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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. J. Weir   20 May [1869]1

Down, Beckenham, Kent. S.E.

May 20.

My dear Sir

I feel that I have a sort of prescriptive right to bother you for information. Mr. Gould told me that male nightingales immigrate before the females; and that he had ascertained this was the case with the snipe and he believed that it was general with migratory Birds.2 Do you know anything on this head? There is a man in or near Brighton, who sometimes writes in the Ibis, and who I imagine may be a bird-stuffer, and who seems to have paid special attention to migratory Birds.3 Do you know to whom I refer, for if I could discover his name and address, I would write to him, supposing that you are not able to give me information on this head. I fear that the migratory birds are not largely caught by the Bird-catchers; and the South coast would be the best place for observation

Believe me, my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I could no doubt find out the Brighton man’s address through Sclater.4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. J. Weir, 26 May 1869.
CD recorded John Gould’s remarks in a note dated 24 March 1868 (DAR 86: C18).
George Swaysland was a naturalist with premises at 4 Queen’s Road in Brighton (Post Office directory of the six home counties 1870).
Philip Lutley Sclater.


Post Office directory of the six home counties: Post Office directory of the six home counties, viz., Essex, Herts, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. London: W. Kelly & Co. 1845–78.


Asks for information about male birds migrating before females.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Jenner Weir
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 148: 322
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6753,” accessed on 22 October 2020,

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