Requests observations on pigeons.
Knew LE's son [Thomas] and deplores his fate [accidental death in 1846].
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I have lately been drawing up descriptions of Pigeons, & you can have no idea how valuable I have found the Shetland Specimen. But there were some points which I omitted to examine, for instance the eye-lid, which I find in the Barb, twice as long as in some other breeds.— Again the exact shape of crop I neglected to observe.— You will guess that this is a preface to beg you once again, if you will be so very kind, as to send me per post, (allowing me to pay postage) a wild Rock: though it would be best in early winter as keeping better, & the bird would be more sure to be adult.— Will you be so kind as thus far to aid me?—
Have you succeeded in finding out about the attempts at domestication mentioned by
Is the Rabbit wild in the Shetlands? I have just lately been comparing my collection of
skeletons of domestic & wild Rabbits, & I have
been very much surprised to find how much some important points vary, as shape of
foramen ovale of the atlas vertebra &c &c.— A Shetland
specimen put in a jar with lots of salt w
I fear that you will think that you have fallen on a most troublesome petitioner.—
I was not aware till I received your letter some two months ago, that you were the Father of the Naturalist, whose fate, I assure you, I most sincerely deplored at the time.— I can well believe, for I am a father, how this loss must have damped all your zeal for Natural History.—
Pray believe me with sincere respect | Dear Sir | Yours truly obliged | Ch. Darwin
- f1 1954.f1Dated by the relationship to the letter to Laurence Edmondston, 3 May .
- f2 1954.f2See letter to Laurence Edmondston, 3 May , n. 5.
- f3 1954.f3See letter to Laurence Edmondston, 3 May  and n. 3.
- f4 1954.f4See letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 September .
- f5 1954.f5Measurements of a wild rabbit from the Shetland Islands are given in the table of comparisons with other breeds, including feral Porto Santo rabbits, in Variation 1: 127.
- f6 1954.f6The specimen was given to CD by Richard Thomas Lowe via Thomas Vernon Wollaston (see letter from T. V. Wollaston, [February 1856]).
- f7 1954.f7Thomas Edmondston was accidentally shot dead in 1846 during the voyage of HMS Herald. Before Edmondston sailed, CD prepared a memorandum for him listing a number of subjects he recommended for investigation during the voyage (see Correspondence vol. 3, letter to Edward Forbes, 13 May ).