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Record number: WCP2848

Sent by:
Frederick Howard Collins
Sent to:
Alfred Russel Wallace
30 November 

Sent by Frederick Howard Collins, Churchfield, Edgbaston, Birmingham to Alfred Russel Wallace [none given] on 30 November .

Record created:
30 November 2011 by Mayer, Anna


No summary available at this time.

Record notes

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

View item:

LETTER (WCP2848.2738)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
British Library, The
Finding number:
BL Add. 46437 ff. 173-174
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the Frederick Howard Collins Literary Estate.

Physical description

Transcription information



[[1]]1 2




Nov[ember] 30th

Dear SIr:

Very many thanks for your letter about hare's[?] tails, which I have been some time answering, as I wished to do a little observing before doing so.

As you may be aware we have had in Birmingham this week on of the largest Dog shows in the British Isles. From which with its many [[2]] representatves of every breed, I have been able to generalize on the matter we are discussing. I do not say that my results hold every where, but, so far, I could find no single exception to the following statement:-

Where the colour of the back differed from the colour of the under-body, the tail [1 word illeg.] provisional and likewise differed in the shade of its colouring. The under-body [[3]] near the tail, when its differed, was invariably lighter than the back.

But as you say "The essential point however is its being exhibited[?] while running." Hence[?] are led to imply natural selection as causing it in, the Rabbit hare.

But do not most, if not all, dogs, similarly exhibit the under side of the tail when running? Now, from the fore--going evidence, they would show a lighter shade there like the hares, should you therefore say that they had been naturally selected [[4]]3 as to tail colour? It seems to me -- evidence not very weighty you will say! -- that the interpretation I have previously given, that the tail colour is merely a prolongation of the body colour supplies a much more feasible explanation. Can you find time, once more to say whether you disagree with me, or better still to say that there is "something in" my hypothesis?

Yours sincerely | F. Howard Collins4 [signature]


1. Top right hand, unknown hand "173".

2. Top right hand, below date, unknown hand "(1893 - 1903).

3. Bottom right hand, British Museum stamp.

4. Frederick Howard Collins (1857-1910). British indexer and writer.

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