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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Editor of the Natural History Review1   [December? 1864]2

My dear Sir

Will you look at the enclosed papers, & if you think fit, publish a note in the Nat. Hist. Review?3 If not worth while, please tear up the papers & please do not in any case take the trouble to acknow〈ledge〉 〈one third of a page missing

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

If you do insert a note, I think you had better say “communicated by Mr A. Fonblanque4 of the British Consulate at Alexandria to Mr Darwin”.—


The editors of the Natural History Review in 1864 were George Busk, William Benjamin Carpenter, Frederick Currey, Joseph Reay Greene, Thomas Henry Huxley, John Lubbock, Robert McDonnell, Daniel Oliver, Phillip Lutley Sclater, Charles Wyville Thomson, and Edward Perceval Wright.
The month is conjectured from the reference to the communication from Albany Fonblanque (see n. 3, below).
The enclosure has not been found; however, in January 1865, the Natural History Review printed the communication ‘Notice of a mule breeding’, which described the recent birth of a foal to a mule that had been mated with a donkey (Fonblanque 1865). The subject of mule-breeding had been raised earlier by correspondents of CD’s (see Correspondence vol. 10, letter from George Maw, 7 July 1862, and Correspondence vol. 11, letter from Roland Trimen, 10, 13, and 18 October 1863); the correspondence between Fonblanque and CD has not been found. For CD’s interest in hybrid sterility and fertility, see Origin, pp. 245–78; Variation vol. 2; and Correspondence vol. 10, Appendix VI.
Albany Fonblanque.


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

Fonblanque, Albany. 1865. Notice of a mule breeding. Natural History Review n.s. 5: 147–8.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

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


Forwards a communication from A. Fonblanque for possible publication in Natural History Review. [See "Notice of mule breeding", Nat. Hist. Rev. n.s. 5 (1865): 147–8.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
editor of Nat. Hist. Rev.
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.286a)
Physical description
2pp inc

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4686,” accessed on 27 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12