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To Albany Hancock   25 May [1856]

Summary

Wants accurate information on "the economy of nature". Is interested in how far the struggle with other species checks the northern range of any species.

Thanks John Storey for information.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Albany Hancock
Date:  25 May [1856]
Classmark:  J. Hancock 1886, pp. 277–8
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1332

To C. J. F. Bunbury   [before 9 May 1856]

Summary

Adds comments to a list of Cape of Good Hope plants which are also European and gives some additions to the list [see Natural selection, p. 552].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Date:  [before 9 May 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 73: 159
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1617

To Miss Holland   [May 1856]

Summary

An entomologist who has been staying with CD [T. V. Wollaston] says the pupa she sent would turn into a lackey moth.

Adds that the great destruction of birds in the winter preceding the last is probable cause of survival of caterpillars and resulting numerous cocoons.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Miss Holland
Date:  [May 1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1861

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

To Asa Gray   2 May [1856]

Summary

Suggests affinities of the U. S. flora that he considers would be worth investigating. Wants to know the ranges of species in large and small genera.

Questions AG on naturalised plants; whether any are social in U. S. which are not so elsewhere and how variable they are compared with indigenous species. Would like to know of any differences in the variability of species at different points of their ranges and also the physical states of plants at the extremes of their ranges.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  2 May [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (4)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1863

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

To Charles Lyell   3 May [1856]

Summary

Discusses possibility of publishing a sketch of his views.

Comments on CL’s letter [1862].

Mentions various geological topics.

Asks to borrow publication by Heer.

Mentions flight of Colymbetes over ocean.

Recalls visit by Wollaston.

Notes views of Hooker and Huxley on species.

Mentions ability of ducks to transport plant seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  3 May [1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.127)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1866

To Laurence Edmondston   3 May [1856]

Summary

Thanks for reply to queries.

Requests that a wild rock-pigeon be sent. Have they been domesticated as William Macgillivray says [History of British birds (1837) 1: 275–84; see also Variation 1: 185n.]?

Is rabbit wild in Shetlands?

LE’s information on drifted trees adds an archipelago to his list.

Requests information on variation in domesticated Shetland animals;

bones of large quadrupeds in peat.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Laurence Edmondston
Date:  3 May [1856]
Classmark:  L. D. Edmondston (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1867

To T. H. Huxley   4 May [1856]

Summary

It seems improper that his advances to G. B. Sowerby Jr for payment of engravings should not have been mentioned to Council of Ray Society. His appreciation of the Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  4 May [1856]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 35)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1868

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

To J. D. Hooker   9 May [1856]

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Summary

Lyell urges CD to publish a sketch of species theory; CD asks JDH’s opinion on best course.

Concerned about opposition, particularly by Owen, to Huxley’s admission to Athenaeum.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  9 May [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 161
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1870

To E. W. V. Harcourt   9 May [1856]

Summary

Has seen EWVH’s list of the birds of Madeira, and would like to know more about the ‘occasional visitants’.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Edward William Vernon Harcourt
Date:  9 May [1856]
Classmark:  Bodleian Libraries, Oxford (MS. Harcourt dep. adds. 346, fols. 248–9)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1870F

To C. J. F. Bunbury   9 May [1856]

Summary

On geographical dispersal of plants. Would be interested in CJFB’s views on representative species and on his hypothesis of a mundane cold period, which CD cannot prove geologically, but thinks, if it explains many facts of geographical distribution, may be admitted as probable. Hooker and Alphonse de Candolle do not agree with him.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Date:  9 May [1856]
Classmark:  Suffolk Record Office, Bury St Edmunds (Bunbury Family Papers E18/700/1/9/6)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1871

To Henry Ambrose Oldfield   10 May [1856]

Summary

Asks HAO about breeds of Tibetan dogs and other domesticated animals.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Ambrose Oldfield
Date:  10 May [1856]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.128)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1872

To W. B. Tegetmeier   11 May [1856]

Summary

Thanks WBT for help with pigeons and poultry.

Will probably be away at the time of Anerley show.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  11 May [1856]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1873

To J. D. Hooker   11 May [1856]

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Summary

CD is unsure about JDH’s recommendation that he publish a separate "Preliminary Essay". It is unphilosophical to publish without full details.

CD will work for Huxley’s admission to Athenaeum.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11 May [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 162
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1874

To S. P. Woodward   15 May [1856]

Summary

Thanks for Supplement to SPW’s Manual of the Mollusca [1851–6]. Praises SPW’s work. "What an amount of labour is condensed in your little volume! … I fully believe & hope that you will reap the only reward worth having, the consciousness that you have done good service to the cause of Science."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Samuel Pickworth Woodward
Date:  15 May [1856]
Classmark:  Sotheby’s (dealers) (21 March 1966)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1875

To J. D. Hooker   21 [May 1856]

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Summary

Huxley’s "vehement" [Royal Institution?] Lectures make it difficult to propose him for Athenaeum.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  21 [May 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 163
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1876

To J. W. Lubbock   27 May [1856]

Summary

Asks JWL to use his influence to forward the appointment of T. H. Huxley to the Examinership in Physiology and Comparative Anatomy at University of London. Gives details of THH’s qualifications.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John William Lubbock, 3d baronet
Date:  27 May [1856]
Classmark:  The Royal Society (LUB: D23)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1877
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