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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Charles Loring Brace   24 June [1863]1

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

June 24th

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in sending me a copy of your new work on the “Races of the Old World”.2 I have not had time to read it all, but have looked through the latter part with interest. Your work must have been very laborious & I hope it will prove satisfactory.

I was interested by your remarks p. 388 on correlation of colour & constitution.3 I have long thought this view probable; & you will be glad to hear, that about a year ago, with the assistance of the Director General of the medical department of the British army I circulated printed questions to the Surgeons of all Regiments serving in Tropical countries, asking them to tabulate the proportion of men who suffer from Tropical diseases in relation to the colour of their hair & skin.4

Whether I shall get any reliable data is of course very doubtful.—5

With my best thanks I beg leave to remain | Dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Brace 1863 (see n. 2, below).
There is a presentation copy of Brace 1863 in the Darwin Library–Down (see Marginalia 1: 68).
CD discussed the correlation of skin and hair with ‘constitutional peculiarities’ in Descent 1: 242–5; however, Brace’s book is not mentioned.
See Correspondence vol. 10, letter from George Busk, 1 April 1862, and letters from E. A. Parkes, 8 April 1862, 28 April 1862, and 29 June 1862. No copy of the printed memorandum has been found (see Freeman 1977, pp. 111–12); however, the text is given in Descent 1: 244–5 n. 48.
In Descent 1: 244 n. 48, CD reported that he had received no returns in response to his memorandum.


Brace, Charles Loring. 1863. The races of the old world. A manual of ethnology. London: John Murray.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Marginalia: Charles Darwin’s marginalia. Edited by Mario A. Di Gregorio with the assistance of Nicholas W. Gill. Vol. 1. New York and London: Garland Publishing. 1990.


Discussion of, and thanks for, CLB’s new work, Races of the Old World [1863]. Special interest in p. 388 on colour and constitution; CD mentions questions sent previous year to surgeons serving in tropical countries regarding diseases and colour of hair and skin.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Charles Loring Brace
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.310)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4220,” accessed on 13 April 2024,

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