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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. D. Fox   27 [June 1855]1

Down Farnborough Kent


My dear Fox

I have received safely the young Duckling, & he is now pickled.— How very different from the young Aylesbury! I am rather disgusted for I expected otherwise.—

What trouble you will have to take, & have taken about the young poultry, having to go to so many quarters.

I am going on with my salting experiments. Several seeds have now come up after 65 & 70 days immersion.— What you say about testing for the percentage is very true; I had intended it, but I found it so very troublesome actually to count all the seeds.— But I have sown all kinds without salting so as to test, as far as eyesight serves, how far they were good seeds.—

I have just ordered Almond Tumblers & Runts, so I shall have soon a grand collection of Pigeons.—

Should you ever be able to give me history of any mongrel crosses of any animals whatever, I shd. be very glad of them.2 I am awfully deficient in exact information on mongrels, though pretty rich in regard to Hybrids. I mean to cross Pigeons systematically, & see how the offspring go, how much they vary & which parent take after &c &c. &c &c

Ever most truly Your’s | C. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to letter to W. D. Fox, 11 June [1855].
CD means information about the results of crossing animals of mixed ancestry rather than hybrid crosses between pure-bred species. Fox is cited in Variation 2: 30–1, 40 as having supplied information about reversion in the offspring of crosses between different breeds of domestic animals.


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


Several seeds have come up after 65–70 days’ immersion in salt water.

Has now a fine collection of pigeons and intends to cross them systematically.

Needs information on mongrel crosses of animals of all kinds.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Darwin Fox
Sent from
Source of text
Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 94)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1704,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5