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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

From Samuel Pickworth Woodward   2 May 1856

Summary

Proportion of molluscan species to genera in various periods. The difficulty of determining species increases with the number of species per genus. Identifying species within a genus is most difficult in that period in which the genus shows its greatest development.

Author:  Samuel Pickworth Woodward
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 181: 153
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1864

From Laurence Edmondston   [before 3 May 1856]

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Summary

The vaunted fidelity of the ark bird has its exceptions.

Gives some details on wild pigeons.

Answers in the affirmative CD’s query about drifted trees.

Author:  Laurence Edmondston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 3 May 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 229
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1865

From J. D. Hooker   7 May 1856

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Summary

Non-endemic Ascension Island plants brought by man, not wind-transported.

Bentham has found intermediates between oxlip and cowslip in Herefordshire.

JDH finds quantity of albumen in seeds is not variable within a species.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 100: 94–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1869

From Edward William Vernon Harcourt   31 May 1856

Summary

Extensive notes on Madeiran birds: when and where seen on the island and under what conditions.

Author:  Edward William Vernon Harcourt
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  31 May 1856
Classmark:  DAR 166: 100
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1883

From S. P. Woodward   4 June 1856

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Summary

SPW and Waterhouse agree on island faunas; gives Australia and Tasmania as examples. The "stream of migration" from Asia to Tasmania.

Looks forward eagerly to the publication of CD’s "specific" researches.

Invites CD to send his memoranda [on Manual of Mollusca].

Author:  Samuel Pickworth Woodward
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 303
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1889

From Hewett Cottrell Watson   5 June 1856

Summary

Answers CD’s questions about plants common to U. S. and Britain and their distribution in Europe.

Variability of agrarian weeds.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 181: 32
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1891

From E. L. Layard   [September–October 1856]

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Summary

Preference of stallions for hybrid mares.

Author:  Edgar Leopold Layard
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [Sept–Oct 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 83: 185–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1897

From H. C. Watson   10 June 1856

Summary

Evidence relevant to E. Forbes’s land-bridge theory.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 181: 33
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1898

From Charles Lyell   17 June 1856

Summary

CD forgets an author [CD himself in Coral reefs] "who, by means of atolls, contrived to submerge archipelagoes (or continents?), the mountains of which must originally have differed from each other in height 8,000 (or 10,000?) feet".

CL begins to think that all continents and oceans are chiefly post-Eocene, but he admits that it is questionable how far one is at liberty to call up continents "to convey a Helix from the United States to Europe in Miocene or Pliocene periods".

Will CD explain why the land and marine shells of Porto Santo and Madeira differ while the plants so nearly agree?

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  17 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 146: 475
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1905

From H. C. Watson   20 June 1856

Summary

Conveys [? J. T. I. Boswell-]Syme’s opinion of variability of agrarian weeds and ranges of species common to U. S. and W. Europe. The Hispano-Hibernian connection.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  20 June 1856
Classmark:  DAR 181: 34
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1907
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letter (69)
Addressee
Darwin, C. R.[X]
Date
1856
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