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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. B. Tegetmeier   [before 15 February 1868]1

New address | Fortis Green | Finchley | N

My dear Sir

I was very glad to see your own hand writing again and to hear you are better—2

With regard to the number of sexes I send by this post a Coursing Calendar3   at page 50. etc you will find the produce of bitches for one year (about 160 in number). this will give you about 1000 births— —

Unfortunately the table was not made up for other years—but I could make up a similar table from the pages of the Field and Bells life if the numbers for one year are not sufficient for you4

Race horses are given in the racing Calendar.— In the beginning of the next week I shall be less busy & will make you an abstract of the yearly accounts of the thorough bred horses for some twenty years.5

I will also look over the herd books for cattle.—as I have no doubt that similar tables can be compiled from them

With regard to fish I think you have applied to the wrong quarters

The gentleman you have named will be very willing to oblige you but I do not think he has had any means of arriving at any precise data on the subject—6 It is a difficult question but Robert Buist Esq The superintendent of Fisheries—Perth, would I think be able to give you some accurate information as he has hatched thousands of salmon and kept them for many months afterwards— I will insert a letter in the Field asking for information that I cannot readily obtain from other quarters—7

Please return the coursing calendar to me at Field office when done with. any time will do— I received the volumes from Mr Murray8   I need not tell you how greatly I am obliged to you for them and still more for the kind manner in which you acknowledged the very small amount of assistance that I have been able to afford you9

Do not trouble to reply to this as I shall be writing again with the race horse returns— As there are about 1500 or 1600 race horse births a year I suppose 20 years returns will be amply sufficient

Truly Yours | W B Tegetmeier

C Darwin Esq

CD annotations

7.3 Robert … Perth,] scored red crayon
Top of letter: ‘Nathusius’10 pencil, circled pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 15 February [1868].
The Coursing Calender was published at intervals during the year by the National Coursing Club.
In Descent 1: 304, CD cited information on the proportion of the sexes in greyhounds that had been tabulated by Tegetmeier from reports of births in the Field from 1857 to 1868. Tegetmeier refers to the weekly periodical Bell’s Life in London, and Sporting Chronicle.
CD cited information taken by Tegetmeier from the Racing Calendar between 1846 and 1867 in Descent 1: 303.
CD had written to Francis Trevelyan Buckland regarding the proportion of the sexes in fish. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 11 February [1868], and letter to F. T. Buckland, 12 February [1868].
The letter appeared in the Field for 22 February 1868, p. 144.
Tegetmeier refers to Variation and to CD’s publisher, John Murray. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 11 February [1868] and n. 4.
Tegetmeier had supplied CD with specimens and information on pigeons and poultry, and had read drafts of CD’s chapters in Variation on those topics; he had also overseen the production of illustrations of pigeon and poultry (see Correspondence vols. 13 and 14). For CD’s acknowledgments of Tegetmeier, see Variation 1: 132 n. 2, and 1: 135 n. 6.
Hermann Engelhard von Nathusius.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Descent: The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1871.

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


Agrees to help determine the sex ratios in domestic animals.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 79
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5878,” accessed on 17 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16