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Darwin Correspondence Project

Questions for Mr Wynne   [February–July 1838]1

Questions for Mr Wynne2

Are offspring like fathers or mothers? How are real nipples.

Is a peculiarity which has long been in blood more easily transmitted, than a newly acquired one?

Does the peculiarity adhere in geometrical progression, in proportion to no of generations

When old variety is crossed with new; or natural one with very artificial one as shepherd dog with Italian Grehound do offspring partake more of the natural than artificial kind?—

When wild animal crossed with tame does offspring favour the former. fox with dog?.—

About sporting in pack of Hounds: how much selection??3

Is a breed of half bred animals more subject to variation, than either parent stock? is unusual care required to keep breed constant.

Superfœtation cases of?.—

Idea of beauty in animals: do females prefer certain males? or vice versâ.—when in a flock.—

When healthy & unhealthy4 animals or men crossed do offspring partake more of former or latter?—

Effects of habit on form.—in men as in trades.

Could you get race horse from carthorse without training?

If horses temper soured, could be handed down.—

if temper cowed in horse or dog or cock, hereditary.—

Case of Malay fowls.—habits?

Cross of Chinese pigs, are they intermediate in form, as in dogs.— does Mr Wynne believe in dogs

Cases of hereditary monsters? of accidental mutilations being hereditary.

Case of heterogeneous offspring, in fowls, pidgeons, rabbits.—if race horse & cart horse be crossed, will offspring be constant.—

Effects of crossing stocks with different constitutions?—

If bull-dog be crossed with greyhound are they as prolific as rather nearer breed— But Are the mongrels prolific.

Breeding in & in Infertility, & loss of passion?? in Male?

What would effect be of one brother & sister taken to one country, one pair to other & made different. Would not the cousins cross. No because both would be bred [in] & in.⇒now the rule is to pick out opposed animals, ie. animals which have each acquired peculiarities.—

Is there not some strange fact about twin calfs, one being neutral. how is it with animals are sexes always same in twins why.5

Are all or some only of cross-bred animals more prolific??6


Dated from references to some of the same questions in Notebook C, the inside cover of which has ‘written between (*beginning of [interl] February & July 1838)’. In the same place CD notes: ‘About trades affecting forms of man’ and ‘Could you get racehorse from Cart horse’.
A ‘Mr Wynne’ is mentioned in earlier letters in connection with breeding horses (see Correspondence vol. 1, letters from Fanny Owen, [8 September 1830], and Caroline Darwin, 30 December [1833] – 3 January 1834) and in CD’s notebooks of this period. It has not been possible to identify him further or to establish whether the references are to the same person, as the name is not uncommon in Shropshire records of the time. This document is an early draft of a more formal printed Questions about the breeding of animals, which CD distributed in the spring of 1839 (Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix V; see Freeman 1977, pp. 54–6, and letters from Richard Sutton Ford, 6 May 1839, and from George Tollet, [10 May 1839]). The ‘Questions for Mr Wynne’ have been transcribed and printed in Gruber and Barrett 1974, pp. 424–5. The present version differs in a few minor details from Professor Barrett’s transcription.
‘About … selection??’ added in margin, ink.
Above ‘healthy & unhealthy’ CD has added ‘strong & puny’, ink.
‘Breeding … why.’ added in grey ink.
‘Are … prolific??’ added in pencil.


Barrett, Paul H. 1974. The Sedgwick–Darwin geologic tour of North Wales. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 118: 146-64.

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

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Notebook C. See de Beer 1960; de Beer and Rowlands 1961; de Beer, Rowlands, and Skramovsky 1967; Notebooks.


Questions on breeding and habits.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
[–] Wynne
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 206: 42
Physical description
Adraft 2pp †(by CD)

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 399,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2