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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   3 November [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Novr 3d

My dear Sir

Many thanks for your kind note: I ought to have mentioned, that the two other African cocks, have a treble comb; the two external parallel crests being small: otherwise the 3 birds are hardly distinguishable.

I have Mr Eaton’s curious Book.—2

The Malay Eggs would be much better in Spring; but if ever you have opportunity I shd. be very glad to buy an old Malay Cock for skeleton.—

Since writing to you I have received from the Honble. Walter Elliot of Madras, skins of following poultry, diag 2. Game Cock & Hen (of great size)

2. Black-boned, hairy Cock & Hen 2. Caffir Cock & Hen with curled feathers.

1 Cock of doubtful origin ticketed Rangoon

2 Common or Pariah Cock & Hen, such as are commonly kept by the country


Now if you would like to examine & describe these 9 skins, I shall be delighted to send them you, ie if you yourself wish it.— They would require to be sent in large Box, but not very heavy & I could send them on Thursday week. to Carstangs or elsewhere, carriage free.— But I shd. require them back in a few weeks, & you could then return me the head of the wild Jungle Fowl.—

I expect soon to receive some Persian Fowls, which are at your service, if you like, but please to understand that I do not wish to give you trouble & I make these offers only on the chance that you yourself would like them; for if you did, it would give me very sincere pleasure to repay you in small part, your kindnesses towards me.—3

Many thanks for your enquiries about Finnikins.4 I have written to Geologist in Maestricht about these same birds, who declares he will take any trouble for me.—5

I have received to day catalogue from Mr Bult of Steven’s next sale,6 but there seems nothing that concerns me.—

Please in any notice about African Fowls, do not forget to introduce about their being brought over by the kindness of Dr Daniell. Also if you wish to see & notice the Madras Fowls say that they were sent to me by great kindness of the Honble. Walter Elliot.—

Would it be of any use, & shd. you object to put in enquiry in Cottage Gardener, whether any one has crossed Call, or Hook-billed, or Penguin Ducks with common Ducks, & whether Hybrids were fertile with other Ducks or inter se If there wd. be any chance of getting information, would you enquire for me?7

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


Dated by the relationship to the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 19 October [1856].
Eaton 1852. CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 21 September [1856]. In the 11 November issue of the Cottage Gardener 17 (1856–7): 103, Tegetmeier reported on the 14 October meeting of the Philoperisteron Society and asked if any readers could inform him about the present existence of the old finnikin or turner pigeon.
Samuel Bult was a leading pigeon fancier and, according to CD, ‘the most successful breeder of Pouters in the world’ (Variation 1: 208). John Crace Stevens’s monthly poultry sale was to take place on Tuesday, 4 November 1856 (Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, 25 October 1856, p. 719). Catalogues for the sale were available from his offices at 38 King Street, Covent Garden.
No notice relating to CD’s query has been found in Cottage Gardener.


Eaton, John Matthews. 1852. A treatise on the art of breeding and managing tame, domesticated, and fancy pigeons, carefully compiled from the best authors, with observations, containing all that is necessary to be known of tame, domisticated, and fancy pigeons. London: the author.

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


Has received nine skins from Walter Elliot of Madras; WBT may describe them if he wishes.

Expects some Persian fowls.

Can WBT inquire about the fertility of certain duck hybrids?

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 8pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1981,” accessed on 1 June 2023,

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