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Letter 5914

Darwin, C. R. to Bates, H. W.

22 Feb [1868]

    Summary Add

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    Thanks HWB for bringing "the question of sexes" before the Entomological Society. Feels he will come to some conclusion by comparison of numerous observations.

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    It appears Pangenesis "will expire unblessed and uncursed by the world".


Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 22nd.

My dear Bates

I thank you very sincerely for your two letters which are of the utmost value to me. You have done me a real good service in bringing the question of sexes before the Entomolog. Soc. and I have already received capital letters from Messrs. Stainton & Trimen. The whole subject is extremely complicated but I have faith that I shall come to some sort of result by comparing numerous observations.

I shall be in London early in March when I will call on you so you will not be pestered for a time by more letters. When I see you I shall want to hear whether the males of the horned coprophagous or Lamellicorn Beetles are larger than the females; Kirby says that this is the case with the Dynastidæ.

With cordial thanks | believe me, yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

I cannot find any well-marked cases of different colouration in the sexes of Orthoptera.— When we meet I shall be glad to hear, if you know of any.—

It seems that the poor infant Pangenesis will expire, unblessed & uncussed by the world, but I have faith in a future & better world for the poor dear child! One man alone has ventured a word on subject, viz Sir H. Holland & he says he has read it twice & thinks that some doctrine ``closely akin to it'' will have to be admitted. How all our minds differ. The great God Pan. has been an immense relief to my mind.

Ever yours | C.D

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 5914.f1
    The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from H. W. Bates, 18 February 1868.
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    f2 5914.f2
    See letters from H. W. Bates, 18 February 1868 and 21 February 1868.
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    f3 5914.f3
    See letter from H. W. Bates, 18 February 1868 and n. 1.
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    f4 5914.f4
    Henry Tibbats Stainton and Roland Trimen. See letter from H. T. Stainton, 20 February 1868, and letter from Roland Trimen, 20 February 1868.
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    f5 5914.f5
    CD was in London from 3 March to 1 April (see `Journal' (Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix II)).
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    f6 5914.f6
    Coprophagous beetles: i.e. dung-beetles (families Geotrupidae and Scarabaeidae). In Descent 1: 347, CD noted that male stag beetles (Lucanus) were larger than females .
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    f7 5914.f7
    CD refers to the description of Dynastidae (rhinoceros beetles) in Kirby and Spence 1815--26, 3: 299--300. CD's copy of this book is extensively annotated (see Marginalia 1: 447--57). The passage describing male and female Dynastidae is double-scored.
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    f8 5914.f8
    CD discussed coloration in the Orthoptera (crickets, grasshoppers, etc.) in Descent 1: 360--1.
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    f9 5914.f9
    The reference is to CD's provisional hypothesis of heredity, presented in Variation 2: 357--404.
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    f10 5914.f10
    See letter from Henry Holland, 11 February [1868].
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