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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   13 May [1869]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent., S.E.

May 13

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your paper, which I read with extreme interest. Your verification of Wallace’s suggestion seems to me to amount to quite a discovery.2 Here is an odd chance, about a fortnight ago I twice noticed the blackness of the lambs in some flocks which I believed to be Southdown, and looked out for the shepherd to ask him whether the lambs would lose their dark tints, but could not see anyone to ask. And now you have answered the question with respect to a flock of a very high character.3 It is a capital case like the kittens of black cats showing traces of stripes. It will work in usefully for me some day. In fact I have been perpetually quoting you in my MS. of late. I am hardly a believer in inheritance of mutilations, and not of dogs’ tails, so I feel no surprise at all about the sheep.4 With many thanks.

Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin.


Comments on paper by JJW ["On insects and insectivorous birds", Trans. R. Entomol. Soc. Lond. (1869): 21–6]. JJW’s verification of A. R. Wallace’s suggestion regarding inheritance is quite a discovery.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 321
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6746,” accessed on 19 September 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17