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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   25 April [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 25th.—

My dear Sir

You could not possibly have done me a greater kindness than in bespeaking for me the a pair of Indian laughing Pigeons.—2 And as you mention that they were brought by a Mr. Wooler,3 I presume that you authentically know that they did really come from India.— I shall be, also, very much obliged if you will bear me in mind in regard to Carriers (or any Cocks.) at Stevens.—4

Upon my life you let me trespass too much on your kindness, all Fanciers, I find sell their choice eggs, & why not sell me a sitting of your Polish;5 but if you will not, I should be very glad of 2 or 3 eggs, that I might have opportunity of seeing them alive; but I foresee that you will work out the Poultry so well, that I shall be gladly saved the trouble. Nevertheless, I intend to keep a few of each sort of Fowls, that I may better appreciate their differences.—

The very next time I write to my Bookseller I shall order your Poultry Book,6 & much I am sure I shall find in it, very interesting to me. I am not very well today so no more.—

Your’s very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S | About sending the eggs, the best way would be to send them by Deliverance Coy. (or if not safe, by hand, & I can repay you) addressed exactly as follows. diag C. Darwin Esq.

care of G. Snow

Nag’s Head

Borough.ramme Mr Snow is our Carrier & leaves the Nag’s Head every Thursday morning. This wd. be safer than per Coach to Bromley.—


Dated by the reference to Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7 (see n. 6, below).
Indian laughing pigeons are not mentioned in Variation. CD stated that he kept two varieties of laughers, both of which came from Arabia (Variation 1: 155).
Possibly W. A. Wooler, who provided information for CD on Himalayan rabbits (see Variation 1: 109).
See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 28 [September 1856], in which CD stated that carriers were the only variety of pigeons he had not yet examined.
The first number of Tegetmeier’s Poultry book was published in May 1856. This and the following ten parts of Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7 (after which publication was terminated) are in the Darwin Library–CUL. CD did not actually acquire parts of the work until 1857 (see letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 18 May [1857]).


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


Foresees WBT will work out poultry so well that CD will "be gladly saved the trouble". Would like some eggs from WBT’s Polish fowl and thanks him for acquiring the Indian laughing pigeons.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1860,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6