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Darwin Correspondence Project

To B. J. Sulivan   13 March [1871]1

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

March 13th

My dear Sulivan

I write a line to thank you for your extremely interesting letter. I had heard vague stories to the same effect about parrots & language; but never before anything definite. I now quite believe the fact, & a very wonderful it is.2 It is, however, only carrying a good deal further the varied barks of a dog.

Again I thank you for all the trouble which you have taken & for your very interesting letter.—

We heard from my daughter today. She was very sorry to have missed you.— She is a good deal of an invalid, & being never strong cannot get over her attack of the measles.—3

I have many letters to write so no more.— My last book half killed me with fatigue.—4

Yours ever very truly | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from B. J. Sulivan, 11 March 1871.
See letter from B. J. Sulivan, 11 March 1871 and n. 8. According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Henrietta Emma Darwin was ill with measles from 4 to 25 January 1871.
CD refers to Descent.


Thanks BJS for his interesting letter about parrots and language.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Bartholomew James Sulivan
Sent from
Source of text
Sulivan family (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7579,” accessed on 19 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19