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Darwin Correspondence Project

From [J. B. Innes]1   [after 8 February – August 1855]2

Hore. W S. | St Clements Rectory | Oxford—3

No communication from Ainslie about water—4

Probably I may have mentioned the pointer and setter.

Either Mr. Tournay of Saltwood5 or Capt Johnson of Newington6 had a pointer bitch who appeared perfectly purely bred. being put to a thorough bred pointer dog she produced a litter of puppies which all appeared pure pointers but one which was a black and white brindled setter, with feathered legs and stern, appearing a thorough bred setter— I mention this one instance because I remember the setter well but I was told that in several litters this result occurred and that the setter was always distinctly indicated when pupped. I do not know where Capt Johnson is if alive— Mr. Tournay I believe still lives at Saltwood— Lynedock Douglas Esq Hythe7 and Capt Douglas of the Down’s Rifles8 would remember the circumstance and so probably would Genl. and Col. King at Hythe9 and others.

Nothing is more common than for crossed dogs to take after one parent. The breeds commonly crossed are terriers with bull and pointers with fox hounds. there are often some of the first offspring which have but little sign of cross in their formation but continuing to breed with pointers and terriers the marks of the former cross frequently reappear in individuals

CD annotations

1.1 Hore … water— 2.1] crossed pencil
5.5 individuals] ‘But ultimately absorbed into pure breed.—’ pencil
Top of letter: ‘16’10 brown crayon, circled brown crayon


The attribution to Innes is based on the handwriting, and on the content of the letter, which suggests that the correspondent was well known to CD, and was familiar with Down and with the Hythe area of Kent. John Innes’s mother, Mary Innes, was buried at Hythe (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to John Innes, 4 March [1859], n. 2).
The date range is established by the date at which Donald Douglas became a captain in the Royal North Down Rifles (see n. 8, below), and by the month by which William Strong Hore had left Oxford (see n. 3, below).
Hore was rector of St Clement’s, Oxford, from 1850 to 1855 (Clergy list). Innes may be replying to a request from CD to supply Hore’s address; as a fellow clergyman Innes would have had access to that information from the Clergy list. In October 1855, CD wrote to William Darwin Fox, ‘I had a letter some 2 months ago from Hore, who is settled, an old Batchelor, in Devonshire’ (Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 14 October [1855]). Fox, Hore, and CD were all at Cambridge together (Correspondence vol. 1, letter to W. D. Fox, 12 [June 1828], n. 3; Alum. Cantab.).
Innes refers to Robert Ainslie, resident at Pond House, later Tromer Lodge, Down, from 1845 to 1858, and with whom CD and other residents of Down had a series of disagreements (Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Susan Darwin, 3[–4] September 1845, and Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. E. Darwin, 14 [May 1858] and n. 5).
Thomas Tournay of Brockhill House, Saltwood, Kent (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1851, 1855).
Newington is 212 miles north-east of Hythe, Kent (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1851). There is no Captain Johnson listed in any of the Post Office directories for Kent from the 1840s or 1850s.
Lynedock Douglas of High Street, Hythe, Kent (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1855).
Donald Douglas was a captain in the Royal North Down Rifles from 8 February 1855 (Army list 1855).
Major-general Richard Thomas King of Swiss Cottage, Hythe, and Colonel William James King of West End Road, Hythe (Hart’s army list 1856; Post Office directory of the six home counties 1855). By April 1857, CD had received information from ‘Col. King near Hythe’ about the markings of wild and domesticated pigeons, and he is acknowledged in Variation for supplying CD with specimens of rock-pigeon (Correspondence vol. 6, letter to Laurence Edmonston, 19 April [1857] and n. 5; Variation 1: 184).
The annotation may refer to a numbered portfolio of notes, possibly on hybridism or heredity (see this volume, Supplement, letter from [Mr Edwards?], [before end of 1839?] and nn. 4 and 5.) CD was actively soliciting information on the transmission of characteristics between, and instances of reversion in, crossbred animals from at least 1839 (see Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix V). In 1855 he specifically requested information on mongrels from Fox (Correspondence vol. 5, letter to W. D. Fox, 27 [June 1855]; see also letter to W. D. Fox, 22 [July 1855]), probably for the chapters on variation under domestication in his manuscript on species (see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix III).


Provides another case of apparently pure bred pointers producing litter with one setter puppy. Correspondent was told that this occurred in several litters; gives names of owners and others who can corroborate the information.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Brodie Innes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 163: 5
Physical description
inc †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13870,” accessed on 24 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)