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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. S. Dallas   15 January 1868


15 Jan. 1868.

My dear Sir

I have received your kind letter of yesterday’s date, containing what I by no means expected or wished for, namely a cheque from you in aid of Mr. Murray’s bargain.— I do not like to accept this, although under the circumstances it is by no means unwelcome,— the utmost of what Mr. Murray proposed to pay me was £15, & I think you will see by the Index now that it is in type, that the labour bestowed upon it would not be very well paid at that rate.— If Mr. Murray, seeing that the Index is not an ordinary one, should be inclined to make some addition to his original bargain, (if bargain it can be called), I shall ask your permission to send you back this sum of £5.5.-, my gratitude for your kindness & consideration being the same in either case.—1 I am very glad that you are so well pleased with the Index & hope the public may be equally appreciative.—

I have sent my proof sheets to you, thinking that this would save time,— by this post I send 8 pages, & have still 1 sheet to read, which I will finish tonight & forward to you tomorrow morning.—

I send also the following notes for errata in Vol. II.,— Cratægus oxycantha pp. 18, 232, 258, should be oxyacantha; Dianthus armoria p: 90 = armeria; Ipomæa p. 128 should be Ipomœa; on p. 156 is Casuarinus for Casuarius & Grus cineria for cinerea; on p. 168 Œsculus stands for Æsculus; & on p. 300 anastomising for anastomosing.—2

In connexion with the crossing of the Javanese cattle with the Banteng,3 it struck me that there is a curious indication of the same practice in one of Sinbad’s voyages, when he describes a mare tethered on the sea coast, to be covered by a horse which was said to come out of the sea, the progeny being kept for the king’s use.— You will think that I have given too much time to the Arabian Nights Entertainments, but the reference to crossing & selection struck me as interesting—4

Hoping that when next I hear from you I may have better accounts of your health, I remain, Dear Sir | Your’s always truly | W. S. Dallas.

C. Darwin Esqr.

Vol. I. p. 76. Phascochœrus, should be Phacochœrus


See letter to W. S. Dallas, [14 January 1868]. A payment of £5.5 is recorded under the heading, ‘Dallas Science’, in CD’s Account books–cash account (Down House MS) for 13 January 1868. Dallas had been invited by John Murray to prepare the index of Variation. On Dallas’s difficulties in completing the index, see the letter from W. S. Dallas, 8 January 1868. On CD’s frustration at the delay to publication caused by the indexing, see the letter to John Murray, 9 January [1868].
The errata, including the one in the postscript, were incorporated in the second printing of Variation. Dianthus armoria appears on page 98 of Variation vol. 2.
In Variation 2: 206, CD reported, ‘natives of Java sometimes drive their cattle into the forests to cross with the wild Bateng (Bos sondaicus)’.
The episode is from the first voyage of Sinbad in the Arabian nights’ entertainments, also known as The book of the thousand nights and one night (see Mack ed. 1998, p. 144). Dallas had also referred to the Arabian nights in his letter to CD of 8 December 1867 (Correspondence vol. 15).


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

Mack, Robert L. ed. 1998. Arabian nights’ entertainments. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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


Thanks CD for cheque for £5.5.0 supplementing fee from J. Murray’s. Will return it if Murray provides an additional amount. Is glad CD is so well pleased. Sends notes for errata.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Sweetland Dallas
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 10
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5788,” accessed on 2 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16