It cannot be fully attributed to secondary causes.

What CD says about the variation in gestation of the hound is remarkable.

The astonishing fertile rabbit–hare hybrids encourage belief in Pallas’s theory of the multiple origin of dogs.

Does the regularity of gestation in man indicate a common stock?

Hooker’s observation of absence of forms peculiar to extra-Arctic Greenland indicates that the time since the beginning of the glacial period is brief in geological terms.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  19 June 1860
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS, Charles Lyell’s journal VI, pp. 117–23
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2837A

Matches: 1 hit

  • … in Wilson ed.  1970, pp.  449–50. [T.  H.  Huxley] 1860b. See letter to Charles Lyell, 17  …

From Charles Lyell   1–2 May 1856



Urges CD to publish his theory with small part of data.

Corrects names of land shells on list of shells picked up at Down.

Discusses transport of Ancylus from one river-bed to another by water-beetle.

"I hear that when you & Hooker & Huxley & Wollaston got together you made light of all Species & grew more & more unorthodox."

Mentions discussion of old Atlantis by Oswald Heer.

Comments on Helix and Nanina.

Mentions beetle discovered with small bag of eggs of water-spider under wing.

Madeira evidence favours single species birth-place theory.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1–2 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 282
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1862

Matches: 1 hit

  • … the last week of April (see letter to T.  H. Huxley, 2 April [1856], n.  2). Lyell had …

From Charles Lyell   16 January 1865


His view of Origin.

Belief of Duke of Argyll that substituting "variation" and "selection" for creation deifies them.

Thinks Argyll would accept evolution except for man.

A’s view of humming-birds.

Describes discussion with [Victoria,] Princess Royal of Prussia, about evolution.

New edition of Elements consistent with Origin.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  16 Jan 1865
Classmark:  K. M. Lyell ed. 1881, 2: 384–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4746

Matches: 1 hit

  • … s Evidence as to man’s place in nature (T.  H.  Huxley 1863a), and to his own Antiquity of …

From Charles Lyell   2 November 1869


Comments on Huxley’s address ["Geological reform", Q. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 25 (1869): xxxviii–liii].

Physicists have ignored variation in sea-level in calculating effects.

Doubts if sun only source of heat.

Notes average depth of sea is 15 times height of land.

Criticises CD’s concept of permanent continents.

Sedimentary strata of Alleghenies must have derived from continent located where Atlantic is. Thinks enormous amount of denudation, submergence, and elevation may have accompanied relatively insignificant organic changes.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Nov 1869
Classmark:  Edinburgh University Library, Centre for Research Collections (Gen.113.ff.3734–3737)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-6967

Matches: 1 hit

  • … withdrawing water from the sea (see T.  H.  Huxley 1869c, p.  li). Tait wrote: ‘the only …

From Charles Lyell   4 October 1859


Response to Origin. Praise for summary of chapter 10 and chapter 11.

The dissimilarity of African and American species is ‘necessary result of “Creation” adapting new species to the pre-existing ones. Granting this unknown & if you please miraculous power acting’.

C. T. Gaudin writes of Oswald Heer’s finding many species common between Miocene floras of Iceland and Switzerland. Interesting for CD’s migration theory.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Oct 1859
Classmark:  DAR 170: 81; Kinnordy MS, Charles Lyell’s notebooks 241, pp. 75–90
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-3132

Matches: 1 hit

  • … of embryological types; see, for example, T.  H.  Huxley 1856, p.  189 (M.  Foster and …
Document type
letter (10)
Lyell, Charles[X]
1856 (1)
1859 (2)
1860 (1)
1863 (2)
1864 (1)
1865 (2)
1869 (1)