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From George Bentham   2 December [1856]

Summary

Cites cases of leguminous plants whose cleistogamic flowers produce more seed than perfect flowers. [See Forms of flowers, p. 326.]

Author:  George Bentham
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 111: A75–6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11267

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 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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