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From Victor de Robillard    26 February 1857



The species of Mollusca at Mauritius are almost all different from those of surrounding islands, which confirms the belief that the islands were elevated from the ocean rather than separated from the continent by volcanic action.

Author:  Victor de Robillard
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  26 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 205.3: 287
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2059

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [after 28 February 1857]


Reports that he fertilised a single pale red carnation with the pollen of a crimson Spanish pink, and a Spanish pink with the pollen of the same carnation. He got seed from both crosses and raised many seedlings. There was no difference between the seedlings from reciprocal crosses, not one plant set a single seed.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [after 28 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 7 March 1857, p. 155
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2061

To W. E. Darwin   [17 February 1857]


Is glad WED is in the sixth [form]. Discusses WED’s intention to become a barrister.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [17 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 14
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1805

To John Innes   [after 16 February 1857]


Recommends he read passages on bees by C. T. E. von Siebold [in On the true parthenogenesis in moths and bees (1857)].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Brodie Innes
Date:  [after 16 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.149)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2025

To Henry Doubleday   [before 5 February 1857]


Have all varieties been bred from the same set of eggs so that there can be no doubt they are all the same species?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Doubleday
Date:  [before 5 Feb 1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2032

To T. H. Huxley   3 February [1857]


Thanks THH for his response on glacial movement. Hopes Tyndall will experiment on broken ice and explain how two pieces of ice can freeze together.

Sorry to hear of THH’s row with Richard Owen.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  3 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 104)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2045

To John Tyndall   4 February [1857]


CD is "as ignorant of mechanics as a pig", but glaciers have interested him greatly. Hopes to hear that JT’s experiments with ice will explain the freezing together of ice below the freezing point.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Tyndall
Date:  4 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 261.8: 2 (EH 88205940)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2046

From Henry Doubleday   5 February 1857


The variations of Peronea caused A. H. Haworth and J. F. Stephens to create 30 or 40 species based on colour and markings. HD was first to be convinced these would be reduced to two.

Discusses species that closely resemble one another;

cites species that differ in variation in different localities;

in some double-brooded species the broods differ markedly in size and colour.

Encloses his list of varieties of Peronea.

Author:  Henry Doubleday
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 162: 236
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2047

To W. B. Tegetmeier   6 February [1857]


Would welcome eggs of any rumpless fowl so that he can investigate how early in development rudimentary organs are rudimentary.

Has not noticed much difference between skeletons of ducks.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  6 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2048

To Bernard Peirce Brent   7 February [1857]


Sympathises with Brent’s legal difficulties. Declines offer of a cock silk fowl, but accepts offer of a German old fashioned pouter pigeon.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Bernard Peirce Brent
Date:  7 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Richard Brent (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2048F

To W. D. Fox   8 February [1857]


Birth of his sixth son [C. W. Darwin]. It is dreadful "to think of all the sendings to school and the professions afterwards".

CD is not well but has not the courage for water-cure again; trying mineral acids.

Working hard on the book [Natural selection]; is overwhelmed with riches in facts and interested in way facts fall into groups.

To his surprise [Helix pomatia] has withstood 14 days in salt water.

Pigeons’ skins come in from all parts of the world.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  8 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 110)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2049

To Charles Lyell   11 February [1857]


Discusses a proposed expedition to Australia. Urges collecting and investigating productions of isolated islands. Recommends dredging the sea-bottom.

Mentions keeping Helix pomatia alive in sea-water.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  11 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.145)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2050

To W. B. Tegetmeier   11 February [1857]


CD is sending two pairs of Persian fowl, from Hon. C. Murray.

Thanks WBT for various offers: a drake, a young silk fowl, a rumpless chick.

The German pouters are not old-fashioned ones but fancy birds, probably crosses since they do not breed true.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  11 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2051

From Asa Gray   16 February 1857


Discusses the ranges of alpine species in U. S. and considers the possible migration routes of such species from Europe.

Lists those U. S. genera which he considers protean and describes the U. S. character of some genera which are protean in Europe.

Describes how he distinguishes introduced and aboriginal stocks of the same species.

Author:  Asa Gray
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  16 Feb 1857
Classmark:  DAR 165: 96
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2053

To W. B. Tegetmeier   18 February [1857]


Has some fowls from Sir James Brooke, which WBT might like to display at Zoological Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  18 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2054

To Syms Covington   22 February 1857


Sends news of his family, Sulivan, and FitzRoy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Syms Covington
Date:  22 Feb 1857
Classmark:  Sydney Mail, 9 August 1884, p. 255
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2056

To W. D. Fox   22 February [1857]


Helix pomatia is quite healthy after 20 days’ submersion in salt water.

On peas, the evidence is on WDF’s side, but CD cannot see how they can avoid being crossed.

He is working hard, wishes he "could set less value on the bauble fame"; would work as hard, but with less gusto, if he knew his book would be published forever anonymously.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  22 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 101–2)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2057

To Richard Kippist   23 February [1857]


Sends cheque for subscription [£20].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Richard Kippist; Linnean Society
Date:  23 Feb [1857]
Classmark:  Linnean Society of London
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2058