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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Robert McLachlan   25 February [1868]

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

Feb. 25th

My dear Sir

It was my slip of the pen; & I remember that I had just before writing been reading about Ephemera.—1

I am particularly obliged for the facts about the hybrids; I had been considering Walsh (& Bates (?)) view that these organs played an important part in keeping incipient species distinct, & I felt so little satisfied that I had just resolved not to notice this view; & now you have given me solid grounds for rejecting it:— Many thanks.—2

For the chance of your liking to have a copy of my book on “Variation under Domestication”, I have told Mr. Murray to send you a copy of the new Edit. or rather Reprint, which will be out in a few days.—3

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter from Robert McLachlan, 24 February 1868 and. n. 5. CD refers to Benjamin Dann Walsh and Henry Walter Bates. Walsh’s views on the use of abdominal organs in male insects are reported in Descent 1: 341–2.
McLachlan’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for the second printing of Variation (see Correspondence vol. 16, Appendix IV). CD refers to his publisher, John Murray.


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

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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


Is obliged for the facts about the hybrids [see 5910], which permit him to reject the view of B. D. Walsh (and H. W. Bates?) that organs play an important part in keeping incipient species distinct.

He has asked John Murray to send RM a copy of Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Robert McLachlan
Sent from
Source of text
Smithsonian Libraries (Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5934B,” accessed on 23 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16