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Darwin Correspondence Project

From James Samuelson   10 April 1868

The Quarterly | Journal of Science. | Worsley Villa, St. Domingo Grove, | Liverpool,

April 10 1868

Dear Sir

May I beg you to refer to the following portions of your last published work: (Animals Under domt)1

At p 49— you speak of “6 or 7 other living species of the genus Equus.”

At p 60 of “the other 7 or 8 other species of the genus.”

At p 61. “because all species of the genus Equus

At p 55 you explain analogous variation: “a variation occurring in a species or variety which resembles a normal character in another distinct species or variety”. At p 64 you illustrate “analogous variations”, (certain peculiarities are) “all cases of analogous variation in the horse or ass.” And finally: at pps 62— & 64 you speak of “Asinus tæniopus: A. Burchellii, & quagga.—2

Probably some of your readers may, like myself, not be able to understand

lo. Whether you consider there are 7-8-9 species of Equus—

2o. Whether you regard Equus & Asinus as distinct genera or distinct species of the genus Equus— & I cannot help thinking the comparison of the foregoing extracts & the mode in which you divide the subject & some other remarks made by you, will be sufficient to confuse them.— As you know I do not ask out of mere curiosity or to find fault— perhaps you will kindly clear the matter up for me.

Yours very truly | James Samuelson

Chas Darwin Esqr MA FRS.

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Used’ pencil, circled pencil, ‘Jenner Weir3 about wildness of Highlands’ pencil, circled pencil


The reference is to Variation.
All the pages cited by Samuelson are in the first volume of Variation. Asinus taeniopus is now classed as a subspecies of Equus asinus, the African wild ass. Asinus Burchellii is now Equus burchellii or E. quagga burchellii, Burchell’s zebra. The quagga, which became extinct in the wild in the 1870s, is now classified as E. quagga quagga (Groves and Ryder 2000, p. 20).
John Jenner Weir.


Corrects errors of detail in Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
James Samuelson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Q. J. Sci. , Liverpool
Source of text
DAR 177: 28
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6110,” accessed on 16 October 2021,

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