RECORD: Fonblanque, Albany. 1865. Notice of a mule breeding. (Communicated by Darwin) Natural History Review n.s. 5: 147-8.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed and edited by John van Wyhe 8.2022. RN1

NOTE: See the record for this item in the Freeman Bibliographical Database by entering its Identifier here. Albany Fonblanque was Legal Vice-Consul for Egypt. See Darwin to an editor of the Natural History Review [Dec.? 1864], Correspondence vol. 12, p. 425: "If you do insert a note, I think you had better say 'communicated by Mr A. Fonblanque of the British Consulate at Alexandria to Mr Darwin'" and the notes to this letter by the editors. The item was reprinted in The Quarterly Journal of Science, The Veterinary Review, etc.

[page] 147


Mr. A. Fonblanque, of the British Consulate at Alexandria, has communicated to Mr. Darwin a notice of a "curious birth" which has lately taken place at Cairo—that of a foal produced by a mule. Mr. Fonblanque says, so great was the excitement at this unheard of event amongst the native population that it produced an official enquiry—a copy of which, together with a certificated translation, Mr.

[page] 148 

Fonblanque has forwarded along with his letter announcing the prodigium. The latter consists of the deposition of one Mohamed Effendi Ashmani—a veterinary surgeon—before the police at Cairo on the 27th June, 1864, and states that, on the previous day, the said Mohamed had proceeded, in pursuance of instructions received, to "the house of one Ibrahim, a master marbler, situate at Darb el Ahmar, to examine a mule, which had given an offspring. It appears that the said mule had been covered by an ass, as the offspring is a jennet. The mule is twenty-two years of age, and as she has no milk, which is indispensable to maintain the jennet, directions were given for feeding it."

Although Mr. Fonblanque has no personal knowledge of this case, he does not believe that "any intentional deception has been practised." "No attempt has been made to turn the affair to profit by exhibition or otherwise — in fact, it furnished considerable annoyance to the owner of the animal."

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