Thanks AAG for procuring an authoritative answer from T. M. Brewer on the habits of the [American] cuckoo. Surprised William Yarrell erred so much.
Wishes AAG had time to give an account of Japanese shells, which would be interesting from the geographical point of view.
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Sir
I write one line to return you my very sincere thanks for the kind manner in which you
have so effectually & completely procured me an answer from the highest
authority on the habit of your Cuckoo. If you have any
communication with D
I, also, regretted very sincerely that I had not the pleasure of seeing you when in England; but I was at that time quite incapable of any exertion, & this is indeed almost my chronic state.
I cannot help much regretting to hear that your time is so much taken up that you have
but little leisure for natural History. An account of the Japan shells, would, I
With my sincere thanks for your constant kindness to me, pray believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin
- f1 2448.f1This letter and the letter from Thomas Mayo Brewer to Augustus Addison Gould, to which it refers, are dated on the assumption that CD asked for the information about cuckoos while he was composing chapter 10, on the ‘Mental powers and the instincts of animals’, which he completed on9 March 1858 (‘Journal’; Appendix II). Brewer's letter was marked ‘Ch. 10’ by CD (see letter from T. M. Brewer to A. A. Gould, [March 1858]) and put with his other notes on instincts. CD incorporated Brewer's information into Origin, p. 217, when he came to write up this material in November 1858 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
- f2 2448.f2The letter from T. M. Brewer to A. A. Gould, [March 1858], which Gould sent to CD.
- f3 2448.f3In Natural Selection, pp. 506–7, CD stated that Cuculus americanus ‘sometimes … lays its eggs in other birds nests’, citing Yarrell 1839–43, 2: 190, as his source. In Origin, p. 217, CD reported: ‘I hear on the high authority of Dr. Brewer, that this is a mistake.’ See letter from T. M. Brewer to A. A. Gould, [March 1858].
- f4 2448.f4Gould described the Mollusca and shells collected during the United States Exploring Expedition and was the author of many other conchological papers.