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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. T. Buckland   11 December [1864]1

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

Dec 11

My dear Mr Buckland

I am much obliged for your interesting letter.2 I had not heard that you had left the army;3 but I have been ill for above a year, & am still so weak that I go nowhere, & so hear no news. I shall be particularly obliged to you, if you are able to examine the feet of otter-hounds in comparison with other hounds or even with other dogs.4 Do not trouble yourself to send me a dead hound, I could not leave home to compare it with other hounds.

I thank you for telling me about the change in the oysters which fact I will hereafter quote on your authority;5 for I have met with a statement that young British oysters placed in the Meditterranean become rayed liked the shells in that sea.6 You must be very busy with your many pursuits, which must require indomitable energy.7 Some months ago we read aloud your two Vols of Miscellanea8 & we were all much indebted to you for much interest & amusement.

Pray believe me | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from F. T. Buckland, 13 December 1864.
After eight years of service, Buckland resigned as assistant surgeon of the Second Life Guards in 1863 (Bompas 1885, p. 123).
CD questioned Buckland again about otter-hounds in 1866, before sending a query to be published in Land and Water; Buckland replied the following year (see letter to F. T. Buckland, 2 October 1866, letter to Land and Water, 13 October 1866, and letter from F. T. Buckland, 9 March 1867 (Calendar nos. 5227f, 5240a, and 5435)). See also letter to T. C. Eyton, 29 December [1864?] and n. 3. In Variation 1: 39–40, CD cited a ‘friend’ as the source of the information that English otter-hounds have more skin between their toes than do other hounds.
See letter from F. T. Buckland, [before 11 December 1864] and n. 2. CD cited Buckland on the effect of external conditions on the shells of oysters in Variation 2: 280.
See Variation 2: 280.
Buckland was a staff writer on the Field. In addition to his own researches on fish culture, he travelled extensively in Britain and on the continent, visiting hatcheries, collecting, lecturing, and advising the government and private individuals on the management of the fishing industry (Bompas 1885, pp. 143–51).
Buckland 1857 and 1860.


Bompas, George C. 1885. Life of Frank Buckland. London: Smith, Elder & Co.

Buckland, Francis Trevelyan. 1857. Curiosities of natural history. London: Richard Bentley.

Calendar: A calendar of the correspondence of Charles Darwin, 1821–1882. With supplement. 2d edition. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1994.

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


Asks for comparison of otter-hounds’ feet with those of other dogs.

Changes in oysters.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Francis Trevelyan (Frank) Buckland
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 261.11: 7 (EH 88206059)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4713,” accessed on 25 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12