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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Ludwig Rütimeyer   11 February [1862]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Feb 11th

Dear Sir

I received some time ago your last kind note.2 I forwarded your thanks & wish for the Leg-Bones to the Earl at his old castle of Chillingham.—3 This morning I received a very long, kind & interesting letter from him, saying that the leg-bones shall be sent with the other. But he adds that perhaps they will not be sent off very soon, as they are forced to be very careful about slaughtering them. The Earl remarks with truth on the strong probability of these cattle being remnants of the wild cattle, preserved from time immemorial in the Parks of unknown antiquity at Chillingham & the Duke of Hamilton’s.—4

Have you heard of a most extraordinary domestic Pig, now living in the Zoological Gardens of London from Japan. It is most extremely unlike any other Pig in appearance; & Dr Gray of the British Museum has just read a paper (as he tells me) before the Zoolog. Soc. on its skull, which differs much from all common pigs.—5 It certainly seems to be quite new & a distinct species.—

I hope & expect to hear when the skulls are sent off from Chillingham, & when I hear I will let you know.—

With much respect I remain Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to John Edward Gray’s publication about a Japanese variety of domestic pig (J. E. Gray 1862a) (see n. 5, below).
Rütimeyer’s letter has not been found; it may have been a response to the letter to Ludwig Rütimeyer, 15 [and 16] January [1862].
Chillingham Castle, Northumberland, was the estate of the sixth earl of Tankerville, Charles Augustus Bennet. CD had initially offered to assist Rütimeyer in procuring the skull and some upper neck vertebrae of a bull from the Chillingham herd of cattle (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to Ludwig Rütimeyer, 5 December [1861]).
Only a part of the letter referred to is extant (letter from C. A. Bennet, [9 February 1862]). Hamilton Park, seat of William Alexander Anthony Archibald Douglas, the eleventh duke of Hamilton, included within its boundaries part of the Cadzow forest, thought to be a remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest, and boasted a herd of white cattle similar to the Chillingham herd (see Auld 1888, pp. 507–9).
J. E. Gray 1862a. Gray had told CD of this paper in his letter of 28 January 1862.


Auld, R. C. 1888. The wild cattle of Great Britain. American Naturalist 22: 498–509.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Chillingham cattle leg bones will be sent to LR.

J. E. Gray has read a paper on unusual Japanese domesticated pig at the Zoological Garden ["On the skull of the Japanese pig", Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. (1862): 13–17].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Karl Ludwig (Ludwig) Rütimeyer
Sent from
Source of text
Universitätsbibliothek Basel, Handschriften (G IV 91, 2)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3443,” accessed on 4 March 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10