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To Herbert Spencer   11 March [1856]


Thanks for copy of HS’s Principles of psychology [1855].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Herbert Spencer
Date:  11 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 147: 484a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1841

To Samuel Birch   [12 March 1856]


Arranges an appointment.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Samuel Birch
Date:  [12 Mar 1856]
Classmark:  British Museum (Department of the Middle East, correspondence 1826–67: 1489)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1841A

To W. B. Tegetmeier   15 March [1856]


Asks WBT to try to purchase some specific pigeons.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  15 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1842

To W. D. Fox   15 March [1856]


Believes WDF’s case of mongrel Scotch deerhound is very valuable for him.

Mentions his work on pigeons and chickens.

Fears sometimes he will break down: "My subject gets bigger and bigger".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  15 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 97)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1843

To Miles Joseph Berkeley   18 March [1856]


Thanks MJB for information which he is including in his article for the Linnean Society.

Refers to the peas "which produce the black or intensely purple pods". [See 1834 and 1836.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Miles Joseph Berkeley
Date:  18 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  Joseph R. Sakmyster, ADS Autographs (dealer) (no date)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1843A

To W. B. Tegetmeier   20 March [1856]


Discusses various pigeons and would welcome receiving any odd breed. Some pigeons have died from overeating bag salt.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  20 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1844

From Edward Blyth   [c. 22 March 1856]


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

To C. J. Andersson   25 March [1856]


Thanks for proof sheets of Lake Ngami: or, exploration and discoveries during four years’ wanderings in the wilds of South Western Africa (Andersson 1856).

Is very grateful for the information CJA has provided about cattle in South Africa, and wishes to ask further questions about native breeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles John (Carl Johann) Andersson
Date:  25 Mar [1856]
Classmark:  National Library of South Africa, Cape Town
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1845F

To Thomas Henry Huxley   2 April [1856]


Invitation to THH and wife to come to Down to meet H. C. Watson, T. V. Wollaston, and the Hookers.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  2 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 46)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1847

To Walter Baldock Durrant Mantell   3 April [1856]


Reminds WBDM of his promise of information about the quartz boulders and an iceberg with fragment of rock seen in southern ocean.

Sends other questions [on separate sheet (missing)] which WBDM will think ridiculous, but all bear on plants and animals under domestication.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Walter Baldock Durrant Mantell
Date:  3 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand (MS-Papers-0083-268)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1848

From Edward Blyth   [3 April 1856]


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.


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]



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

To Joseph Dalton Hooker   8 April [1856]



Mustering support at Royal Society Council for John Lindley’s Copley Medal. CD thinks Albany Hancock deserves a Royal Medal.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  8 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 160
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1851

To Samuel Birch    8 April [1856]


His thanks for the extracts sent by SB.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Samuel Birch
Date:  8 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  British Museum (Department of the Middle East, correspondence 1826–67: 1494)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1851A

To T. H. Huxley   9 April [1856]


Arrangements for visit of Huxleys to Down on 26 Apr.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  9 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 33)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1852

From Richard Thomas Lowe   12 April 1856


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

To Henry Tibbats Stainton   13 April [1856]


Thanks HTS for Entomologist’s Weekly Intelligencer [no. 2, 12 Apr 1856]. Agrees with his remarks [in "Why did Mr Westwood get the Royal Medal?"], but explains that a change in rules for awarding the Royal Medal has been made. Earlier it had to be given for publications in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, which explains small number of entomologist recipients.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Tibbats Stainton
Date:  13 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  Natural History Museum (General Special Collections MSS DAR 16)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1853

From C. J. F. Bunbury   16 April 1856



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

To Charles Lyell   21 April [1856]


Speculates about cause of inclination in unusual columns of lava. Suggests CL check with William Hopkins about sliding movements in viscid matter.

Comments on CL’s expedition to Madeira.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  21 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.126)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1855

To C. J. F. Bunbury   21 April [1856]


CD writes on geographical distribution – "a grand game of chess with the world for a board".

Gives his hypothetical explanation why zoology of Cape [of Good Hope] is not so peculiar as its botany: it was once a group of islands – later united.

Tries hard to set forth the difficulties of his [species] theory.

Tells CJFB in confidence of his theory of the glacial epoch and its effect on plant distribution, such as identical species being found on summits of mountains in the tropics. Invites him to attack his "doctrine".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Date:  21 Apr [1856]
Classmark:  Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds (Bunbury Family Papers E18/700/1/9/6)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1856
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