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Darwin Correspondence Project

From F. T. Buckland   [before 1 February 1863]1

– – and will get you to see my Salmon hatching at The Field window.2 By the way the Editor of The Field3 requests me to inform you that he would feel much pleased if you would send any natural history Quæries which would be likely to elicit discussion as there are so many correspondents who have every opportunity of practical observation

Yours ever | most truly | F Buckland

I have been asked to examine a cross between a duck & a fowl—it wont do   my experience show me that people coin a story & tell it so many times that at last they believe it themselves. This is case with

1 Viper swallowing her young.4

2 Dog & Fox Cross

3 Toad in a hole question5

cum multis aliis6 &c &c &c &c

CD annotations

4.2 2   Dog … Cross] cross in margin, pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the following letter, and by reference to the display in the window of the office of the Field (see n. 2, below). This letter probably formed part of the reply to the letter to F. T. Buckland, 26 January [1863].
In the window of the office of the Field, at 346 the Strand, London, where he worked as a staff writer, Buckland exhibited ‘a rude, but yet effective, apparatus, whereby the curious yet simple process of hatching salmon and trout from the egg, might be witnessed’ (Field 21 (1863): 53). CD may have informed Buckland that he was planning to visit London in early February in the missing portion of his letter to F. T. Buckland, 26 January [1863] (see following letter).
John Henry Walsh was editor of the Field (Rose 1953).
An account of a viper swallowing its young was published in the Natural History Review in January 1862 ([Lubbock] 1862b), and reported in the Field 19 (1862): 300, the editor remarking, ‘We dread a renewal of this apparently interminable controversy’.
Buckland refers to the myth, prevalent in popular natural history books of this period, that toads or frogs contemporaneous with coal or rock formations had been exhumed alive in modern times (see Barber 1980, p. 18). This story had enjoyed a recent revival following the exhibition of a piece of coal supposed to have contained a living frog, at the International Exhibition of 1862. The Times carried several letters in response to the exhibit in September 1862, including one from Buckland attempting to dispel the myth (The Times, 16 September 1862, p. 7).
Cum multis aliis: ‘with many others’.


Barber, Lynn. 1980. The heyday of natural history, 1820–1870. London: Jonathan Cape.

Rose, R. N. 1953. The Field, 1853–1953. London: Michael Joseph.


Invites CD to visit offices of the Field; editor wishes CD to place natural history inquiries there.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Trevelyan (Frank) Buckland
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 356
Physical description
4pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3960,” accessed on 28 November 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 11