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To W. E. Darwin   [before 11 September 1857]


Writes of the extension to Down House.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [before 11 Sept 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 17
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1619

From Hensleigh Wedgwood   [before 29 September 1857]



Suggests CD use the common origin of the French "chef" and the English "head" or "évêque" and "bishop" to illustrate the parallels between extinction and transitional forms in language and palaeontology [see Natural selection, p. 384].

Author:  Hensleigh Wedgwood
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 29 Sept 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 48: A80–1
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2070

To Asa Gray   5 September [1857]


Encloses an abstract of his ideas on natural selection and the principle of divergence; the "means by which nature makes her species".

Discusses varieties and close species in large and small genera, finding some data from AG in conflict with his expectations.

Has been observing the action of bees in fertilising kidney beans and Lobelia.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  5 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (48)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2136

To J. D. Hooker   6 September [1857]



Some negative results in variety tabulation survey.

Galls on wild carrot.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  6 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 209
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2137

To Secretary, Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum   8 September [1857]


CD acknowledges honour of his election to the Academy.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Academia Caesarea Leopoldino-Carolina Naturae Curiosorum
Date:  8 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859: Darwin, Charles, Bl. 200–202 )
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2138

To J. D. Hooker   11 September [1857]



Representative species may complicate tabulation of varieties.

Questions for Mr Anderson about horse colouring in Norway.

Has been writing an "audacious little discussion" to show that "organic beings are not perfect, only perfect enough to struggle with their competitors".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 211; DAR 115: 73a
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2140

To T. H. Huxley   15 September [1857]


Thanks for three last lectures and the account of cirripedes.

Difficulty of classifying the higher groups.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  15 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 137)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2141

From Robert Schlagintweit   25 September 1857


Gives CD further details of the fertility of the offspring from cross of a yak and Indian cow, the so-called chooboos, whose fertility he has traced to the seventh generation [see Natural selection, pp. 437–8].

Author:  Robert Schlagintweit
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  25 Sept 1857
Classmark:  DAR 177: 52 (fragile)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2142

To William Walmisley Baxter   23 September [1857–9?]


The returned gloves are similar to some he has already, and he would prefer a pair with stiffer bristles.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Walmisley Baxter
Date:  23 Sept [1857-9]
Classmark:  Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 4 February 2009
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2142F

To T. H. Huxley   26 September [1857]


Agassiz’s superficiality and wretched reasoning powers. But he stirred up Europe on glaciers. Lyell has been working on their effects – testing work of others.

CD believes "Natural Systems" ought to be simply genealogical. "Time will come when we shall have true genealogical trees of each great kingdom of nature."

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  26 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 54)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2143

From A. R. Wallace   [27 September 1857]



Refers to CD’s letter of "May last". ARW’s views on order of succession of species are in accordance with CD’s.

Disappointed that his paper ["On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species", Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. 2d ser. 16 (1855): 184–96] elicited no discussion; now ARW is trying to prove it. Paper merely states the theory.

On black jaguars breeding inter se: ARW has never heard of a parti-coloured one.

Author:  Alfred Russel Wallace
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [27 Sept 1857]
Classmark:  DAR 47: 145
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2145

To W. B. Tegetmeier   29 September [1857]


Will collect no more pigeons. Is awaiting Burmese fowls’ skins coming via Berlin.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  29 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2146

To J. D. Hooker   30 September [1857]



C. F. Ledebour [Flora rossica (1842–53)] particularly useful for variety tabulation. Results generally favourable.

Additions to Down House.

Last two chapters of MS took six months to write.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  30 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 210
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2148

To J. S. Henslow   25 September [1857]


Thanks JSH for his magnificent present. Hopes Hooker will bring the specimens.

Have water-fowl ever been seen at Ipswich on Mr Ransome’s great tank?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  25 Sept [1857]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A58–9
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-2329