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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   21 December [1864]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Dec 21

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for the Observer. I think your article is very well done & very interesting.2 I will send you a copy, as soon as I get one, of a paper which I have lately written, which it is possible, tho’ not probable, you might like to work up into a popular article3

My health still keeps very weak, but I am able to do a little work on “Variation under Domestication”. The whole has been written once over & I am now going thro’ it again.4 I hope in 6 or 8 weeks to come to “Fowls” when I shall want my M.S. from you with any marginal corrections but I do not intend to add much on account of my weakness.5

When I come to this Chapter I shall have some of your skulls drawn & they shall then be returned to you. I assure you that I am sincerely sorry to have kept them so long.6 I am glad to hear that you will publish on your crossing experiments, but I am not surprized to hear that there has been no sterility.7

Believe me my dear Sir | yours sincerely | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Tegetmeier 1864 (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 21 December 1864]).
The reference is to ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria. Tegetmeier’s name appears on the presentation list for the paper (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix III). No popular version of this paper by Tegetmeier has been found.
CD began to revise the early chapters of the manuscript of Variation on 20 November (see ‘Journal’ (Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II)). See also letter to W. D. Fox, 30 November [1864] and n. 6.
In June 1861, CD had sent Tegetmeier the manuscript of a draft chapter on domestic fowls written for inclusion in Variation (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 14 June [1861]). Tegetmeier returned the manuscript with his comments in April 1865 (see Correspondence vol. 13, letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [29 March – 7 April 1865], and letter to W. B. Tegetmeier [7 April 1865]). See also Variation 1: 225–75; CD acknowledged Tegetmeier’s reading of the manuscript on p. 225, n.
See letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 21 December 1864] and n. 6. The sketches appear in Variation 1: 163–5.
See letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, [before 21 December 1864]. Tegetmeier first reported in July 1863 that his crossing experiments had yielded no infertile offspring (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 29 June – 7 July 1863 and nn. 2 and 3). See also letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 1 February 1864 and nn. 5 and 7.


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

Tegetmeier, William Bernhard. 1864. Mimetic analogy. Intellectual Observer 6: 307–13.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]

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


CD working on Variation; he will soon want corrected fowl MS [Variation, ch. 7].

WBT’s breeding experiments produced no sterility.

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. 4720,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12