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Letter 8173

Darwin, C. R. to Galton, Francis

23 Jan [1872]


His rabbits have lost their patches and are grey.

Has FG seen William Crookes [spiritualist]?


Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan. 23d

My dear Galton

The Rabbits have all lost their patches & are grey of differenttints; so you were right. They are quite mature now & ready to breed.We have put 2 does to a buck, for one more generation.

Had you not better have the others soon, as we shall soon want spacefor the Breeders?—f2

Have you seen Mr Crookes?—f3 I hope to Heaven you have, as Ifor one shd. feel entire confidence in your conclusion.—

Ever yours | sincerely | Ch. Darwin

UCL Library Services, Special Collections (Galton 191/1)



The year is established by the relationship between this letter,the letter from Francis Galton, 2 December 1871 (Correspondencevol. 19), and the letter from Francis Galton, 28 March 1872.
In 1871, Galton had sent CD some transfused rabbits to breed and to take care of untilthey could be used in further experiments (seeCorrespondence vol. 19, letter from Francis Galton to FrancisDarwin, 7 April 1871). Galton later recommended that all the young be killed exceptfor a reserve of four or five (ibid., letter from Francis Galton, 13 September 1871), and sent for the old ones in November (letter fromFrancis Galton, 21 November 1871). CD seems to have kept six youngrabbits (ibid.,letter from Francis Galton, 24 November 1871), and may have bred fromthem. Galton’s experiments in rabbit blood transfusions were intendedto test CD’s hypothesis of pangenesis (see Variation 2: 357–404)by producing different colours in the offspring of transfusedrabbits.
Galton had evidently contacted the chemist William Crookes abouthis investigations of mediums; see letter from Francis Galton, 28 March 1872.
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