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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Albert Günther   14 June [1873]

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

June 14th

Dear Günther

I observed your statement in the Annals, but I am not the less obliged to you for informing me.—1 Sidney Smith used to tell Francis Horner that he looked so good a man that he might commit any crime & no Jury would convict him;2 & I feel the same about your accuracy; you might make half-a-dozen slips & I shd. always maintain that you were the most accurate of men.— No one can be safe from so trifling an error as that about the frogs.—

I hope Phrynosoma will flourish; do you keep it in a greenhouse or Hot-house; I observe that such places suit toads excellently; but as I write it occurs to me (?) that Phrynosoma is a Lizard— I never heard of the odd statement which you make about its eyes.—3

Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter from Albert Günther, 11 June 1873 and n. 1. Günther had retracted an earlier statement he made about sexual differences in frogs.
Sydney Smith was a friend and colleague of the Scottish politician Francis Horner, with whom he founded the Edinburgh Review (ODNB).
See letter from Albert Günther, 11 June 1873 and n. 3. Günther hoped to observe a Phrynosoma (horned lizard) squirting blood from its eyes.


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


Thanks AG for information [unspecified]; so trifling an error will not alter his opinion that AG is "the most accurate of men".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Albrecht Carl Ludwig Gotthilf (Albert) Günther
Sent from
Source of text
Shrewsbury School, Taylor Library (37)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8943,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21