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To W. B. Tegetmeier   3 November [1856]


Has received nine skins from Walter Elliot of Madras; WBT may describe them if he wishes.

Expects some Persian fowls.

Can WBT inquire about the fertility of certain duck hybrids?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  3 Nov [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1981

From Asa Gray   4 November 1856


Outlines the ranges of northern U. S. species common to Europe. Hopes to investigate the resemblances between the floras of the north-eastern U. S. and western Europe. Discusses routes by which alpine plants appear to have reached U. S.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Nov 1856
Classmark:  DAR 165: 95
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1982

From J. D. Hooker   9 November 1856



JDH approves MS section on geographical distribution.

Never felt so shaky about species before.

His objections to some mechanisms of distribution that CD proposes.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  9 Nov 1856
Classmark:  DAR 100: 105–10
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1983

To Charles Lyell   10 November [1856]


Illnesses of Mrs Horner and Emma Darwin.

Death of Sarah Elizabeth Wedgwood.

Mentions work on his "Big Book" [Natural selection].

Remarks on J. A. H. de Bosquet’s discovery of a Chthamalus in the Chalk.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  10 Nov [1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.140)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1984

From H. C. Watson   10 November 1856



Greatly interested in CD’s experiments with seeds in salt water [see "Action of sea-water on seeds", Collected papers 1: 264–73]. Believes CD exaggerates the force of the objection, against migration, that seeds tend to sink.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 Nov 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 296
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1985

To J. D. Hooker   11–12 November [1856]



CD relieved by JDH’s positive response to his MS.

CD continues observations on means of transport.

JDH’s Raoul Island paper [J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 22 (1857): 133–41], showing continuity of vegetation with New Zealand, best evidence yet of continental extension.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11–12 Nov [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 181
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1986

From W. F. Daniell   14 November 1856



Believes he can give CD information on Mammalia of St Thomas [São Tomé, Gulf of Guinea]. Quotes from a Portuguese history of the islands on unique species of monkeys and civet cats found there.

Author:  William Freeman Daniell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  14 Nov 1856
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 270, 271
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1988

To J. D. Hooker   15 November [1856]



CD finds JDH’s objections to a mundane cold period significant, and he endeavours to show how they do not rule out mutability.

He is writing on crossing.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  15 Nov [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 182
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1989

To John Phillips   28 January [1856]


Thanks JP for beautiful book [? The rivers, mountains and sea-coast of Yorkshire, 2d ed. (1855)].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Phillips
Date:  28 Jan [1856]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum of Natural History Archive Collections (John Phillips collection))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1828

To William Yarrell   6 [February 1856]


"The Pigeons are all quite well".

Sends thanks to Mrs Cotton.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Yarrell
Date:  6 [Feb 1856]
Classmark:  Cleveland Health Sciences Library
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1829

To Samuel Birch   6 February [1856]


Is grateful for SB’s note and assistance. Will call upon him in London in a fortnight.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Samuel Birch
Date:  6 Feb [1856]
Classmark:  British Museum (Department of the Middle East, correspondence 1826–67: 1492)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1829A

From Charles James Fox Bunbury   7 February 1856


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


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


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

To Miles Joseph Berkeley   29 February [1856]


Preparing paper on seed-soaking for Linnean Society ["Action of sea-water on seeds", Collected papers 1: 264–73]. Wants to use MJB’s results. Lost ardour when he found seeds would not float.

Has grown MJB’s purest pea seeds and got a few variants. Gärtner’s experiments suggest direct action of pollen, but CD thinks it is "mere variation".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Miles Joseph Berkeley
Date:  29 Feb [1856]
Classmark:  Shropshire Archives (SA 6001/134/45)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1834

From John Morris   1 March 1856



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


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

To George Henry Kendrick Thwaites   8 March 1856


Hopes GHKT will publish on variations in plant species at different elevations. Asks about variations among plants on heights of Ceylon.

Promises to publish on the species question.

Asks for pigeons’ skins from India or Ceylon, and for ducks’ skeletons. Mentions help promised by E. F. Kelaart.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Henry Kendrick Thwaites
Date:  8 Mar 1856
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.125)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1837

From Thomas Hutton   8 March 1856


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

To Syms Covington   9 March 1856


Thanks SC for his interesting account of the state of the colony. SC was wise to settle there where his sons have much better prospects.

Has finished his book on barnacles [1854]. Royal Medal awarded him chiefly for this work.

Asks SC whether he has observed any odd imported breeds of poultry, for his work on variation of species.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Syms Covington
Date:  9 Mar 1856
Classmark:  Sydney Mail, 9 August 1884, p. 255
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1840
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