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From J. D. Hooker   [16 November 1856]

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Summary

JDH not happy with CD’s explanation of the absence of north temperate forms in the Southern Hemisphere, given his explanation for the spread of sub-arctic forms to the south. [CD’s note is in response to JDH’s criticism.]

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [16 Nov 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 100: 162–3
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1622

From George Gulliver   20 January [1856]

Summary

Discusses the similarity in size, shape, and structure of the blood corpuscles of the Aves. Notes differences between the corpuscles of the domestic dog and some wild species.

Author:  George Gulliver
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  20 Jan [1856]
Classmark:  DAR (CD library – Gulliver, George 1846)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1632

From W. D. Fox   8 March [1856]

Summary

Is trying to procure some cocks for CD.

Believes Scotch deerhounds are mongrels.

Author:  William Darwin Fox
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 164: 174
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1646

From Thomas Vernon   Wollaston [February 1856]

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Summary

Sends Madeira specimens, including frogs recently introduced into the island, and flourishing.

Author:  Thomas Vernon Wollaston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Feb 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 299
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1806

From S. P. Woodward   [after 4 June 1856]

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Summary

Note on cases of representative shells that are not clearly either varieties or species.

Author:  Samuel Pickworth Woodward
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [after 4 June 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 205.9: 403
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1807

From Edward Blyth   8 January [1856]

Summary

Encloses "notes for Mr. D" [see 1818] and a memorandum on the wild cattle of southern India [see 1819].

Breeds of silky fowl of China and Malaya. Black-skinned fowl.

Doubts any breed of canary has siskin blood; all remain true to their type.

Wild canary and finch hybrids.

Hybrids between one- and two-humped camels.

Does not regard zebra markings on asses as an indication of interbreeding but as one of the many instances of markings in the young which more or less disappear in the adult.

Crossing of Coracias species at the edges of their ranges.

Regional variations and intergrading between species of pigeons.

Regards the differences in Treron as specific [see Natural selection, p. 115 n. 1].

Gives other instances of representative species or races differing only in certain details of colouring.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Jan [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 98: A110–13, A117–21
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1817

From John Davy   10 January 1856

Summary

On the vitality of the ova of the Salmonidae at different stages of development.

Author:  John Davy
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 Jan 1856
Classmark:  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 8 (1856–7): 27–33
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1819A

From Edward Blyth   23 January 1856

Summary

Believes the goldfish originates from a wild, gold variety of Chinese carp.

Gallinaceous birds.

Crested turkeys.

EB divides the gallinaceous birds into five families on anatomical distinctions.

Wild dog species of India and Asia; ranges of some species, specific identity of others.

The fauna of the Seychelles.

Breeding of fowls in India and Africa.

Occurrence of turkeys in Africa.

Refers to some of his own papers giving fuller details of points raised previously.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Jan 1856
Classmark:  DAR 98: A122–A125
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1825

From Charles James Fox Bunbury   7 February 1856

Summary

Has heard CD is much interested in questions relating to varieties and species. Mentions a case of a seminal variety of Colletia spinosa, described by John Lindley, which appears identical with another wild species of Colletia from S. America. Hopes CD will one day "enlighten us very much" on "the laws of species". There are many different views on the limits of species; M. F. Dunal made 50 species of Solanum which George Bentham considers are all varieties of S. nigrum.

Author:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Feb 1856
Classmark:  DAR 160: 374, DAR 205.4: 97
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1830

From Edward Blyth   23 February 1856

Summary

Opposition to EB within the Asiatic Society.

Possibility of establishment of a zoological garden at Calcutta.

Has seen Gallus varius alive for the first time.

Will procure domestic pigeons for CD; could CD pay for them by returning hardy creatures, such as macaws and marmosets, which EB can sell for a high price in India?

Does not recall his authority for genealogy of the asses of Oman. If a genuine wild ass exists EB believes it will be in south Arabia.

Infertility of Irish and Devon red deer.

Details of an unusual species of wild dog.

Fertility of canine hybrids. General tendency toward hybrid sterility.

Has skins of hybrid Coracias and the parent species.

