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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Lawson Tait   2 March 1876

Down

March 2. 1876

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your note.1 I took an extraordinary amount of trouble over two cases and wrote dozens of long letters, and the evidence was so shaky that nothing less than a case closely inspected by highly competent witnesses, and recorded at the time, would in my opinion be sufficient2

In haste, | Yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

I was most cruelly vexed at my mistake, yet I made formerly as I thought careful enquiries.3

Footnotes

In Variation 2: 14–15, CD had reported cases of supernumerary digits that had been amputated and grew back. While making corrections for the second edition of Variation, he corresponded with Annie Dowie and Alice Margaret Lane Fox about these cases (see Correspondence vol. 23, letter to Annie Dowie, 16 August [1875], and letter from A. M. Lane Fox, 3 August 1875). After consulting with James Paget, he questioned the evidence for the regrowth of amputated digits in Variation 2d ed. 1: 459.
CD collected information on polydactylism for chapter 12 of Variation in 1863 (see, for instance, Correspondence vol. 11, letter to T. H. Huxley, 16 February [1863]).

Bibliography

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Variation 2d ed.: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1875.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.

Summary

Thanks RLT for his letter. CD took much trouble over his two cases [regrowth of amputated supernumerary digits, in Variation] but the evidence was shaky.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10414
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Sent from
Down
Source of text
DAR 147: 527
Physical description
1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10414,” accessed on 25 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10414.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24

letter