skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Paget   16 March 1863

1 Harewood Place | Hanover Square | W.

March 16. 1863.

My dear Darwin

I send you, by this same post, a pamphlet with an account of an interesting case of malformations associated & inherited—1 I ought not to have forgotten it when you asked me about such cases—2

And I enclose a paper which I turned-up a few days ago,3 and which may serve as an illustration of a class of facts which one meets with in practice among diseases, and which probably have their parallels among ‘malformations’ and other varieties of form:—namely, that the members of one family are not so likely to have, all, the same disease as to have different diseases more or less nearly related to one another— In one family, as in this, are various diseases of the nervous system: in another, of the skin; in another, of the stomach & so on.— Since one might expect, as a general rule, that a progenitor having any well marked variety of form would have offspring in some of whom the same form would appear, but none of whom would present a variety of forms related to, yet different from, that which was peculiar in the progenitor— I do not know if this can suggest to you anything about related groups of forms; but I shall not have wasted much of your time even if all this is not worth consideration.

Of course, the sentence you forwarded to me was all right.4

Always truly your’s | James Paget

Chas. Darwin Esqre.


The pamphlet has not been identified.
CD apparently asked Paget for information on such cases while in London in February (see letter from James Paget, 7 February 1863, and letter to James Paget, 11 March [1863]).
The paper has not been identified.


Sends two [unidentified] papers on inheritance of medical malformations. Suggests that besides the inheritance of specific variations, the tendency to show variations in the same organ system (stomach, nervous, etc.) may also be inherited.

Letter details

Letter no.
James Paget, 1st baronet
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Harewood Place, 1
Source of text
DAR 174: 5
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4045,” accessed on 19 November 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11