To H. B. Dobell 21 April 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
The importance of hereditary transmission can hardly be exaggerated under every point of view; & I shd. think it would be a considerable gain to have tables printed as you propose.—2 I really hardly feel competent to make suggestions. But I would rather strongly advise that the relationship (if any) of the father & mother & of any subsequent marriage should be enquired for. To avoid errors, & as one man would seldom fill more than one or two papers, I should think it would be better to avoid all contractions & use “no issue” & “nothing known”.— You do not ask for age in parents & children at which any peculiarity (not congenital) supervened: I would very strongly advise this to be made a point of high importance.—3
I am very much obliged for your kind offer of communicating any remarkable cases of inheritance to me:4 I have to consider the subject only certain points of view & I hope & suppose in about a year I shall go to press with this portion of my subject.—5
If by any extraordinary chance you should stumble on any case of regrowth of amputated additonal digit, I shd. be grateful for information.—6
With many thanks pray believe me | Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin
P.S. Would it not be better to urge that Christian name be given in full & initial (when secrecy requisite) of sirname alone; otherwise sex might be doubtful, & this of course wd. be most serious doubt in all cases in which peculiarity clings to one sex?—
CD thinks HBD’s tables would be a considerable gain because "the importance of hereditary transmission can hardly be exaggerated from every point of view". Makes suggestions.
Asks him to send any remarkable cases of inheritance to him and, as well, any case of regrowth of amputated additional digit.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4117,” accessed on 10 December 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-4117