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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Thomas Campbell Eyton   25 October [1855]

Down Farnborough Kent

Oct. 25th

Dear Eyton

Crayford1 is a good way from here & I do not happen to know a soul at all in that direction, & therefore I am very sorry to say I can neither give, nor procure, any information regarding Mrs. Shaw.—2

I am delighted to hear that you have begun to think of Dogs,3 which subject would, I shd. think, make an excellent continuation of your capital Pig-skeleton researches.—4

What a museum you will have!5 and most truly shall I some day enjoy seeing it. Pray give my kind remembrances to Mrs. Eyton,6 whom, it is very long since I have had the pleasure of seeing. Ah the good old times of Entomology, I have never enjoyed anything in Natural History so much since.7

Most truly your’s | Ch. Darwin


A village near Dartford, Kent, about ten miles north-east of Down.
There is no information about Mrs Shaw, but a John Shaw is listed among the gentry living in Crayford (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1855).
CD cited Eyton, ‘who has had much experience with dogs,’ concerning their period of gestation in Variation 1: 30.
See Variation 1: 74, where CD reproduced a table from Eyton 1837, p. 23, showing the difference in the number of vertebrae and ribs in the different kinds of pigs.
Eyton had collected extensively in many different fields of natural history. In 1855 he established a museum at the family seat at Eyton, Shropshire (DNB).
Elizabeth Frances Eyton.
Eyton had been one of CD’s insect-collecting friends when they were Cambridge undergraduates. He was also a Shropshire neighbour. See Correspondence vol. 1.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Unable to give information on Mrs Shaw of Crayford.

Mentions TCE’s interest in dog- and pig-skeleton researches.

Interested in seeing the Eyton Museum.

Reminisces about entomology [at Cambridge].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Campbell Eyton
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.114)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1769,” accessed on 14 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5