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From William Charles Linnaeus Martin   [1859–61]


MS of a paper called "Comments on Mr Darwin’s grand theory", which generally supports CD but proposes that present flightless birds are primitive. Paper supplemented by a diagram showing the phylogeny of birds.

Author:  William Charles Linnaeus Martin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [1859–61]
Classmark:  DAR 171: 56/1–15
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13827

From W. C. L. Martin   [1859–61]



Examples of animals that dwell in dark places, some of which are blind, some not. Asks: where causes are the same, why is not the effect? Does not think disuse is the answer, but arrested development.

Comments also on the absence of a ligament in four mammals and asks how natural selection accounts for this.

Author:  William Charles Linnaeus Martin
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [1859–61]
Classmark:  DAR 47: 211–13
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2629

To Matthias Mull   [1859 or later]


Thanks MM for reference to Shakespeare’s eleventh sonnet.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Mathias Mull
Date:  [1859 or later]
Classmark:  DAR 146: 424a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13829

From A. C. Ramsay   6 January 1859



Responds to CD’s queries concerning faults; is sending sections of the kind he wants. The Merionethshire fault with a downthrow of 12000ft. [See Origin, p. 285.]

Author:  Andrew Crombie Ramsay
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  6 Jan 1859
Classmark:  DAR 205.9: 399
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2398

To J. S. Henslow   10 January [1859]


Thanks JSH for specimens. Comments on the structure of a hornet comb and asks JSH to obtain some fresh combs for him and to make observations for him. He is greatly interested in "these wondrous architectural instincts".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  10 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A120–A121
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2648

From Richard Hill   10 January 1859


Will secure information on indigenous and naturalised bees as CD requests.

Believes Mexican and Jamaican Melipona are different.

Author:  Richard Hill
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 Jan 1859
Classmark:  DAR 166: 218
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2399

To Syms Covington   16 January 1859


Regrets SC’s increasing deafness, but advises that aurists are humbugs.

Tells of illnesses in family and his own poor health. "I never know 24 hours comfort."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Syms Covington
Date:  16 Jan 1859
Classmark:  Brian Sirl (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2400

To J. D. Hooker   20 January [1859]



At work on abstract.

Continues argument on effectiveness of dispersal. Has doubts about relationship of isolation to highness of Australian flora. Questions about survival of European plants introduced in Australia.

CD receives the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  20 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2401

To John Phillips   21 January [1859]


Acknowledges the honour that the Council [of the Geological Society] have conferred upon him [award of Wollaston Medal]. Will attend the anniversary meeting if his health permits, but cannot attend the dinner.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Phillips
Date:  21 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum (Geological collections)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2402

To J. D. Hooker   23 January [1859]



Wallace has written and is well satisfied with the joint presentation.

CD requests some facts to make case in his abstract for former glacial action in Himalayas.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  23 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2403

From J. D. Hooker   25 January 1859



Relieved by Wallace’s letter.

At work on introductory essay to Flora Tasmaniae.

European plants naturalised in Australia are almost all adapted to invading disturbed ground.

JDH supports Asa Gray against Alphonse de Candolle as foreign member of Royal Society.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  25 Jan 1859
Classmark:  DAR 100: 131–2
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2404

To A. R. Wallace   25 January [1859]


Expresses pleasure and relief at ARW’s response to joint publication of their pieces about natural selection.

Plans for the "abstract" [Origin].

Birds’ nests as evidence of variation of instincts.

Their collection of bees’ combs.

Praises ARW’s article.

Lyell’s and Hooker’s views [of species issue].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Date:  25 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  The British Library (Add MS 46434)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2405

To J. D. Hooker   28 January [1859]



CD not convinced that naturalisation of European plants abroad is strictly dependent on creation by agriculture of disturbed ground.

More than half through his chapter on geographical distribution.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  28 Jan [1859]
Classmark:  DAR 115: 4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2406

To W. B. Tegetmeier   4 February [1859]


Wants white breeds of poultry.

Poor health necessitates a trip to Moor Park, Farnham.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  4 Feb [1859]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2407

To John Lubbock   [6 February 1859]


JL’s brother’s accident.

Thinks JL should tackle systematics of anomalous insects from studies of internal organs.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Date:  [6 Feb 1859]
Classmark:  DAR 263: 26 (EH 88206475)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2408

From John Lubbock   8 February 1859



Is sorry to hear of bad health of CD and his daughter.

Discusses, with an example, the difficulty of explaining structural differences between closely allied species.

Author:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Feb 1859
Classmark:  DAR 48: A67
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2409

To John Phillips   8 February [1859]


His doctor urges CD most strongly not to expose himself to the excitement and fatigue of receiving the [Wollaston] Medal. He will ask Lyell to receive it on his behalf.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Phillips
Date:  8 Feb [1859]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum of Natural History Archive Collections (John Phillips collection))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2410

To John Lubbock   9 February [1859]


CD sees JL’s cases of same organs varying greatly in allied forms as a serious difficulty in regard to his own ideas.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Date:  9 Feb [1859]
Classmark:  DAR 263: 27 (EH 88206476)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2411

To W. D. Fox   [12 February 1859]


Undergoing hydropathic treatment for his old ailment.

The "Abstract" [Origin] is the cause. Only two chapters to do.

His satisfaction that he believes he has convinced Hooker and Huxley and staggered Lyell.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  [12 Feb 1859]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 106)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2412

To W. E. Darwin   [13 February 1859]


Discusses events at Moor Park and domestic matters.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [13 Feb 1859]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 35
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2414
Document type
letter (242)
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02 (11)
03 (22)
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