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From Edward Blyth   4 August 1855


Sends a skeleton of a Bengal jungle cock.

Has never heard of trained otters breeding in captivity.

Introduced domestic rabbits are confined to the ports of India.

Canaries and other tame finches and thrushes brought into India do not breed well.

Origin of the domestic canary. Tendency of domesticated birds to produce "top-knot" varieties.

The tame geese of lower Bengal are hybrids; those of upper Bengal are said to be pure Anser cygnoides.

Wild Anser cinereus occur in flocks in the cold season.

Discusses at length different breeds of domestic cats and possible wild progenitors. Wild and domestic cats occasionally interbreed. The Angora variety breeds freely with the common Bengal cat and all stages of intermediates can be found.

Believes pigeons have been bred in India since remote antiquity.

Discusses whether mankind is divided into races or distinct species.

[CD’s notes are an abstract of this letter.]

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  4 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A69–A78
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1735

To J. D. Hooker   10 August [1855]



Morning with H. C. Watson; discussed problems of inferences from buried seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  10 Aug [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 144
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1737

To J. D. Hooker   11 August [1855]


Has left a book from Henslow for JDH at Athenaeum.

When Asa Gray wrote, did he send marked sheets [of his Manual of botany]?

Has just made out "new & wonderful" specific character between two of his pigeon breeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11 Aug [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 150: 123
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1738

From John Cattell   13 August 1855


Gives names of German dealers who provide seed of superior quality.

Author:  John Cattell
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 161: 127
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1739

From H. C. Watson   13 August 1855


Is having difficulties marking close species on the list of British plants.

In all his attempts to advance geographical botany he is stopped by the "application and signification of the word ""species"" " the use of which is both "indefinite and variable". He encloses his list of "Categories of Species".

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  13 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A5–A6, DAR 9: 15A
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1740

To J. D. Hooker   14 [August 1855]



When JDH goes to Germany, will he ask seed men if their marvellous true breeding lines are the result of selection.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  14 [Aug 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 145
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1741

From H. C. Watson   17 August 1855


Sends a catalogue of plants [missing] with the close species marked.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  17 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 181: 28
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1743

To the Council of the Royal Society   18 August 1855


Recommends publication of W. B. Carpenter’s paper on Orbitolites [Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. 146 (1856): 181–236]. Discusses style and the cost of the plates.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Council of the Royal Society
Date:  18 Aug 1855
Classmark:  The Royal Society (RR3: 38)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1744

From Edward Blyth   22–3 August 1855


Gives extracts from a letter by Thomas Hutton.

Rabbits are kept (generally by Europeans) in the NW. provinces and breed freely. Canaries are not well adapted to the climate. Reports on domestic cats and pigeons of the area. EB gives references to further information on cats, pigeons, and silkworms.

[CD’s notes are an abstract of this letter.]

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  22–3 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A79–A84
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1746

To W. D. Fox   22 August [1855]


Reports on his collection of skeletons of young and adults of various breeds of fowls and specimens still needed.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  22 Aug [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 94a)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1745

To J. S. Henslow   23 [August or September 1855]


Asks JSH to identify an umbellifer.

Describes his efforts to compare number of seeds of wild and cultivated plants.

Asks that more wild celery be collected and seeds counted. Seeks to verify whether "most typical form produces most seed" and whether cultivation lessens fertility.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  23 [Aug or Sept] 1855
Classmark:  DAR 93: A112–13
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1748

From H. C. Watson   23 August 1855


Close species in large and small genera.

Artificiality of botanical classification.

Author:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Aug 1855
Classmark:  DAR 181: 29
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1747

To Asa Gray   24 August [1855]


"Close" species in large and small genera.

Alphonse de Candolle on geographical distribution [Géographie botanique raisonnée (1855)].

Species variability.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  24 Aug [1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (10)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1749

To H. C. Watson   [26 August 1855]



On geographical distribution of plants. Plant systematics and natural classification.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Hewett Cottrell Watson
Date:  [26 Aug 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 185: 53
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1750

To William Bernhard Tegetmeier   31 August [1855]


Thanks for WBT’s offer to supply carcasses of good poultry breeds. Encloses list [missing] of birds in which he is interested.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  31 Aug [1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Tegetmeier, W. B. ser.2: 16)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1751
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