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From Arthur Edward Knox   [c. March 1855–7?]



CD has suggested an explanation of how pike were introduced to a remote lake in Ireland by cormorants [carrying pike spawn on their feet or in their gullets].

Author:  Arthur Edward Knox
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  Mar 1855-7
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 243
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1624

From Thomas Vernon Wollaston   2 March [1855]


Hybrid insects.

Description of the Salvages.

Variability of "transition groups" of insects; relation of variability to ranges of insects. The variability of wings, even within species. Reduction of flying ability on isolated islands.

Forbes’s "Atlantis" theory and insect fauna of the Atlantic islands, considered with regard to insect migrations.

Author:  Thomas Vernon Wollaston
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  2 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 181: 136
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1640

From G. R. Waterhouse   [after 2 March 1855]



Gives instances of sexual differences in the number of tarsi within species of Coleoptera and also variation in the number of tarsi between related species.

Author:  George Robert Waterhouse
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [after 2 Mar 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 47: 133–4
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1625

To G. R. Waterhouse   4 March [1855]


A page of [unspecified] text is missing from a parcel of material received from GRW.

CD "hopes and expects to live to see Carboniferous, & perhaps even Silurian, mammifers!"

Has several questions to ask whenever they meet.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Robert Waterhouse
Date:  4 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Natural History Museum, Library and Archives (Archives DF PAL/100/7/29)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1641

From J. D. Hooker   [before 7 March 1855]



CD’s tabulation of colonists curious but explicable.

Working on Tasmanian flora; contemplating general essay on Australian distribution: Tasmania and Australia same alpine species; Swan River flora very peculiar and quite distinct from New South Wales.

Trying to establish new journal at Linnean.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 7 Mar 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 104: 216–17
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1638

To J. D. Hooker   7 March [1855]



Latitude overrules everything in distribution. Alpine distributions are like insular. Tabulating proportions.

T. V. Wollaston’s Madeira insects: many flightless, thus not blown to sea. TVW’s insects do not confirm Forbes’s Atlantis.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  7 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 126
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1643

From G. R. Waterhouse   [7 March 1855]


Comparison of skulls of Ichthyosaurus and Cetacea.

Author:  George Robert Waterhouse
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [7 Mar 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 181: 20
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1642

To T. H. Huxley   8 March [1855]


Thanks THH for corroborating his observations. Discusses metamorphosis of ovaria to cement organs. Ovaries, germinal vesicles, and anatomy of cirripedes. Difficulties of classification, and observation.

THH’s article on Mollusca [Charles Knight, ed., English cyclopædia: a new dictionary of universal knowledge (1854–70) 3: 855–74].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  8 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 25)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1645

To J. S. Henslow   13 March 1855


Acknowledges a list [of plants?].

Looks forward to new edition [of British plants growing wild in the parish of Hitcham, Suffolk, 2d ed. (1855)].

JSH should not trouble about Anacharis until he is less busy. Will send cirripedes.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  13 Mar 1855
Classmark:  DAR 93: A25
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1647

From J. D. Hooker   [before 17 March 1855]



JDH criticises C. J. F. Bunbury’s paper on Madeira [J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 1 (1857): 1–35].

Absence of Ophrys on Madeira suggests to JDH a sequence in creation of groups.

Why are flightless insects common in desert?

Australian endemism.

Author:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 17 Mar 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 104: 210–13
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1644

To Arthur Henfrey   17 March [1855]


Can AH give information about D. A. Godron, "De l’espèce et des races" [Mem. Soc. Sci. Lett. & Arts Nancy (1847): 182, 239–88]? CD unable to locate reference.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Arthur Henfrey
Date:  17 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1648

To Leonard Horner   18 [March 1855]


CD has been a referee for LH’s Nile geology paper [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 145 (1855): 105–38]. Praises the work but offers criticism not in his report: Joseph Russegger’s statement about the baked Upper Sandstone deposit cannot be believed; LH’s paper is too long.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Leonard Horner
Date:  18 [Mar 1855]
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1649

To W. D. Fox   19 March [1855]


Asks WDF to observe at what age pigeons have tail-feathers sufficiently developed to be counted.

CD is hard at work on his notes for a book with all the facts "for & versus" the immutability of species.

Asks for a young chicken and a nestling common pigeon.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  19 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 87)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1651

To the Royal Society   19 March 1855


Recommends publication of Leonard Horner’s account of researches in alluvial deposits of Egypt [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 145 (1855): 105–38]. It contains valuable observations which will probably become of still higher value in future.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  secretary of Royal Society
Date:  19 Mar 1855
Classmark:  The Royal Society (RR2: 111)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1650

To Charles James Fox Bunbury   [20 March 1855]


CD hopes to have an hour’s talk with CJFB before CD leaves London.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Date:  [20 Mar 1855]
Classmark:  John Hay Library, Brown University
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13784

From John Davy   21 March 1855


On the ova of the salmon in relation to the distribution of species.

Author:  John Davy
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  21 Mar 1855
Classmark:  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 146 (1856): 21–9
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1651A

To John Davy   25 March [1855]


Will forward JD’s paper to the Royal Society ["On the ova of salmon", Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 146 (1856): 21–9].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Davy
Date:  25 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Royal Institution of Great Britain (Box XVII, 210)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1653

To John Davy   26 March [1855]


Discusses JD’s paper ["On ova of salmon"]. His experiments are of particular value regarding power of dispersal and geographical distribution and would make of them a very different subject. Hopes JD can test again the tenacity of life of non-developed ova being less than that of those fully developed – a result which surprised CD.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Davy
Date:  26 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Royal Institution of Great Britain (Box XVII, 210)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1654

To J. S. Henslow   26 March [1855]


Thanks JSH for Anacharis which is flourishing.

P. H. Gosse told him he had several sea animals and algae living in artificial sea-water for over 13 months.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  26 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A26–A27
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1655

To W. D. Fox   27 March [1855]


Thanks WDF for his offer of assistance in collecting varieties of poultry. Describes his needs. He will raise his own pigeons.

Often doubts whether, despite all help, the problem of species will not overpower him.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  27 Mar [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 88)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1656
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