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From George Dickie   1 December 1856



His observations on Subularia: has never seen it in flower in the air.

Author:  George Dickie
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  1 Dec 1856
Classmark:  DAR 207: 16
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2009

To George Bentham   3 December [1856]


Thanks GB for information on apetalous flowers. "The whole order [Leguminosae] will remain my detestable enemies."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Bentham
Date:  3 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Bentham Correspondence, Vol. 3, Daintree–Dyer, 1830–1884, GEB/1/3: f. 687)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2010

To W. B. Tegetmeier   4 December [1856]


Is glad WBT is willing to describe the poultry CD can acquire. Sir James Brooke promises Borneo fowls.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  4 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2011

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 6 December 1856]


CD is collecting all the evidence he can on natural crossing of varieties of plants. Asks readers of Gardeners’ Chronicle to give evidence "showing either that Leguminous crops, when grown close together do sometimes cross or on the other hand that they may invariably be grown close together without any chance of deterioration".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 6 Dec 1856]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 6 December 1856, p. 806
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2012

From T. V. Wollaston   [11 or 18 December 1856]



Informs CD that the "dishonest mollusks" were collected in May 1855 in Porto Santo. Describes some Madeira species. Though believing in "species" more and more, these may be "mere insular modifications".

Author:  Thomas Vernon Wollaston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [11 or 18] Dec 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 301
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2013

From J. D. Hooker   7 December 1856



Has done New Zealand flora calculations. Results support CD’s theory of necessity of crossing. Trees tend to have separate sexes.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Dec 1856
Classmark:  DAR 100: 113–14
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2014

To Harriet Lubbock   [8 December 1856]


Thanks her for kindness. Announces, "We have now half-a-dozen Boys" [Charles Waring Darwin, born 6 Dec].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Harriet Lubbock
Date:  [8 Dec 1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.141)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2015

From J. D. Dana   8 December 1856



Agassiz has informed him that the mice and rats of Mammoth Cave are American in type.

Alludes to CD’s doubt of the principle that "progress of life on the globe is parallel with the development in different tribes". Outlines his own ideas on the "unfolding of the type-idea" and its "parallelism with the law of development in the embryo".

Author:  James Dwight Dana
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Dec 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.9: 378
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2016

To T. H. Huxley   9 December [1856]


Grateful for Siebold’s wonderful facts [C. T. E. von Siebold, On a true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (1856), trans. by W. S. Dallas (1857)].

Vitality of spermatozoa.

Hybridisation of bees. Bees are in one respect his greatest theoretical difficulty.

CD still convinced about the relation of cement receptacles and ovarian tubes [in Crustacea].

Birth of C. W. Darwin.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  9 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 42, 374)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2017

To J. D. Hooker   10 December [1856]



CD is convinced of relation between separation of sexes and tree-habit.

Recent hard blows against crossing theory.

CD long tormented by land molluscs on oceanic islands; found transport possible experimentally.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  10 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 186
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2018

To W. E. Darwin   10 [December 1856]


Writes of arrangements for the end of the school-term.

Condition of Emma and the new baby [C. W. Darwin].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  10 [Dec 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 12
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2019

To T. H. Huxley   13 [December 1856]


Pleased by what THH says on cement glands and organs in higher Crustacea. Content to be moderately right.

Hopes THH will dissect the Conchoderma.

Asks for cases of organs in which there is no apparent transition from other organs or in which transition can be shown in an unexpected way and for instances of odd and inexplicable connections between parts, such that if one part varies the other varies also.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  13 [Dec 1856]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 44, 375)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2020

To J. M. Herbert   18 November [1856]


Defers a visit with Lieutenant Blakiston; "my wife is out of health & expects her confinement in a few weeks, & I cannot possibly receive any one here or leave home . . ."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Maurice Herbert
Date:  18 Nov [1856]
Classmark:  Sotheby’s New York (June 1991); Remember When Antiquities (catalogue 26, 1992); Gerard A. J. Stodolski Inc. (1995)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2020A

To James Dwight Dana   21 December [1856]


Thanks for sending paper on geological development (Dana 1856). Discusses infertility of species. Discusses first part of Asa Gray’s paper (A. Gray 1856–7). Thanks for note on the Cave Rat. Discusses a new species of fossil cirripede, in the genus Chthamalus. Explains his interest in pigeon breeding.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  James Dwight Dana
Date:  21 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  Catherine Barnes (dealer) (2003)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2020F

To Thomas Davidson   23 December [1856]


Asks TWStCD about variation among brachiopods.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Davidson
Date:  23 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.142)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2021

To W. H. Harvey   24 December [1856]


W. J. Hooker thinks Harvey will be willing to give information on reproduction of higher marine plants.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Henry Harvey
Date:  24 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  Swann Auction Galleries (dealers) (21 April 2011)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2021F

To J. D. Hooker   24 December [1856]



On the variety of species definitions prevalent among naturalists.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  24 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 187
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2022

From H. C. Watson   [28 December 1856]


Notes on the comparative rarity of intermediate forms between species, and the varying relationships those forms may have to one or both species between which they are intermediate.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [28 Dec 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 98: A15–18
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2023

From Thomas Davidson   29 December 1856


His experience confirms CD’s view that some species and even some genera of Brachiopoda are consistently more variable than others, and that such variable forms are variable in all localities and at all periods. Similarly a species that shows a lack of variability does so at all points in time and space. Discusses the causes of variability. [See Natural selection, p. 106.]

Author:  Thomas Davidson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  29 Dec 1856
Classmark:  DAR 162: 116
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2024

To John Lubbock    [March? 1856]


JL is studying Cynipidae. CD sends galls for his examination.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Date:  [Mar? 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 263: 10 (EH 88206459)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2028
Document type
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