Wallace Letters Online

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Record number: WCP5556

Sent by:
Thomas Henry Huxley
Sent to:
Charles Robert Darwin
14 November 1880

Sent by Thomas Henry Huxley, 4 Marlborough Place, Abbey Road, N.W. to Charles Robert Darwin [none given] on 14 November 1880.

Record created:
09 June 2014 by Benny, Ruth


No summary available at this time.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)
  • publication (1)

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LETTER (WCP5556.6314)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Cambridge University Library
Finding number:
CUL Dar 166.353
Copyright owner:
ŠImperial College London
Record scrutiny:
09/06/2014 - Benny, Ruth;

Physical description

Transcription information






Nov[ember] 14 1880

My dear Darwin2

The papers in re Wallace have arrived and I lose no time in assuring you that all my ‘might, [1 word illeg.] & [1word illeg.]’ in [1word illeg.] said when that sneak Bacon[?] asked him for a favour, shall be exercised, as you wish [[2]] The best course to pursue will need a little thinking over but there shall be no delay on my part in setting to work --

Your ‘primed on[?]’ paragraph was so good that if I had written it myself, I should have been unable to refrain from sending it to the printer[.] But it is much easier to be virtuous in other people[’]s [[3]] account -- and though Thomson3 deserved it & more -- I thought [1 word illeg struck through] it would be better to refrain.

If I say a savage thing it is only ‘pretty Fanny’s way’ but if you do [1 word illeg struck through] it is not likely to lie forgotten.

The letter as it stands will be very useful in more[?] ways than me[.]

The [1 word illeg.] is very much on her back still I am [[4]] sorry to say[.]

[1 word illeg.] | [2 words illeg.] | T H Huxley4 [signature]


1. "DAR. 166: 353" and "C" beneath, is written in pencil in the top RH corner of the page. "80 Huxley" is written across the top of the page in blue pencil. "Huxley" is written across the top LH corner, also in blue pencil and partially overwritten "Huxl" in plain pencil. Beneath "Huxley" is written again, in plain pencil.

2. Darwin, Charles Robert (1809-1882) English naturalist and geologist, jointly with ARW originator of the theory of evolution by natural selection and author of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.

3. Thomson, Charles Wyville (1830-1882) Scottish naturalist and marine zoologist. He was the scientific director of the Challenger expedition (1872-5) sent to map the ocean floor. In 1868 the author had studied an old sample of mud from the Atlantic seafloor taken in 1857 and preserved in alcohol. He found it to contain an albuminous slime which he named Bathybius haeckelii, believing it to be a primordial source of all organic life. In 1875 John Young Buchanan, the chemist on the Challenger, showed in a similar sample that the substance was a precipitate of calcium sulphate from seawater that had reacted with the alcohol. Thomson sent a polite letter to the author to inform him of the discovery, who acknowledged his mistake and published part of the letter in Nature, recanting his previous views.

4. Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895) English biologist (comparative anatomist), philosopher and advocate of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

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