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Letter 1754

Darwin, C. R. to Tegetmeier, W. B.

[13 Sept 1855]

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    Would welcome any distinct breed of poultry and would be glad to have any good pigeons.


British Association | Glasgow


My dear Sir

Your most kind note has been forwarded to me here, but not your pamphlet. which no doubt is at my house.— I made my list as short as possible not to be too unreasonable. But assuredly I shd be very glad indeed to have any & all breeds, which you in your experience think distinct. It is a large coloured Dorking which has been promised me, & which I think from the quarter whence it comes may be trusted to be true of its kind; the gentleman (Rev W. Darwin Fox) who has promised it me, told me at the time that the White Dorking was very distinct, but I fancied, no doubt erroneously, that he referred only to colour.— With respect to the Polands & Hamburghs & indeed in the whole subject, I shd be most grateful to trust to your selection.

I did not put down Rouen Ducks, from thinking that they differed only in plumage & from seeing some remark to that effect in Mr E. S. Dixon's Book on Poultry. But if in figure or proportions different, I shd be most glad to have it. So indeed with the other varieties you mention; which I omitted, as I before said, because I thought it would seem so ludicrously presumptuous to ask you or anyone to take so much trouble. I shd be extremely glad to have everything, which seems to you tolerably distinct. Especially glad shd I be for all good Pigeons; I feel the greatest interest about pigeons, since I have kept a few & watched their habits & ways.—

On my return home I shall be very glad to send you my Journal.

Really & truly your kindness, is so much more than I could have expected, that I cannot attempt to thank you, but you will, I hope, believe, that I feel very | sincerely obliged | Charles Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 1754.f1
    CD attended the British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Glasgow from 12 to 19 September 1855. He was a vice-president of section C (geology). He and Emma left Down on 10 September, and CD returned on 22 September, going via Shrewsbury to visit his sisters (‘Journal’; Correspondence vol. 5, Appendix I).
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    f2 1754.f2
    Tegetmeier 1854. CD's copy in the Darwin Library–CUL is inscribed by the author.
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    f3 1754.f3
    See letter to W. D. Fox, 22 August [1855]. In his pamphlet on the care and breeding of poultry, Tegetmeier stated that the white Dorking was ‘obviously a distinct variety from the coloured Dorking, the latter having evidently derived its size, aptitude to fatten, and other profitable characteristics from the large Surrey fowl’ (Tegetmeier 1854, p. 33).
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    f4 1754.f4
    Edmund Saul Dixon, in E. S. Dixon 1848, p. 126, had stated: ‘They appear to be identical with the commonest Ducks which we have everywhere.’
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    f5 1754.f5
    CD's pigeon house had been completed by the end of April (letter to W. E. Darwin, [25 April 1855]) and by September he had acquired at least eight different breeds: pouters, carriers (dragons), runts, barbs, fantails, tumblers, Jacobins, and swallows (see letters to W. D. Fox, 23 May [1855] and 27 [June 1855], and CD's Account book (Down House MS), entry of 30 August 1855).
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    f6 1754.f6
    See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 31 August [1855].
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