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Letter 1839

Darwin, C. R. to Falconer, Hugh

8 Mar [1846?]


Has written down what he gathered from HF on Tibetan dogs. Would welcome a few more details at any time, as he knows of nothing parallel to it.


Down Bromley Kent

March. 8th

My dear Falconer

I have written down what I gathered from you on Thibet Dogs; and if at any time you could add a few details, the case probably would be a very valuable and interesting one for me, as I know of nothing parallel to it.f2

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I enjoy so much a chat with you, that you will be sure to see me, when next in London.f3

Raab Collection (dealer) (2 October 2013)



The year is conjectured from the form of address, which was used by CD from October 1842 to April 1846 and from October 1855 to March 1869, and by Falconer’s visit to Down on 8 March 1846 (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to J. D. Hooker, [13 March 1846]).
CD evidently wrote this letter immediately after Falconer’s visit (see n. 1, above) in order to remind him to send more details about the dogs. Falconer had travelled in Tibet in 1837 and 1838, and had loaned CD his manuscript account of the expedition (see Correspondence vol. 7 supplement, letter to Hugh Falconer [before 8 March 1846] and n. 2). He later published the observation that the Tibet mastiff and goat lost their fine wool when brought down from the Himalaya to Kashmir (Falconer 1863, p. 113); CD cited this article as support for his claim that climate influences the hairy covering of animals (Variation 2: 278).
Falconer was an employee of the East India Company but had returned to England in 1842 on sick leave; he was obliged to return to India on 20 December 1847 in order to fulfil the conditions for his pension (see Murchison 1868, 1: xxxix).
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