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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   24 December [1858]1

Down Bromley Kent

Dec. 24th

My dear Sir

I thank you most sincerely for the Fowls. The Spanish looks splendid & the two white Dorkings very nice. The poor silver Poland has had its head much hurt, by its foot being entangled in some string, but I hope will recover; & anyhow I have one hen of your breeding of this Breed. If I could get silver pencilled & spangled Hamburgh & some one other white breed (if a sitter all the better) I should be well stocked.2

You can, if you please, let me know what I am indebted to you either now or when you have completed the purchases & I will repay you with very cordial thanks.3

But my cock is in a fury with me for destroying all his favourite Hens!

My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Do not forget, when opportunity offers to ask Mr. Weir about the Silver Barb.—4

When will you describe the Foreign Fowls; if you shd. fail in time, I wd. ask Mr Brent, but I shd very much prefer to see the work done by you.—5

You will exclaim “what a bore the man is”!


Dated by the relationship to the letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 16 November [1858] and 27 [November 1858].
CD was acquiring fowls for a breeding experiment to attempt to produce a reversion to the coloration of the presumed ancestral breed. See letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 [November 1858].
According to CD’s Account book (Down House MS), he paid Tegetmeier 18s. for poultry on28 December 1858.
CD had sent Tegetmeier his collection of the skins of foreign breeds of fowl, hoping that Tegetmeier would describe them before he published his own material on domesticated fowls. Publication in the Poultry book (Tegetmeier ed. 1856–7) was precluded when the venture ceased after number eleven appeared in July 1857. In a later edition of this work, Tegetmeier relied upon Thomas Claverhill Jerdon’s descriptions of foreign breeds (Tegetmeier 1866–7, p. 257). Bernard Peirce Brent had contributed descriptions of all the breeds of fancy pigeons to the Cottage Gardener in 1856 and 1857.


Thanks for some poultry breeds.

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. 2383,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7