Wide-ranging species; skua found in Europe and Australia, but not in the tropics.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Feb 1856
Classmark:  DAR 98: A128–A132
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1832

From Edward Blyth   26 February 1856

Summary

There is a possibility of establishment of a Government Museum at Calcutta, with which the Asiatic Society Museum would be merged. EB would like the curatorship but fears other possible applicants. Asks CD to represent him to W. H. Sykes.

Discusses the ancients’ awareness of various cats as deduced from the etymology of their names.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  26 Feb 1856
Classmark:  DAR 98: A126–A127
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1833

From John Morris   1 March 1856

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Summary

Informs CD on age of land, freshwater, and marine Mollusca.

Author:  John Morris
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Mar 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 246
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1835

From M. J. Berkeley   7 March 1856

Summary

Reports on breeding experiments with various seeds: corn, aubergine, kidney beans, sugar-peas. Speculates that cause of changes in seed colour in sugar-peas may be mere variation rather than result of impregnation.

Author:  Miles Joseph Berkeley
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Mar 1856
Classmark:  DAR 160: 174
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1836

From Thomas Hutton   8 March 1856

Summary

TH believes that the progeny of hybrid crosses, in which a domesticated or "artificial" race is involved, tend to resemble the more "natural" of their parents [see Natural selection, p. 486].

Provides some information on local hybrid domestic geese [see Natural selection, p. 439] and pigeons.

Author:  Thomas Hutton
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Mar 1856
Classmark:  DAR 166: 283
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1838

From Edward Blyth   [c. 22 March 1856]

Summary

Gives references to works on fowls and pigeons.

Observations on Gallinaceae.

Musk ox skull from southern England is additional evidence for Agassiz’s glacial period. Owen is mistaken in calling it a buffalo.

EB describes the buffalo proper.

Will send domestic pigeon specimens.

Believes pigeons were not bred in India before the Mohammedan conquest. Describes Indian breeds.

Believes the ass is an African rather than an Asian production. Discusses various species of ass and their distribution.

Wild horned cattle on borders of Pilibhit and Shahjahanpur.

[Notes received by CD on 6 May 1856.]

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [c. 22 Mar 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 98: 133–9
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1845

From Edward Blyth   [3 April 1856]

Summary

Reports observations on Indian pigeons from David Scott at Hansi. EB adds remarks on Indian breeds he has encountered. Suggests Egypt, Turkey, and Syria would be good places from which to obtain specimens. Believes domestic races are all descended from Columba livia; their calls are all similar and they pair indiscriminately.

Guinea-fowl.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [3 Apr 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 98: A140–A143
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1849

From Charles John Andersson   [6 April 1856]

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Summary

European men choose partners for different reasons. Savages select more for bodily attraction than facial beauty.

Author:  Charles John (Carl Johann) Andersson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [6 Apr 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 85: A102
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1850

From Richard Thomas Lowe   12 April 1856

Summary

Discusses the flora of Porto Santo in relation to that of Madeira. While these islands have some 20 endemic species in common, there are 7 or 8 species endemic to Porto Santo alone, and 25 common to Porto Santo and Europe that are not found on Madeira. Believes the great difference in soil and climate is enough to explain this: plants common on one island cannot be made to grow on the other. Believes J. D. Hooker has underestimated the number of species endemic to Madeira. There are some remarkable endemic species of common plants in the Dezertas.

The eel is the only freshwater fish on Porto Santo and Madeira.

Author:  Richard Thomas Lowe
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  12 Apr 1856
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1852A

From C. J. F. Bunbury   16 April 1856

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Summary

Is interested by what CD tells him about his researches and speculations on species, variation, and distribution. Hopes he will not give up the idea of publishing his views. Advises CD on need for caution and candour. Raises some difficulties with "specific centre" theory of distribution.

Author:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  16 Apr 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 218
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1854

From Charles Lyell   1–2 May 1856

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Summary

Urges CD to publish his theory with small part of data.

Corrects names of land shells on list of shells picked up at Down.

Discusses transport of Ancylus from one river-bed to another by water-beetle.

"I hear that when you & Hooker & Huxley & Wollaston got together you made light of all Species & grew more & more unorthodox."

Mentions discussion of old Atlantis by Oswald Heer.

Comments on Helix and Nanina.

Mentions beetle discovered with small bag of eggs of water-spider under wing.

Madeira evidence favours single species birth-place theory.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1–2 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 282
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1862
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