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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   17 April [1860]1

Down Bromley Kent

Ap. 17th

My dear Sir

As you have so often aided me, will you do so again? The enclosed queries require only “yes” or “no” to be written on the paper & returned to me.—(& the answers will be nearly all “no”2    I daresay you will meet Fanciers at some club, & could obtain me answers. Only please do not trust anyone who speaks at random, & only those who have kept the breeds.— Consult your own leisure.—

There is one other point on which I shd. be particularly grateful for information; it relates to perpetual interbreeding. When the Queen-Bee takes her flight in order to be fertilised, are there always Drone-bees ready in the same Hive? Mr Knight thought that the Queen was generally impregnated by the Drones of another Hive; but he gives no satisfactory evidence.—3

When a bee-keeper has long kept the same stock of Bees have you ever heard it advised to get a new Hive from some other district, in order to cross the stock?

Some time ago you said you would let me examine your Fowl Skulls. In the course of two or three months I shd be very glad to see them.4 I shall publish nothing on subject for 18 months, or more likely 30 months, as I work so slowly & so shd. not interfere with anything further than that already published you might wish to publish, & I heartily wish you would publish on the subject.—5

Do not hurry yourself to answer this, for I know that you are a busy man.—

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | C. Darwin


The year is suggested by CD’s reference to preparing his volumes on variation (see n. 4, below).
The queries have not been found.
Knight 1828, p. 319. See letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 20 July [1860] and 30 July [1860], and to Cottage Gardener, [after 8 May 1860].
CD was writing the chapters on pigeons for Variation. He finished the manuscript on 10 June. The next chapter discussed variation in fowls. See ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).
Variation was not published until 1868. It appears that Tegetmeier did not publish any notice of the osteology of fowls before this time. In Variation 1: 260, CD stated that of the fifty-three fowl skulls he examined, ‘nearly half of these skulls I owe to the kindness of Mr. Tegetmeier’.


Knight, Thomas Andrew. 1828. On some circumstances relating to the economy of bees. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London pt 2: 319–23. [vols. 5,8]

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


Sends queries for "Fanciers"

and asks about the mating of the queen bee.

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

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2762,” accessed on 17 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8