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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   30 August [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Augst 30th.—

My dear Sir

I received the Victoria Runt all safe & fresh, & very much obliged I am for it.—2 I did not write to thank you for it, as I knew I shd. have to write soon about the Scanderoons. They left the nest a few days ago, & I will send them off on Wednesday night the 10th, so that they will arrive about 10 oclock on Thursday 11th.—

Many thanks for your offer of dead Turbits & Trumpeters, but I have both.— If you want any other kinds, (alive) please tell me that I may see whether I can supply you.— But I may be prevented as I am crossing all my kinds to see whether crosses are fertile & for the fun of seeing what sort of creatures appear.— I much doubt, indeed disbelieve, that there can be any general law about colours &c for different species, even if there be for varieties of same species. A Mr Orton has lately published some lectures with old theory of externals following males & internals female.—3

I fear (but do not know) that both Laughers are males: The one has shed very many of its dark feathers & is much whiter now.— That is a curious remark of yours about pencilling appearing in cross-bred fowls.— How gets on your paper on Fowl’s skulls?4 I ask because this morning I had a letter from Mr Eyton of Eyton, who has grand collection of skeletons of Birds (& who has published on pig’s skeletons) & he says he has been making skeletons of Hamburgh & Dorking & “will send me some notes”. I mention this that you may not be forestalled. I did not know that he was at work on Poultry; though I knew he was on dogs. I wrote to Mr Adkins5 & had a very obliging answer but no accurate information.—

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Darwin

Do you ever see Mr Gulliver;6 if so I wish you wd. say how glad to shd be to have one of his gigantic Runts dead.—


Dated by CD’s reference to having received a letter from Thomas Campbell Eyton, presumably the same one as referred to in the letter to Eyton, 31 August [1856], and by the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 23 August [1856].
Reginald Orton’s Physiology of breeding (Orton 1855) is cited in Variation 1: 404 n. 138. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Possibly the breeder who had exhibited blue pigeons with bars on their wings, about whom CD had inquired in his letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 August [1856].


Orton, Reginald. 1855. On the physiology of breeding. Two lectures, delivered to the Newcastle Farmers’ Club. 2d edition. Sunderland.

Tegetmeier, William Bernhard. 1856. On the remarkable peculiarities existing in the skulls of the feather-crested variety of the domestic fowl, now known as the Polish. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 24: 366–8.

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


Will forward the Scandaroons.

Is crossing all his pigeons to see which are fertile.

Hopes WBT’s work on fowls’ skulls is not forestalled by T. C. Eyton who also has a grand collection of skeletons.

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. 1947,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

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