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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. J. Weir   4 July 1870

6 Haddo Villas | Blackheath SE

4 July 1870

My Dear Sir

I regret that I was not sufficiently clear about the long haired rabbit, what I intended to convey was that he was the parent of between 30 & 40 short haired young, and then of a litter of five, of which he was parent, 4 were long & one short haired, no young were produced in the slightest degree intermediate in pelage.—1

The Cytisus case is a good one, the stock was grafted in my Brothers Garden by his own Gardener.—2

I particularly examined the tree to see if there was a chance of a double graft, but am quite certain such was not the case.—

I forgot to mention that birds of prey when enraged, elevate the feathers all over the body and also spread the wings & tail, this I have noticed repeatedly in the three species I have kept viz The Kestrel Sparrowhawk & Merlin.—3

They are also the only birds, that if unable to fly throw themselves on their backs & strike with their talons upwards.—

The Proverb says that “Hawks do not pick out Hawks eyes”, but I find that they do, the female Sparrow Hawks of a nest of 3 or 4 I tried to rear, killed the males & began to eat the heads.—

I am glad to say my thumb is better & the disease is subdued.—4

Believe me | Yours very sincerely | J Jenner Weir

C Darwin Esqr

CD annotations

1.1 I regret … pelage.— 1.4] crossed pencil
2.1 The … case.— 3.2] enclosed in square brackets red crayon & blue crayon
4.1 prey] underl blue crayon
4.2 spread … tail] underl blue crayon
6.1 The Proverb … subdued.— 7.1] crossed blue crayon


On mutations in rabbits.

Cytisus case is not a double graft.

Aggressive behaviour of birds of prey.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Jenner Weir
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181: 83
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7264,” accessed on 15 May 2021,

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