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To T. H. Huxley   3 [September 1855]


Approves drawing. No one who cannot draw should attempt to be a naturalist. Suggests corrections to [Lepas?] drawing. Comments on position of ganglia, cement glands, and stomach.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  3 [Sept 1855]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 18)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1759

To Henry Allen Wedgwood   5 September [1855]


Thanks HAW for columbine and asparagus seeds and for counting pods for him. CD is astonished at the number of pods. Needs more seeds for one of his experiments.

Has he met Huxley yet? He is a very clever man.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Allen (Harry) Wedgwood
Date:  5 Sept [1855]
Classmark:  Oxford University Museum (Hope Entomological collections)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1753

From Edward Blyth   7 September [1855]


Comments on the ease with which different species of Felis can be tamed.

Asian species of wild cattle.

Variation in colour of jackals.

Discusses the difficulties of differentiating between varieties and species. EB recommends Herman Schlegel’s definition of species [in Essay on the physiognomy of serpents, trans. T. S. Traill (1843)]. Problems of defining species of wolves and squirrels. Pigeons and doves afford an illustration of "clusters of species, varieties, or races". Various pigeons have local species in different parts of India and Burma, some of which interbreed where their ranges cross; as do the local species of Coracias [see Natural selection, p. 259].

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

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  7 Sept [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 98: A51–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1752

To W. B. Tegetmeier   [13 September 1855]


Would welcome any distinct breed of poultry and would be glad to have any good pigeons.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  [13 Sept 1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Tegetmeier, W. B. ser.2: 26)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1754

From Edward Blyth   [22 September 1855]


Gives extract from a letter from Capt. R. Tickell: rabbits are not bred by the Burmese; common European and Chinese geese are bred but have probably only recently been introduced.

EB gives references to works illustrating the dog-like instinct of N. American wolves.

Discusses reason and instinct; ascribes both to man and animals. Comments on various instincts, e. g. homing, migratory, parental, constructive, and defensive. Reasoning in animals; cattle learning to overcome fear of passing trains.

Hybrid sterility as an indication of distinct species. Interbreeding as an indication of common parentage.

Enlarges upon details given by J. C. Prichard [in The natural history of man (1843)].

Adaptation of the two-humped camel to cold climates. Camel hybrids.

Doubts that domestic fowl or fancy pigeons have ever reverted to the wild.

Feral horses and cattle of S. America.

Believes the "creole pullets" to be a case of inaccurate description.

Variations in skulls between species of wild boar.

Pigs are so prolific that the species might be expected to cross.

Milk production of cows and goats.

Sheep and goats of lower Bengal.

Indian breeds of horses.

Variation in Asiatic elephants.

Spread of American tropical and subtropical plants in the East.

EB distinguishes between races and artificially-produced breeds.

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

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [22 Sept 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 98: A85–A92
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1755

From John Rice Crowe   27 September 1855



Forwards two specimens of beans found on north coast of Norway.

Author:  John Rice Crowe
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  27 Sept 1855
Classmark:  DAR 205.2: 222
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1756

To T. H. Huxley   29 [September 1855]


Responds to THH’s questioning of his observations on cirripede anatomy with extensive discussion of what he observed. Admits his elementary knowledge of microscopical structures but seriously doubts he has erred. Cement glands, ovarian tubes, etc.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  29 [Sept 1855]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 21); DAR 145: 222
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1757

From Edward Blyth   [30 September or 7 October 1855]


Origin of domestic varieties. EB ascribes "abnormal" variations to man’s propagation of casual monstrosities; believes "normal" variations, e.g. European races of cattle, are a consequence of man’s selecting the choicest specimens. Gives examples of "abnormal" variations; they give rise to features that have no counterpart among possible wild progenitors. Divides domestic animals into those whose origin is known and those whose origin is unknown. Considers that the wild progenitors of nearly all domestic birds are known. Fowls and pigeons show many varieties but if propagated abnormalities are ignored each group can be seen to be variations of a single species, the ancestors of which can be recognised without difficulty. Discusses varieties and ancestry of the domestic fowl. Variation in the wild; the ruff shows exceptional variability; other species of birds show variability in size of individuals. Remarks that markings sometimes vary on different sides of the same animal. Comments on the want of regularity in leaf and petal patterns of some plants. Discusses domestic varieties of reindeer and camels. Origin of humped cattle. Reports the rapid spread of a snail in lower Bengal that was introduced as a single pair five or six years previously.

[CD’s notes are an abstract of part of this memorandum. Memorandum originally enclosed with 1760.]

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [30 Sept or 7 Oct] 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A25–A36
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1761
Document type
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05 (1)
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