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Darwin Correspondence Project

To ?   2 August [1866]1

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

Aug 2d.

My dear Sir

Although you tell me not to write I must have the pleasure of thanking you for your never failing kindness in remembering what interests me.—2 I have not seen Bäers paper, but I read long extracts in one of Wagner’s papers after publishing my historical sketch.—3

The case of the hairy & toothless family (so like the Turkish dog) I knew of from Crawfurds Embassy & Yules Travels;4 but I had not heard of the case being brought before the B. Association.—5

I am now hard at work on the very obscure subject of the causes of Variability in domestic productions & hope to get to press in the winter or spring.—6

With my sincere thanks | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

Footnotes

The year is established by the reference to CD’s work on Variation (see n. 6, below).
The letter referred to has not been found.
CD refers to ‘Über Papuas und Alfuren’ by Karl Ernst von Baer (Baer 1859). Extracts of the paper appeared in Zoologisch-Anthropologische Untersuchungen, I by Rudolph Wagner (Wagner 1861, pp. 50–2). CD’s lightly annotated copy of Wagner 1861 is in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 831). CD first added a ‘historical sketch’ to Origin in the US edition of 1860. He added a short discussion of Baer’s paper, as reported in Wagner 1861, to the historical preface of Origin 4th ed., pp. xx–xxi, noting that Baer supported the view ‘that forms now perfectly distinct’ had ‘descended from a single parent-form’. In 1860, Thomas Henry Huxley had sent CD a note from Baer in which Baer remarked that he had ‘expressed the same ideas on the transformation of types or origin of species as Mr. Darwin’ (see Correspondence vol. 8, letter from T. H. Huxley, 6 August 1860; see also Baer 1859, p. 343).
CD refers to Journal of an embassy from the governor general of India to the court of Ava by John Crawfurd, and to A narrative of the mission sent by the governor-general of India to the court of Ava in 1855 by Henry Yule; the authors described different members of a family whose entire bodies were covered with hair and who lacked canine and molar teeth (see Crawfurd 1834, 1: 320, and Yule 1858, pp. 93–4). CD mentioned the case in Variation, in his discussion of the inheritance of different characters at corresponding periods of life (Variation 2: 77), and the laws of correlated variability (ibid., pp. 327–8); see also Descent 2: 378. The ‘Turkish dog’ is mentioned in Variation 1: 30 and 2: 227.
The reference is to the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The case has not been found in the British Association reports.
CD sent the manuscript of Variation to his publisher in December 1866 (letter from John Murray, 24 December [1866]).

Bibliography

Baer, Karl Ernst von. 1859. Über Papuas und Alfuren. Ein Commentar zu den beiden ersten Abschnitten der Abhandlung "Crania Selecta ex Thesauris Anthropologicus Academiae Imperialis Petropolitanae." Mémoires de l’Académie Impériale des Sciences naturelles de Saint-Pétersbourg 6th ser. 8: 269–346.

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

Crawfurd, John. 1834. Journal of an embassy from the governor general of India to the court of Ava. With an appendix, containing a description of fossil remains, by Professor Buckland and Mr. Clift. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: Henry Colburn.

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

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.

Origin 4th ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 4th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1866.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

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

Yule, Henry. 1858. A narrative of the mission sent by the governor-general of India to the court of Ava in 1855, with notices of the country, government, and people. London: Smith, Elder and Co.

Summary

Has not seen K. E. von Baer’s paper ["Über Papuas und Alfuren", Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg (Sci. Nat.) 8 (1859): 269–346], but has read extract.

Knew of case of hairy and toothless family through John Crawfurd, Journal of an embassy from the Governor-General of India [2d ed. (1834)].

Working on causes of variability.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-5170
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Unidentified
Sent from
Down
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.318)
Physical description
3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5170,” accessed on 7 July 2020, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-5170.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14

letter