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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   2 November [1867]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Nov 2.

My dear Sir

Many thanks about the index. I have returned the M.S. with a note to Mr Dallas; it seems very well done but rather too full.2

With respect to the story of a hybrid from an ass and a bull (for I presume you refer to such) it is utterly incredible.3 Many similar stories have been propagated, but on investigation have proved entirely false.

The explanation has generally been a slight monstrosity.

My dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. S. Dallas, 4 November 1867.
CD refers to William Sweetland Dallas’s specimen of the index for Variation (see letter from John Murray, 1 November [1867]). Neither the enclosure nor CD’s note to Dallas has been found.


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


Dallas’ index [for Variation] well done but rather too full.

A hybrid from an ass and a bull is utterly incredible.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 ff. 176–177)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5667,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15