Sussex Saleroom: 5th December 2019
DARWIN, Charles (1809-82). An autograph letter, signed, to Hugh Falconer, three-pages, on paper with printed heading "Down, Bromley, Kent, S.E.", dated "24th [June 1861]", stating, "My dear Falconer, I have just received your note ... & I lose not a moment in answering you, & thanking you heartily for your offer of the valuable specimen; here I have no aquarium & [illegible words] for Torquay [illegible words] it would be a thousand pities [illegible words]. Certainly much like to see it, but I fear it is impossible. Would not the Zoolog. Soc. be the best place, & then the interest which may well take in this extraordinary animal would repay you for some [?]truth. Kind as you have been in taking this [?]truth & offering me this specimen to tell the truth I value your note more than the specimen. I shall keep your note amongst my few precious letters. Your kindness has quite touched me. Yours affectionately and gratefully, Ch. Darwin." With the original stamped envelope, post-marked "Bromley, Ju[ne]24, 61", and addressed in Darwin's hand, "Dr Falconer, F.R.S., 31 Sackville St., Piccadilly, London, (W.)" pasted onto blank area of the letter beneath Darwin's signature. Hugh Falconer (1808-65) was a renowned Scottish geologist, botanist, paleontologist and paleoanthropologist. He was the first to suggest the evolutionary theory of 'punctuated equilibrium' and may also have been the first to discover a fossilised ape. Originally a 'creationist', he came to embrace Darwin's theories after a correspondence and friendship which lasted many years. In 1859, Darwin sent Falconer a copy of 'On the Origin of Species' with a letter which stated, "I am fully convinced that you will become, year after year, less fixed in your belief in the immutability of species." See DNB. The present letter is included (in summary only) in Cambridge University's 'Darwin Correspondence Project' where it is listed as letter number DCP-LETT-3196.