RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1871. [Two letters to C. Boner, 1870]. In R. M. Kettle ed., Memoirs and letters of Charles Boner, author of "Chamois hunting in Bavaria," &c. London: Richard Bentley and son. vol. 1, pp. 76-8.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, text prepared and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2007. RN2

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here.


Mr. Boner's1 intimate acquaintance with the habits of the wild creatures of the forest enabled him to be of use to many learned naturalists, and he always imparted information with pleasure. In looking over his letters and papers nothing excites more surprise than the number of subjects which engaged his attention. Many of his observations,

1 Charles Boner (1815-1870), a writer, sportsman and tutor to the children of German noblemen who lived most of his adult life in Germany.


revealing entirely new facts and varieties in animal life, were received with gratitude by Mr. Darwin, who thus acknowledges them:

[before 8 January 1870]

"I have just received your two works,1 and have made some use of them for my present book;2 and I should have made more use of them had I received them earlier. You describe the grand scenery of the Tyrol most graphically, and it makes me long to be strong and young again to ramble over the mountains. My next book will not be ready for a considerable time, though part is finished.

"I am very much obliged to you for your very interesting letter, and especially glad to hear about the co-existence of varieties in the wild state. The fact relating to the variation of the wild boar is quite new to me. I hope I shall get your book soon, and with my best thanks, I remain, dear sir, &c,


[20 January 1870]


I am very much obliged for your extremely kind note and the really valuable present of your work on Transylvania.3 I do not think I ever read a word about that country, and I am ashamed to confess that I had to look at a map

1 Boner 1860 and Boner 1861. See also Darwin's correspondence with Boner in Correspondence vol. 17 where the letters are given more completely.

2 Darwin cited Boner's works in Descent 2: 245, 253, 259, 269.

3 Boner 1865.


to be sure where it lay. Therefore, as soon as I have finished some books which I have in hand, I will begin your volume. You must, indeed, feel most acutely your present state of health, which I am truly sorry to hear of. My own health has been failing for so many years that I can hardly imagine the sense of vigour and the power of endurance. I must be content to enjoy the glorious scenes of nature, as described by you and others.

With every hope that you may perfectly recover your health and observe the habits of wild animals again,

I beg leave to remain, yours, &c., &c.,


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