RECORD: Anon. (c. mid 1880s). [Recollections of Charles Darwin]. CUL-DAR112.B5 (Darwin Online,

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Kees Rookmaaker, corrections by John van Wyhe 8.2007. RN1

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Reproduced with the permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.


The first time I went to Down Professor Huxley drove with me from the railway station. When we arrived Mr Darwin exclaimed to Professor Huxley him — "This is the very proudest moment in all my life. I have just heard that the greatest of great maths., Sir William Thomson, has said that my son George has solved a problem that has puzzled all the mathematicicans. He will be an arrow in my hand some day, because the worst of these mathematicians is that they kill you without your knowing how you are being killed."

A little later he added:—

"But, after all, I am not sure that it is the proudest moment. I think I must say that the proudest moment was when I first saw my own name in print. I was an undergraduate at Cambridge, and I had caught some rare insect in the fens. I described it verbally somewhere, and did not know that it was going into print. When I afterwards saw the announcement that this insect had been "captured in the fens by Mr. Charles Darwin", yes that was the proudest moment in my life.1 Talk of Societies, talk of medals, it was nothing to that. There was something about the very word "captured" that seemed to give importance to what I had done."

Professor Huxley only made the remark, which appears to be wholly lost on Mr. Darwin — "Was that the beginning?"

1 See Darwin's insects in Stephens' Illustrations of British entomology (1829-31).

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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