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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   22 May 1873

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 22 1873

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your letter with its many interesting details.1 I have no doubt that I shall find your Address likewise interesting, as I have found every thing else which you have written.2 The pig case is capital; & you ought to persuade your informant to send an account with full particulars to Nature.3

With respect to bird’s nests, do you not think that the same spot might prove attractive to birds which had had no intercommunication: I have observed facts with male humble-bees which cd be explained only on this principle.4 I never saw J. S. Mill, & I envy you the privilege of having talked to him familiarly.5 I am very glad to hear that you will soon have more leisure for natural history.

My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I am now at work & shall be for a long time on point in vegetable physiology.—6


This letter has not been found.
Weir evidently sent CD a copy of his presidential address to the West Kent Natural History, Microscopical, and Photographic Society (Weir 1873). There is a lightly annotated copy in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
The ‘pig case’ has not been identified.
CD had observed the routes of humble-bees for many years (see Correspondence vol. 20, letter to Hermann Müller, [before 5 May 1872] and n. 7).
John Stuart Mill had died in Avignon, France, on 7 May 1873 (ODNB).
CD had been working on the evil effects of intercrossing, by which he evidently meant inbreeding, since February (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Has no doubt he will find JJW’s address interesting.

Thinks same spot for nesting might prove attractive to birds, though they had had no intercommunication.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Source of text
Bernard Quaritch (dealers) 2003
Physical description
2pp & C 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8919,” accessed on 19 April 2018,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21