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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   17 October 1868

Down, Bromley, Kent. S.E.

Oct. 17. 1868.

My dear Sir

All the various pieces of information which you have so very kindly sent me will be of use.1 By an odd chance I was wishing only yesterday to know with some precision the nature of the changes in the plumage of male pheasants.2 Your case of the female of Porphyrio is still more interesting, as I have been carefully collecting all instances of the females being in any way more ornamented; and when next in London I must find out from Mr. Bartlett whether anything is know of the incubation of this species.3

I assure you I thoroughly enjoyed your visit here, and reaped much profit from the conversation of you three gentlemen.4

I am still at work on sexual selection in regard to birds, for it has turned out a frightfully large subject.5

With many thanks believe me | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin.


Weir’s most recent letter to CD is that of [before 17] October 1868.
Weir may have discussed Porphyrio (the swamp hen) in the missing portion of his letter of [before 17] October 1868. CD refers to Abraham Dee Bartlett.
CD’s work on sexual selection in birds was published in four chapters of Descent.


Enjoyed JJW’s visit.

Interested in changes in plumage of pheasants.

Still at work on sexual selection in birds.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 320
Physical description
C 1p, cov

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6422,” accessed on 23 April 2024,

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