From Edward Blyth 20 November 1868
7 Princess Terrace, | Regent’s Pk,
Dear Mr. Darwin,
I only returned on Sunday last from my tour in the Netherlands, where I have been working a good deal, and have seen most of what was most worthy of seeing in the following round of places—Antwerp, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leyden, The Hague (visiting also Schevenling), Delft, and Rotterdam, in all of which places I made more or less considerable stay.1 I was fully occupied for a week at the great museum at Leyden, which I found, however, to be remarkably deficient in many of our common Indian species, sundry of which Schlegel has regarded as identical with his island species, in the supposition that he must have possessed examples of them.2 I have set him right on a great many points, and am now commissioned to purchase for him anything which I know that he has not got. I have not time to write much just now, but may mention that I saw a healthy living vicugna in the Amsterdam Z.G., which has now been there for two years.3 In the Rotterdam Z.G. there is an aged monkey (Macacus cynomolgus), which has lived there for 8 years, and was an old animal when it arrived. The hairs upon its face are now mostly white, and the white is fast extending. This is a new fact to me, much as I have seen of monkeys. His moustaches are remarkably long & human-like, & he has a fair amount of whisker; altogether presenting the most ludicrous caricature imaginable of H.M. the King of Prussia, by which name & title he is popularly known!4
At Amsterdam I saw an Asinus indicus, Sclater, the Indian ‘Ghor-Khur’, with a humeral stripe as well developed as in any donkey! Also a quagga as much striped as E. Burchellii.5 I have noticed a very great amount of variation in all three of the striped species. Schlegel told me that he could distinguish 17 races of Tanysiptera in which only the adult males could be distinguished!6 When at Haarlem, Dr. Winkler7 of that place desired to be kindly remembered to you. No more at present—
Yours ever sincerely | E. Blyth
Dutch sparrows & partridges quite undistinguishable from ours, so far as I can see, notwithstanding Gould and Bartlett!8
Describes his tour of the Netherlands. Reports on some of the specimens he saw on his trip.
Discusses the coloration of hair in aged monkey
and sexual differences in bird species.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6469,” accessed on 12 February 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6469