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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Galton   31 March 1870

42 Rutland Gate SW

March 31. 1870

My dear Darwin

Better news— decidedly better.

I opened the hutches where the young rabbits are, this morning, and found not only that the white patch on the nose, of which I spoke, had become markedly conspicuous and larger but also that a white vertical bar had begun to appear in the forehead.1

On going to the other litter, which I had never before got a proper view of, I found another young one with precisely similar marks. (The male parent was the same in both cases)

I have spent a most unsuccesful morning with new apparatus trying to inject more completely. but I have yet hopes of success by making some alterations

I will return to you Naudin & the 2 pamphlets by to-morrow’s book post.2 Very many thanks for them & for all the references. With great reluctance, I feel it would be too much for me to undertake the experiments3   I am too ignorant of gardening and, living in London with a summer tour in prospect, I dont see my way to a succesful issue: but I hope to practise my eye & get some experience this year which may be of service next year or hereafter.

I congratulate you about the Quagga. taint.4

Once more about the rabbits, very many thanks for your hints. I will try more gray blood. Bartlett takes great interest & gives much care.5 Muries assistant remains & looks after the rabbits. Murie himself looks in now & then.6

Very sincerely. F Galton

CD annotations

2.2 on the nose, of which] ‘Has Barett ever known a case’7 added pencil
2.3 the forehead 2.4] ‘(White star)’ added pencil
Top of first page: ‘Theological Review | get one of your Book’8 added ink


See letters from Francis Galton, 15 March 1870 and n. 2, and 22 March 1870.
CD may have sent Galton his copy of Naudin 1862; there is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 638–9). The pamphlets have not been identified.
The experiments have not been identified.
See letter from J. J. Weir, 17 March 1870. CD must have communicated this information to Galton in a letter that has not been found.
Galton refers to James Murie, prosector of the Zoological Society. His assistant was Oscar Louis Fraser (see Galton 1871, p. 395).
CD may have meant to write ‘Bartlett’; see letter from Francis Galton, 8 April 1870.
A review by Frances Power Cobbe of Galton’s Hereditary genius (Galton 1869) appeared in the April issue of the Theological Review (Cobbe 1870).


Cobbe, Frances Power. 1870. Hereditary piety. [Review of Francis Galton, Hereditary genius, 1869, and Prosper Despine, Pyschologie naturelle, 1868.] Theological Review 7: 211–34.

Galton, Francis. 1869. Hereditary genius: an inquiry into its laws and consequences. London: Macmillan.

Galton, Francis. 1871. Experiments in pangenesis, by breeding from rabbits of a pure variety, into whose circulation blood taken from other varieties had previously been largely transfused. [Read 30 March 1871.] Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 19 (1870–1): 393–410.

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.

Naudin, Charles Victor. 1862. Cucurbitacées cultivées au Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle en 1862. Description d’espèces nouvelles et de quelques formes hybrides obtenues de plantes de cette famille. Annales des Sciences Naturelles (Botanique) 4th ser. 18: 159–208.


Better news about the rabbits.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Galton
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Rutland Gate, 42
Source of text
DAR 105: 11–12
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7156,” accessed on 21 June 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 18