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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hugh Browne   17 May 1872


17 May 1872

Dear Sir

The following note in Moore’s diary may be worth your notice as an hereditary peculiarity—6 Moore’s Memoirs by Russell page 46.—1

“In talking of handwriting & its being sometimes hereditary, Brougham2 said he had found some of his gr father’s which exactly resembled his own, tho’ the gr father had died before he was born & his father’s writing was altogether different.”—

Your prophesy as to our family color blindness comes true—3 a few days since my brother Michael brought his eldest boy—212 years old—& boasted he had not had it, the boast was hardly uttered when the lad looked at a band in my wifes dress & pronounced it blue—4 It was rose color.—

It is surprising how many fail at a distance to distinguish the scarlet flowers or fruit of japonica5 from the leaves— I cannot.

Please don’t waste your time in replying unless you want something that I can supply.—

Yours truly | Hugh Browne

Chas Darwin Esq | Down Beckenham Kent


Browne refers to the Irish poet Thomas Moore, his biographer John Russell (the first Earl Russell), and T. Moore 1853–6.
William Brougham.
No letter from CD to Browne has been found. Browne had written to CD about colour-blindness in his male relatives (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter from Hugh Browne, 30 May 1868, and Correspondence vol. 19, letter from Hugh Browne, 17 April [1871]).
Browne refers to Michael Browne, Michael Ross Browne, and Mary Selina Browne.
The common name japonica was usually applied to species of Chaenomeles, the flowering quince, especially C. japonica (Maule’s quince).


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

Moore, Thomas. 1853–6. Memoirs, journal and correspondence. 8 vols. Edited by Lord John Russell. London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans.


Sends quotation from Thomas Moore’s Memoirs [ed. Lord John Russell, (1853–6)] about hereditary peculiarity in handwriting.

On colour-blindness in his family.

Letter details

Letter no.
Hugh Browne
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 332
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8336,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20