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Darwin Correspondence Project

To ?   23 March [1872–4]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

March 23d

My dear Sir

In a table which I drew up several years ago of all the authentic crosses amongst the Phasianidæ, I give the Gold & Silver pheasant;2 but, though I give references to every other case, I have by some accident omitted this single one! I feel certain I shd. not have introduced it without fairly good evidence. I hope that you will publish your case.

My dear Sir, Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year range is established by the printed stationery, with the address in the centre; CD used this type of notepaper between January 1872 and November 1874.
CD discussed the plumage of the gold pheasant (Phasianus pictus; now Chrysolophus pictus) in Variation 1: 275. CD did not use a species name for the silver pheasant; the original name was Phasianus nycthemerus, though CD probably knew it as Euplocamus nycthemerus (it is now Lophura nycthemera). In Descent 2: 192, CD noted that female pheasants of several species, including gold and silver, resembled each other in plumage. The table of crosses has not been found.


Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


CD has lost his reference to cross between gold and silver pheasants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.406)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8250,” accessed on 27 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20