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Darwin Correspondence Project

From P. G. King   25 February 1869


Feb. 25/69.

My dear Mr. Darwin.

On reading the enclosed I could not help thinking of you. I suppose the variety is a sport—but who can say what might not be made of it by crossing & judicious selection—.1

Did you ever get any answers to your queries about the habits and manners of our black fellows.2 I tried to make some answers but I found myself unable to distinguish the aboriginal manner from the acquired habit. All blacks I have associated with have been more or less civilized.—

I often think of you & read yr works. I obtained the first copy of yr Domesticated Animals &c that arrived in the Colony. & noticed with much pleasure yr mention of my name—.3

I hope you enj⁠⟨⁠oy⁠⟩⁠ better health than f⁠⟨⁠or⁠⟩⁠merly— you & I will soon ⁠⟨⁠be the⁠⟩⁠ last relics of the ⁠⟨⁠old⁠⟩⁠ Beagle.4 Don’t trouble to reply to this—tho I am always pleased to get a line from you. I may take a trip home one of these days & will hunt you up.

Ever yrs sincerely | Philip Gidley King


The enclosure has not been found.
King refers to CD’s queries on expression (see Correspondence vol. 15, Appendix IV). For the replies CD received on Australian Aboriginal peoples, see Correspondence vols. 15 and 16. No other correspondence between CD and King on this subject has been found.
In Variation 1: 21, 28, CD referred to information received from King on dingoes.
King was a midshipman on HMS Beagle between 1831 and 1836 (Aust. dict. biog.).


Aust. dict. biog.: Australian dictionary of biography. Edited by Douglas Pike et al. 14 vols. [Melbourne]: Melbourne University Press. London and New York: Cambridge University Press. 1966–96.

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

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


CD’s queries on expression of aborigines were difficult to answer because he encounters mainly those touched by civilisation. Hopes CD did get answers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Philip Gidley King
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 169: 28
Physical description
ALS 3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6635,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17