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Letter 2799

Darwin, C. R. to Galton, Francis

13 May [1860]

Summary

Does FG know Mansfield Parkyns well enough to submit query to him? [Probably about domestication of Columba guinea in Abyssinia. See Variation 1: 183.]

Transcription

Down Bromley Kent

May 13th

Dear Galton

I have in simple truth been quite unreasonable in begging favours of you; but yet I am going to beg one more.—   I remember that you said that you knew Mr M. Parkyns.f2 If you know him well enough to supplicate an answer to the enclosed query, will you do so for me?f3 If you do not, tear up the question; I would not trouble you if I were not really anxious for information on the point—

Humbly begging forgiveness, I am | Dear Galton | Yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

University College London Library (Galton 39) . Check original for endorsement.

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Footnotes

f1
The year is suggested by CD’s work on his pigeon manuscript during 1860 (see n. 3, below).
f2
Mansfield Parkyns had travelled in Abyssinia from 1843 to 1846; he had been an attach´e in the British embassy in Constantinople between 1850 and 1852. CD had read Parkyns’s description of his travels (Parkyns 1853) in 1855 (see Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 14). Parkyns and Galton were both active members of the Royal Geographical Society of London.
f3
The enclosure has not been found, but a passage in Variation 1: 183 indicates that CD received information from Parkyns about doves in Abyssinia. Parkyns informed CD that Columba guinea was not domesticated in Abyssinia, contrary to some reports. CD worked on his chapters on pigeons (Variation 1: 131–224) from March to June 1860 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
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