skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Francis Galton   13 December [1859]

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 13th

My dear Galton

Your letter addressed to Ilkley reached me only this morning.1 I must thank you sincerely for the pleasure which you have given me. Oddly enough your words are nearly the same as those used my Brother: I have received some very highly coloured compliments on my book, but none which have given me more pleasure than what you & my Brother have said.—2

Your correction about the Rhinoceros is an important one (but too late for the Reprint) & shall be attended to: I rashly assumed (having made enquiries about the Elephant in India) that the Rhinoceros would be quite safe.—

Thank you for the other notes: till I compare all my notes, I feel very doubtful about the share males & females play in sexual selection; I suspect that the male will pair with any female, & that the females select the victorious or most beautiful cock, or him with beauty & courage combined.—3

Several persons have been baulked about the ants: they do not notice that the Latin names change; but I have tried to make it clearer.—4

Again let me thank you sincerely for your very kind note & with our kind remembrances to Mrs.

Galton,5 pray believe me | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin


Sexual selection was discussed in Origin, pp. 87–90. Galton’s notes were presumably in the section of the letter from Francis Galton, 9 December 1859, that is now missing.


Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Thanks FG for comments [on Origin].

Acknowledges error involving rhinoceros.

Thinks female fowls select victorious or most beautiful cock.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Galton
Sent from
Source of text
UCL Library Services, Special Collections (GALTON/1/1/9/5/7/5)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2581,” accessed on 19 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7