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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Philip Lutley Sclater   4 March [1861]

Down Bromley Kent

March 4th

My dear Mr Sclater

You told me that I might have one of the Russian Rabbits to skeletonise (which Rabbits, both Bucks, I sent to Gardens).1 Will you be so good as to give order to have one killed by throat being cut, especially not knocked on Head, & sent by address on next page.—2

I signed your certificate the other day at Royal Socy.3

I see there has been paper on skeleton of Hybrid Hare-Rabbit,4 as I am now working at Skeletons of Rabbits, I shd. like to see this notice, if you chance to have spare proof.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


Sclater was the secretary of the Zoological Society of London and involved in the management of the society’s zoological gardens in Regent’s Park. Presumably CD refers to the so-called Russian or Himalayan rabbit (Variation 1: 108). He described the osteological characters of this breed in Variation 1: 127–8.
The page on which the address was written is missing.
Sclater was one of fifty people proposed as candidates for membership of the Royal Society of London in March 1861. He was among the fifteen elected on 6 June (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 11 (1860–2): 130–1, 233).


Crisp, Edwards. 1861. On some points relating to the habits and anatomy of the oceanic and of the freshwater ducks, and also of the hare (Lepus timidus) and of the rabbit (L. cuniculus), in relation to the question of hybridism. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London (1861): 82–7.

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


Asks for a rabbit specimen;

inquires about a hybrid hare–rabbit.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Philip Lutley Sclater
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.239)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3080,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9