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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. E. Gray   17 February 1868


17 Feb 1868

My Dear Darwin

Our suspicions relate to the same person I think there can be no doubt, and is he not the great friend of John Murray, did he not induce him to take up Du Chaillu—1

I suspect the long notice in the Pall Mall is by Sclater but it wants more spirit—2

My paper on Pigs is being printed in the Proc Zool. Soc. 1868.3

I do not see that you make any observation on the colour of the Horse,4 I consider that the normal colour of the Horse, differs from that of asses in being Pomelet or coppered that is marked with round pale spots, on a dark ground, these spots are to be seen in grey Black, & bay horses indeed in all horses more or less distinctly, they look like the hammer mark on copper & hence the french & English name

I saw a dappled grey horse defined the other day as horses with round black spot, but that is a mistake   the spot or at least the edge of them is lighter than the ground colour of the coat, the middle of the pale spot is sometimes as dark.

I have never observed any tendency to coppering in any species or specimens of asses5

I saw Westwood today   he called the article in the Athenæum as Darwin controverted by Darwin—!!!6

Ever Yours Sincerely | J. E Gray

Have you any idea who is the A graduate of the University of Cambridge” who writes on the ‘Darwinian Theory’—7


See letter to J. E. Gray, 17 February [1868] and n. 4. Richard Owen had supported the career of Paul Belloni Du Chaillu, the American explorer who gained notoriety for his observations and specimens of the gorilla. Du Chaillu’s Explorations and adventures in equatorial Africa was published by John Murray (Du Chaillu 1861). A controversy arose over the accuracy of Du Chaillu’s observations. See Rupke 1994, pp. 314–22.
The review of Variation in the Pall Mall Gazette was by George Henry Lewes ([Lewes] 1868a), not Phillip Lutley Sclater.
J. E. Gray 1868.
CD discussed the coloration of horses in Variation 1: 55–61 and 2: 305.
On the coloration of asses, see Variation 1: 62–4 and 2: 305.
Gray refers to John Obadiah Westwood. See letter to J. E. Gray, 17 February [1868] and n. 4.
The reference is to [Beverley] 1867 and 1868. See letter from Henry Holland, 27 January [1868] and n. 4.


[Beverley, Robert Mackenzie.] 1867. The Darwinian theory of the transmutation of species examined by a graduate of the University of Cambridge. London: James Nisbet & Co.

Du Chaillu, Paul Belloni. 1861. Explorations & adventures in equatorial Africa; with accounts of the manners and customs of the people, and of the chace of the gorilla, crocodile, leopard, elephant, hippopotamus, and other animals. 2d edition. London: John Murray.

Rupke, Nicolaas A. 1994. Richard Owen, Victorian naturalist. New Haven, Conn., and London: Yale University Press.

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


JEG’s paper on pigs is being printed [Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. (1868): 17–49].

Colouring in horses.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Edward Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
British Museum
Source of text
DAR 165: 217
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5886,” accessed on 27 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16