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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. B. Tegetmeier   [7 April 1865]

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

My dear Sir

I have received the M.S.1 all safe & have just begun to go over it, & I can clearly see that I am deeply indebted to you for many valuable suggestions & corrections. I have received another “Field” & very many thanks for it.—2 It is good news that your injured Eye is recovering.—3

I enclose a separate note (which please look at) for Mr Wells;4 will you have the kindness to make him clearly understand that you are to see the drawings on the wood, for your approval & likewise when engraved.—

Could Mr Wells draw for me the heads alone, (of size to fill up breadth of my page) of Game, Spanish, Hamburgh & Polish?5 Could you aid him to see good birds? But as these figures are not indispensable, I shd. like hear what the cost would be.— Mr. Wells could write direct to me.—

I am much obliged to you for wishing to see my M.S. on Pigeons; but you do not know what a job it will be, for I have treated this subject at greater length than any other.6 But you can read as much as your patience admits, & I shall be grateful for any corrections.7 I fear that I shall want that M.S. back by about May 1st— Please pack it up in same manner as sent & let it be registered.—

I believe that some bones of the skull are wrongly named, as likewise was case with some in Fowls’ skulls.—8

The Pigeon M.S is sent off this day.—

With cordial thanks | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

(I enclose stamps for return of Pigeon M.S. registered.)

P.S. | If not inconvenient I shd. like a blue Pouter drawn with the black wing-bars & sub-terminal tail bar well & carefully shown.—9


CD refers to the manuscript of his chapter on fowls for Variation, which Tegetmeier had been reading and correcting (see letters to W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 February [1865] and 28 March [1865], and letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 13 March 1865). It is probable that Tegetmeier sent the manuscript with his letter of [29 March – 7 April 1865].
The reference is to the issue of the Field for 1 April 1865 (see letter from W. B. Tegetmeier, 27 March 1865 and nn. 1 and 2), containing an article, illustrated by Luke Wells, on the trumpeter breed of pigeon.
The note has not been found. See also letter to W. B. Tegetmeier, 6 April [1865] and nn. 3 and 4.
Chapter 7 of Variation included illustrations by Wells of the heads of Spanish, Hamburgh, and Polish fowl (Variation 1: 226, 228, 229).
Tegetmeier may have expressed this wish in the missing portion of his letter to CD of [29 March – 7 April 1865]; CD had mentioned that he intended to have two chapters on pigeons in Variation in his letter to Tegetmeier of 14 March [1865]. CD had begun writing the first chapter on pigeons in June 1858, and completed the second chapter in June 1860 (see Correspondence vol. 7, Appendix II, and Correspondence vol. 8, Appendix II). CD may have returned to the pigeon chapters when he began revising the manuscript of Variation in November 1864 (see Correspondence vol. 12, Appendix II). These chapters became chapters 5 and 6 of Variation (see Variation 1: 131–224).
Tegetmeier’s assistance with CD’s work on pigeons is acknowledged in Variation 1: 132, n. 2.
Chapter 5 of Variation was illustrated with five engravings of pigeon skulls; CD provided a summary of the anatomical characteristics of the skulls in the accompanying text (see Variation 1: 163–5). CD’s work for chapter 7, on fowls, included an examination of fifty-three skulls of various breeds; nearly half of the specimens had been provided by Tegetmeier (see Variation 1: 260–6). Tegetmeier, who had long been interested in variation in poultry skulls (see E. W. Richardson 1916, pp. 101–2), may have informed CD that some of the bones had been incorrectly named.
The illustration of the English pouter by Wells in Variation 1: 137 shows the wing and tail bars.


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

Richardson, Edmund William. 1916. A veteran naturalist; being the life and work of W. B. Tegetmeier. London: Witherby & Co.

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


Fowl MS has arrived safely.

Sends pigeon MS for WBT’s perusal.

Further instructions for Luke Wells.

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 7pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4806,” accessed on 20 March 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 13