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From George Bentham   2 December [1856]


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 W. D. Fox   19 December [1856]



Informs CD that in his experience with peas he has never found the seed to deteriorate.

Author:  William Darwin Fox
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  19 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 77: 170
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-11799

From J. D. Hooker   [early December 1856]



Podostemaceae flowering under water.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [early Dec 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 100: 149
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1966

To J. D. Hooker   [early December 1856]



Sends JDH part of MS for chapter 3 of Natural selection ["Possibility of all organic beings crossing"] to be corrected and returned.

JDH’s report of Podostemon flowering cleistogamously under water in Bengal.

[Copious revision by JDH.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  [early Dec 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 205.5: 213
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1974

To J. S. Henslow   [after 6 December 1856]


He is steadily and very hard at work on "Variation" [Natural selection] and finds the whole subject "deeply interesting but horribly perplexed".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  [after 6 Dec 1856]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A115
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2006

To J. D. Hooker   1 December [1856]



Questions JDH on separation of sexes in trees in New Zealand flora.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  1 Dec [1856]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 185
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2008

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 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
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