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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   14 May [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 14th

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for all the very interesting details in your letter.— I am particularly pleased to hear about the sexual colours in pigeons. Pray add to your kindness by hereafter telling me the sex of the single bird, & colours of any other pairs from 2 silvers.2

Thanks for photograph (which is a very good one of yourself)3

I do not quite understand whether the bird was uniformly coloured before exposure to strong lights.

You give Dr Bree a good thrashing; he is just what you call him “impertinent”: he in fact accused me, without a shadow of foundation, of lying, shortly after the publication of the Origin; he has not the soul of a gentleman in his body.4

I will send you with very great pleasure the last edit. of Origin, & have written to Murray; you can paste in enclosed, whenever you get the copy,5

With many thanks | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 13 May 1872.
In the Field, 11 May 1872, p. 430, Tegetmeier had responded to Charles Robert Bree’s criticisms of his observations on the stomach contents of some finches. Tegetmeier wrote that he undertook the observations ‘truthfully and conscientiously’, and that to call them ‘inaccurate, useless, and sensational’ was ‘unscientific and impertinent’. Bree had published a book in which he insinuated that CD had fabricated the remark by a ‘celebrated author and divine’ included in Origin 2d ed., p. 481 (Bree 1860, p. 244; the remark was, in fact, from Charles Kingsley). See Correspondence vol. 8, letter to J. S. Henslow, 26 October [1860]. Bree published An exposition of the fallacies in the hypothesis of Mr. Darwin in 1872 (Bree 1872).
CD refers to his publisher, John Murray; the dedication he sent has not been found.


Bree, Charles Robert. 1860. Species not transmutable, nor the result of secondary causes. Being a critical examination of Mr Darwin’s work entitled ‘Origin and variation of species’. London: Groombridge & Sons. Edinburgh: Maclachlan & Stewart.

Bree, Charles Robert. 1872. An exposition of fallacies in the hypothesis of Mr. Darwin. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Origin 2d ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1860.


Thanks for information on sexual colours in pigeons.

Will send latest edition of Origin.

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 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8326,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20