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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hugh Falconer   7 May [1862]1

21 Park Crescent N.W. | Portland Place

7th. May

My Dear Darwin,

There is no measure to my regrets— I literally lament having missed seeing you— I am just come home to find, that you had called and I out. This is the second time—that this evil luck has befallen me. Why did you not write and tell you were to be in town?2 I would have had a constable put over me—to stop my going out, for a chat with you is a green spot in the vista of my most agreeable remembrances.

and this time, I wanted so much to have talked to you about the new results, from the Pliocene Fauna of N. America. If Leidy is to be trusted—there were no fewer than 6 genera! & 8 species of Equid〈æ〉 besides a Rhinoceros like the Existing Indian species.3 Among the Horses he affirms that there was one which had the milk dentition of Anchitherium—and the permanent teeth of the Horse!! I would willingly believe it if I could—as a fact of great interest to your views.4 Anchi was founded on the Palæotherium aurelianense of Cuvier—from the middle or lower miocenes. You will see it figured in the “ossements fossiles”.5

I address this note at once to your brother—on the chance that you are staying in town today.6 I would go over to see

CD annotations

1.1 There … results, 2.1] crossed ink
3.1 I … see 3.2] crossed ink
Top of first page: ‘Falconer’ ink; ‘21’7 brown crayon, circled brown crayon


The year is established by the reference to CD’s trip to London (see nn. 2 and 6, below).
Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242) records that CD travelled to London on Tuesday 6 May 1862 and returned to Down House on Friday 9 May.
Leidy 1858, 26–8. See also Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (1858): 11.
Falconer refers to Merychippus, described in Leidy 1858, p. 27. See also the letter to Joseph Leidy, 4 March [1861] (Correspondence vol. 9), in which CD expressed delight at Leidy’s statement that he had some interesting facts ‘in support of the doctrine of selection’ that he would report at a suitable opportunity.
On his visits to London, CD stayed with his brother, Erasmus Alvey Darwin, at 6 Queen Anne Street. CD remained in London until Friday 9 May, when he met Falconer, before returning to Down House (see letter to Hugh Falconer, [8 May 1862], and letter to J. D. Hooker, 9 May [1862]).
This is the number of CD’s portfolio of notes on palaeontology and extinction.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cuvier, Georges. 1812. Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles de quadrupèdes, où l’on rétablit les caractères de plusieurs espèces d’animaux que les révolutions du globe paroissent avoir détruites. 4 vols. Paris: Deterville.


Wanted to talk with CD about the astonishing new Pliocene fossil discoveries in North America reported by Leidy. One horse fossil’s dentition, if it could be believed, would be of great interest to CD’s views.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hugh Falconer
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Park Crescent, 21
Source of text
DAR 205.9 (Letters)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3538,” accessed on 20 October 2019,

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