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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   19 November [1856]1

Down Bromley Kent

Nov. 19th

My dear Sir

I shd. very much like to hear your paper on Decr 9th,2 but at present owing to the state of Mrs Darwin’s health it is impossible for me to leave home. This has prevented my attendance at the Philo-perist. last time & it will next time.

What a very odd & curious fact about the colours & absence of down—it is quite new to me: I fear that I have no birds of these colours matched to observe it in. It really strikes me as very curious, & I shall be curious to ask Mr H. Weir how often he has observed it, & in what breeds; but this I can do at some future Philo-peristeron.—3

Your confirmation seems a strong one. Unfortunately I killed but the other day two yellow Tumblers.— Many thanks for your kind offer of Brunswicker, but I do not think the Breed distinct enough to be worth crossing.—

No news yet of the Persian Pigeon;4 but I have just heard of large collection of skins for me from further S. on W. coast of Africa.5

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I hope that you are getting on well with your Poultry Book; I have seen only the 1st. nor., as my Bookseller has neglected to send them; but I must touch him up.—6


Dated by the reference to Emma Darwin’s expected confinement and to the letter from W. F. Daniell, 14 November 1856.
The paper has not been identified, although it was almost certainly the same as Tegetmeier 1856, an account of the abnormal development of the skull of Polish fowls, which was delivered at the Zoological Society on 25 November 1856. It was probably read at a meeting of the Philoperisteron Society of pigeon fanciers. Tegetmeier later published an abstract of Tegetmeier 1856 in Poultry Chronicle (see Cottage Gardener 17 (1856–7): 284).
Harrison Weir was a pigeon fancier and painter of animals. He did the illustrations for Tegetmeier’s edition of the Poultry book (see n. 6, below). CD asked Tegetmeier for this information again in letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, [18 June 1857].
These pigeons were also mentioned in letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 3 November [1856]. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 29 November [1856], in which CD reported their arrival.
Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7.


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.


Emma’s illness prevents his attending Philoperisteron [pigeon fanciers’ club].

Expects larger collection of skins from West Africa.

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. 1992,” accessed on 28 May 2024,

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