To Thomas Henry Huxley 24 February 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Huxley
I congratulate you on birth of daughter,2 but I hope I shall not very often have to congratulate you; for it may be truly said of Babies, “that enough is as good as a feast”.—
Thank you much for taking trouble of informing me of your two facts. But it so happened that I had heard of them. All Duns I believe are Ponies or small horses, & I do not believe there is dun Cart-Horse or Arabians:3 nevertheless I vehe-mently suspect that the aboriginal colour of the wild parent of our horses was Dun with stripe down back.—
The explanation of Hellenius’ case is, I believe, as follows—he crossed sheep with Sardinian Roe. In Sardinia the Mouflon, or supposed parent of our sheep is called a Roe.4 Such perfect fertility of hybrids from such very distinct genera inter se, would require the most astounding amount of evidence.— The inaccuracy of the blessed gang (of which I am one) of compilers passes all bounds: Monsters have frequently been described as hybrids without a tittle of evidence.— I must give one other case to show how we jolly fellows work— A Belgian Baron (I forget name this moment) crossed two distinct geese & got seven hybrids, which he proved subsequently to be quite sterile; well compiler the first, Chevreuel, says that the hybrids were propagated for seven generations inter se. Compiler 2d. (Morton) mistakes the French names, & gives Latin names for two more distinct geese, & says Chevreul himself propagated them inter se for seven generations; & this latter statement is copied from Book to Book!5
I missed you at the Club for a scientific jaw, though I had very pleasant evening, luckily sitting by Hooker.—6 I shall be very curious to hear what you think of Agassiz’s Contributions;7 not that I have yet begun to read it.
Adios | Yours Ever | C. Darwin
Congratulations on birth of THH’s daughter [Jessie].
On aboriginal dun colour of horses.
Examples of inaccuracies and perpetuation of errors [on hybrids] by "compilers, of which I am one".
- Letter no.
- Charles Robert Darwin
- Thomas Henry Huxley
- Sent from
- Source of text
- Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 107)
- Physical description