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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. M. Moorsom   11 September [1877]1

Down | Beckenham Kent

Sept: 11.

Dear Sir

I wish I could give you any information as I look at your cause as one of the most important in which any man can engage—2 I suspect most monkeys would take habitually to alcohol if they could get it. I heard lately of a publican who keeps several monkeys & his customers give them drink so that they become quite tipsy— It is very difficult to draw a just line between scepticism & credulity in natural history but I sh’d not believe the Elephant story without very good & detailed evidence—3 It is almost incredible how utterly untrustworthy the stories of men not trained in science are, as I have learned by long experience & of which I could give many amusing instances

Dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch: Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. M. Moorsom, 10 September 1877.
See letter from W. M. Moorsom, 10 September 1877. Moorsom was a supporter of the temperance movement.
Moorsom had referred to a published account of elephants becoming intoxicated after eating a particular fruit (see letter from W. M. Moorsom, 10 September 1877 and n. 2).


Thinks most monkeys would become habituated to alcohol if they could get it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Warren Maude Moorsom
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 146: 385
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11134,” accessed on 4 December 2020,