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To Gardeners’ Chronicle   [before 1 December 1855]


Corrects a misprint in his letter [1783].

Adds that his experiments show that one cannot infer from the vitality of seeds under dry conditions that they will be preserved in different conditions. Cites the poor ability of Leguminosae to withstand immersion.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  [before 1 Dec 1855]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 48, 1 December 1855, p. 789
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1787

CD memorandum   [December 1855]



Requests skins of domestic breeds or races of poultry, pigeons, rabbits, cats, and dogs from any unfrequented region. [Attached is a list of people to whom CD has written for pigeon and poultry skins.]

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  [Dec 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 206: 34–5
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1812

To W. B. Tegetmeier   [2 December 1855]


Raises queries resulting from their meeting. "All fish come to my net in regard to variation."

Is acquiring pigeons and poultry and would be particularly grateful for any of the rarer breeds that WBT could supply.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  [2 Dec 1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1788

To T. C. Eyton   3 December [1855]


Now has several pigeons, and intends to get pigeons from all parts of the world.

Glad TCE is working at dogs. Would TCE like head of Chinese dog?

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Campbell Eyton
Date:  3 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.116)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1789

From William Henry Benson   5 December 1855


Observations on shells in India, listing some specimens with particular regard to their locality, elevation, and relationship to other known types.

Author:  William Henry Benson
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  5 Dec 1855
Classmark:  DAR 160: 150
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1790

From J. D. Dana   [before 6 December 1855]


Responds to CD’s criticism of his use of word "Kingdom" in discussing geographical distribution of Crustacea.

Author:  James Dwight Dana
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  [before 6 Dec 1855]
Classmark:  DAR (CD library – Dana, J. D. 1853)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1544

To W. B. Tegetmeier   6 December [1855]


Variation in cats.

Is comparing skeletons of poultry.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Bernhard Tegetmeier
Date:  6 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the New York Botanical Garden (Charles Finney Cox Collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1791

To William Henry Benson   7 December [1855]


Discusses distribution of shells.

"Dr Gully did me much good." Hopes WHB profited by water cure.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Henry Benson
Date:  7 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 143: 89
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-4354

To ?   7 December [1855–7?]


Concerning specimens he wants collected in the Azores.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Unidentified
Date:  7 Dec [1855-7]
Classmark:  DAR 249: 93 (photocopy)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-13867A

From Edward Blyth   8 December 1855


What does CD think of A. R. Wallace’s paper in the Annals & Magazine of Natural History ["On the law which has regulated the introduction of new species", n.s. 16 (1855): 184–96]? EB considers it good on the whole.

Japanned variety of peacock.

Regional variations in bird species.

EB has little faith in the aboriginal wildness of the Chillingham cattle.

Races of humped cattle of India, China, and Africa.

Indian and Malayan gigantic squirrels, with various races remaining true to their colour, would afford capital data for Wallace, as would the local varieties of certain molluscs. Has Wallace’s lucid collation of facts unsettled CD’s ideas regarding the persistence of species?

Bengal hybrid race of geese is very uniform in colour and as prolific as the European tame goose [see Natural selection, p. 439].

Will see what he can do for CD with regard to domestic pigeons.

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  8 Dec 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A104–A107
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1792

To T. C. Eyton   9 December [1855]


Vexed he cannot find head of [Chinese] dog.

First took up skeletonising to see how much young pigeons and poultry differed from the old.

Wishes to ascertain differences in skeletons of pigeons, poultry, covey birds, and rabbits. William Yarrell has shown CD breastbones. W. B. Tegetmeier has shown him skulls of fowls.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Campbell Eyton
Date:  9 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.117)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1793

To J. D. Hooker   9 [December 1855]



Burying charlock seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  9 [Dec 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 143
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1736

To Edgar Leopold Layard   9 December 1855


Is collecting facts for Variation; would be grateful for skins of local [Cape of Good Hope] breeds of pigeons, ducks, and poultry.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Edgar Leopold Layard
Date:  9 Dec 1855
Classmark:  Auckland Public Library (Grey collection GL D8 (3))
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1794

To George Henry Kendrick Thwaites   10 December 1855


Mentions seeing GHKT at BAAS meeting at Oxford [1847].

Reports he is working on variation of species. Asks about varieties of pigeons and other poultry, and asks for specimens from Ceylon.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Henry Kendrick Thwaites
Date:  10 Dec 1855
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.118)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1795

To George Gulliver   18 December [1855]


Sends blood of pigeons for examination. Discusses variation of blood in related animals.

Would like copy of book edited by GG [The works of W. Hewson (1846)].

Suggests investigation of blood in varieties of domesticated animals.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  George Gulliver
Date:  18 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  Houghton Library, Harvard University (Autograph File, D)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1796

To J. S. Henslow   18 [December 1855]


Has received the seeds safely.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  18 [Dec 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A47
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1797

From George Gordon   24 December 1855



Reports success of hybrid cross with Vallota and the failure of another cross.

Author:  George Gordon
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  24 Dec 1855
Classmark:  DAR 205.7: 281
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1799

To Charles Augustus Murray   24 December 1855


CD has "for many years been working on the perplexed subject of the origin of varieties & species".

Asks CAM if he can help procure skins of domestic pigeons, poultry, ducks, and rabbits from Persia. Gives general instructions for anyone he might employ to obtain skins.

CD would also welcome descriptions of the larger, native quadrupeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Augustus Murray
Date:  24 Dec 1855
Classmark:  Arthur Houghton Jr (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1798

To H. N. Shaw, Secretary, Royal Geographical Society   25 December [1855]


Has followed correspondent’s useful suggestions of sources of information [on variation in domesticated animals in various regions of the globe].

Asks him to sound out [Mr Consul Brand?] about skinning some bird specimens for him.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Henry Norton Shaw
Date:  25 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  Royal Geographical Society
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1800

To J. S. Henslow   26 December [1855]


Sends a book on clubs, which has raised some worrisome questions about the [Down Friendly] Club. Asks JSH’s advice.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Stevens Henslow
Date:  26 Dec [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 93: A48–A49
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1801
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