skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project


To W. B. Tegetmeier   [13 September 1855]1

British Association | Glasgow


My dear Sir

Your most kind note has been forwarded to me here, but not your pamphlet.2 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.—3 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.4 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.—5

On my return home I shall be very glad to send you my Journal.6

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


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).
Tegetmeier 1854. CD’s copy in the Darwin Library–CUL is inscribed by the author.
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).
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.’
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).
See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 31 August [1855].


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

Letter details

Letter no.
Darwin, C. R.
Tegetmeier, W. B.
Sent from
BAAS, Glasgow
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Tegetmeier, W. B. ser.2: 26)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1754,” accessed on 24 October 2016,