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Darwin Correspondence Project

From A. S. G. Canning   16 February 1874

31. Portman Square

Febry 16th | 1874.


Understanding from Mr Murray that another edition of your ‘Varieties of Animals & Plants under domestication’ is likely, I take the liberty of saying that I have had some experience respecting the Black-winged Peafowl described at some length in your book—1

If there is any question referring to this singular bird, which you would like to ask, it would give me great pleasure to place all information I possess on the subject at your service—

Trusting you will excuse the liberty of addressing you | I am, Sir, | yr obedient Servant | ASG Canning

Charles Darwin, Esqre | &c. &c. &c.


In Variation 1: 290–2, CD had argued that the black-shouldered or japanned peafowl, classified by Philip Lutley Sclater as a distinct species, Pavo nigripennis, was a variation induced by change of climate or reversion. It is now considered a colour variation of P. cristatus, the common Indian peafowl. John Murray published a second edition of Variation in 1875. CD’s reply to this letter has not been found, but see the letter from A. S. G. Canning, 23 February 1874.


Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Offers information on pea-fowl for new edition of Variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Albert Stratford George Canning
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Portman Square, 31
Source of text
DAR 161: 40
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9296,” accessed on 23 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22