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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Weir   June 1869

6 Haddo Villas | Blackheath SE

June 1869

My Dear Sir

I have again been amongst the Farmers and at the risk of being tedious have ventured to give a few notes more.1

The lambs have now obtained their normal color & I could see no traces of the mottled faces before adverted to.—

I found upon enquiry that the dark color of the lambs is considered a good sign, such being considered stronger; a very inferior breed of sheep I saw, had several quite black, the wool as well as the face being of that color, but no South Down Farmer would have had such on his land.—

It would therefore appear probable that the “South Down” was originally nearly black & that the color is now confined to the face & legs which are in the best flocks light brown.

The Short Horned cattle were at one time the most remarkable in this country for the large

CD annotations

1.1 I have … more. 1.2] crossed pencil
2.1 The lambs] ‘South Down’ added pencil
2.1 The lambs … brown. 4.3] ‘June’ added pencil
5.1 The … large 5.2] crossed pencil
Top of letter: ‘J. J. Weir | Keep Embryology (1st sheet)’ pencil


Loss of juvenile colouring in South Down sheep.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Jenner Weir
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 80
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6763,” accessed on 3 April 2020,

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