skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   21 November [1857]1

Down Bromley Kent

Nov. 21st

My dear Sir

Thank you for your note. I have been looking over my Catalogue of specimens,2 & find to my surprise that I have no young chicken of Malay & without that for comparison, the skeleton of an old Bird wd. be comparatively useless to me; & therefore I think, if you could help me to purchase a few Malay eggs in the Spring, it would be much better for me than now getting a Cockrel; but I am sorry you shd. have had the trouble of writing for nothing.

Next summer I shall probably give away all my Pigeons & you may rely on it, I will inform you.—3

I killed some young Jacobins the other day, which from being Bull-eyed I did not think worth sending you.

As soon as ever I can find time to go over my little disquisition on Pigeons, & compare the skeletons &c. I shall give up Pigeons.—4

I shall certainly attend, (health permitting) the Annual Show of Philoperisteron.5 I am glad to hear you liked my little notice on Kidney Beans.—6

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Will you keep in mind Malay Eggs.—


Dated by the reference to CD’s letter to the Gardener’s Chronicle about kidney beans (see n. 6, below).
CD’s catalogue of poultry and pigeon specimens has not been located in the Darwin archive.
See Correspondence vol. 7, letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, [21 April 1858] and 8 September [1858].
CD had included a discussion of pigeons in chapter 1 of his species book (Natural selection, p. 25; see also Appendix III). He did not have time to revise or expand the manuscript until June 1858 (see Correspondence vol. 7, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 22 June [1858]).
The annual show of the Philoperisteron Society, of which CD was a member, took place on 19 January 1858. The report of the event in the Cottage Gardener, 19 (1857–8): 256, noted: ‘The visitors were numerous, fashionable, and scientific. It relieves Pigeon fancying from all charge of triviality when savans of such reputation as Messrs. Darwin and Waterhouse show, by their attendance and interest, that the changes capable of being produced in any species by domestication, are worthy of the deep attention of scientific inquirers; and in no species are these changes greater, or more varied, than in the Pigeon.’ The notice was probably written by Tegetmeier, a regular contributor to the Cottage Gardener.
Letter to Gardeners’ Chronicle, 18 October [1857].


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.


When he has reviewed his work, he will give up pigeons and will probably give them away next summer. Wants a few Malay eggs in the spring.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2173,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6