From G. H. K. Thwaites 22 July 1868
22nd July 1868
My dear Darwin,
You have no need to apologise for what you call troubling me with questions— I am always delighted to hear from you & can assure you that your questions interest very much not only myself but sundry friends here who are desirous of assisting you in your interesting researches.1
I send you a letter I received shortly before starting for a long botanical tour last month, from my friend The revd. S. O. Glenie, F.L.S. Colonial Chaplain at Trincomalie. You will see that he and his excellent lady have been doing their best for you.2
The Fowl question is a most interesting one & I succeeded, when in Colombo, in getting the man best able to obtain materials for clearing up the point, to enter upon the matter heartily. Mr C. P. Layard, the Government agent of the S. W. Province, at once desired one of his officers to procure for him as many of the smoke-coloured blackboned fowls as he could—both cocks & hens—so that he might get up a stock by rearing them.3
The native officer, upon being told to get cocks as well as hen birds, remarked that he did not remember having seen any but hen-birds of that kind, but that he would try to obtain cocks.
These fowls are considered of medicinal value by the natives. I have often eaten them, and have quite got over the rather unpleasing appearance of the black periosteum.
I am all in confusion here at present, as the building of a Museum is going on close to my house, & my farm yard is tenanted by masons &c all day long.4 When I am settled again & in quiet I will certainly rear these black fowls for your information & my own consumption—
Yours always | most sinc— | G. H. K. Thwaites
natives of Ireland tell me it is a common expression of countenance among the lower classes of their countrywomen.—
Ever since we received your first copy of Darwin’s queries, about 6 months ago, Mrs. Glenie and I have given our attention to them.5 The population is sparse in our neighbourhood, and for the most part in constant contact with Europeans— I mention this before giving a reply to any of the questions, as well as the fact that they all endeavour to drill their countenances so as to express as little emotion as possible before Europeans.—
To Question 1. Mrs. Glenie & I can unhesitatingly answer Yes.
To Question 7. This expression we have observed, but not often.6
To Question 11. Yes, but in a more exaggerated manner.—
To Question 15. Yes, as regards guilty & sly expression.—
To Question 17— Yes.—
I may hereafter be able to answer two or three more but this is the extent of what I can rely upon for the present
When I received these questions from you I thought it would be an easy matter to answer them, but the more I observe the more difficult I find it is to observe, and to arrive at satisfactory conclusions.—
Before I enquire about the monkeys be so good as to tell me whether Macacas silenus is one of these animals described under another name by Tennent, and whether it is one of those figured in the print opposite to page 5 of Tennent’s Nat. Hist: of Ceylon.—7
Since the receipt of your letter I have made enquiries about the grass I sent you, which I suspected to be a Panicum although I would not say of what species, and I find that the seed from which it was grown came not from England as I was at first told, but from Hongkong. Being assured that it came from England I
GHKT is going to procure some local smoke-coloured fowls and investigate them for CD.
Encloses letter on expression queries from S. O. Glenie.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6285,” accessed on 13 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6285