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Darwin Correspondence Project

From [Mr Edwards?]1   [before end of 1839?]2

– – at pointer bitch belonging to Chas Wilkins Esq. Hay, Breconshire3—put to a pointer dog threw one setter puppy.4 The other puppies were pointers with marks of the highest breed, fine sterns &c

The breed had been in the family for generations and had been sold at high prices. No cross was remembered and it must have been far back

CD annotations

Bottom of page: ‘Mr. Edwards | Surgeon’ ink; ‘16’5 brown crayon, circled brown crayon


The name of the correspondent is suggested by CD’s endorsement: ‘Mr. Edwards | Surgeon.’ He has not been further identified.
The date is conjectured from the date at which the Wilkins family adopted the name de Winton (see n. 3, below).
Probably Charles Lorenzo Wilkins, son of Walter Wilkins of Hay Castle, Brecon, Wales. The family adopted the name de Winton in 1839. (Burke’s landed gentry 1846 s.v. de Winton.)
CD was soliciting information on the transmission of characteristics between, and instances of reversion in, crossbred animals from at least 1839, and this memorandum may have been written in answer to his printed questionnaire ‘Questions about the breeding of animals’, probably circulated between 1 January and 6 May 1839 (see Correspondence vol. 2, Appendix V). The information was probably for the chapters on variation under domestication in CD’s manuscript on species (see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix III).
The annotation may refer to a numbered portfolio of notes, possibly on hybridism or heredity. CD kept a number of such portfolios, amassed over a long period of time and since dispersed. The likely contents of some portfolios, but not one numbered ‘16’, were reconstructed when some of CD’s papers were catalogued in 1932 (see DAR 220: 13).


Reports on a setter puppy born of apparently pure pointer parents. Any cross must have been far back.

Letter details

Letter no.
[–] Edwards
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 163: 4
Physical description
Amem 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13803,” accessed on 31 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13 (Supplement)