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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Henry Denny   1 June [1844]1

Down near Bromley | Kent

June 1st

Dear Sir

You may remember a statement, which I communicated to you about the Sandwich Isld lice not living on Europæans.2 The other day, I met a passage in a foolish Book. “Whites Regular Gradation of Man”, which I thought you might like to know of.— At p. 79 He states that he has heard that the lice on the Negroes, born in N. America & who have never been in a hot country, are blacker & larger than the lice on Europæans & further that the Europæan Lice seem to refuse to live on the Negroes.3

It is singular if both this & my independent statement, are without any foundation.

Believe me | Dear Sir | Your’s very faithfully | C. Darwin

This letter returned by Dead office

I hope you received the specimens safely, which I sent by Post the other day4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letters to Henry Denny, 20 January [1844] and [27 July – 10 August 1844] (Correspondence vol. 3 and vol. 13 supplement, respectively).
See Correspondence vol. 18, supplement, letter to Henry Denny, 5 February [1844] and n. 8.
CD read Charles White’s An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter (C. White 1799) in May or June 1844 (see CD’s reading notebooks, Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 119: 14a).
‘This letter … other day’ is written on the back of the folded letter. Denny had asked CD for specimens to help with his report on exotic species of Anoplura (sucking lice; see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Henry Denny, 20 January [1844] and n. 1, and Denny 1844). The specimens CD sent have not been identified, but since the letter evidently had to be re-sent after being returned to CD from the dead-letter office, they may have been the ones sent with his letter to Denny of [27 July – 10 August 1844] (Correspondence vol. 13, supplement).


Denny, Henry. 1844. Report of the progress of the investigation of exotic Anoplura. Report of the fourteenth meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at York, p. 392.

White, Charles. 1799. An account of the regular gradation in man, and in different animals and vegetables; and from the former to the latter. London: C. Dilly.


Sends HD a reference to human lice from Charles White 1799.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Henry Denny
Sent from
Source of text
19th Century Shop (dealer) (April 2016)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 754F,” accessed on 8 December 2022,