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From C. J. F. Bunbury   10 April 1855

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Summary

Responds to CD’s questions about mountain vegetation of the Cape of Good Hope. The distribution of some plants provides problems for both migration and special creation hypotheses.

Author:  Charles James Fox Bunbury, 8th baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  10 Apr 1855
Classmark:  DAR 205.4: 95
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1664

To M. J. Berkeley   11 April [1855]

Summary

Thanks MJB for peas.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Miles Joseph Berkeley
Date:  11 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Shropshire Archives (SA 6001/134/42)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1665

To Gardeners’ Chronicle   11 April [1855]

Summary

CD describes his experiments on the effects on germination of the immersion of seeds in sea-water. Hopes to throw light on the distribution of plants. Asks readers of Gardeners’ Chronicle to inform him whether such experiments have already been tried and what class or species of seeds they suppose would be particularly liable to be killed by sea-water.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Gardeners’ Chronicle
Date:  11 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette, no. 15, 14 April 1855, p. 242
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1666

To J. D. Hooker   13 April [1855]

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Summary

Pea self-fertilisation: has forty-five varieties growing side by side.

Describes seed-salting experiments: e.g., immersion in tank filled with snow. Reports some successful germinations.

Made list of naturalised plants from Asa Gray’s Manual [of Botany] to calculate the proportions of the great families.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  13 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 128
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1667

To T. H. Huxley   18 April [1855]

Summary

Thomas Bell thinks John Lindley superior for Royal Society Medal. CD agrees, but demurs at Medal going to same branch of science two years in succession.

Perplexed about Albany Hancock’s qualifications compared with J. O. Westwood’s.

Death of H. De la Beche.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Thomas Henry Huxley
Date:  18 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 5: 31)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1668

To J. D. Hooker   19 April [1855]

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Summary

Rejects JDH’s suggestion that seed-salting experiments be conducted on huge scale. Only wishes to demonstrate possibility of sea transport, not establishment of any particular insular flora. More seed results.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  19 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 129
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1669

From Edward Blyth   21 April 1855

Summary

Indigenous domestic animals of the New World.

Relationship of Newfoundland and Esquimo dogs to the wolf. Dogs like the Esquimo occur in Tibet and Siberia. Indian pariah dogs and jackals occasionally interbreed.

Describes domestic cats of India; reports cases of their interbreeding with wild cats. Wild cats are tamed for hunting.

Races of silkworm in India are crossed [see 1690].

Domesticated plants, fish, and birds of India.

Comments on local races and species of crows; it is impossible to trace a line of demarcation between races and species.

Variation in the ability of hybrids to propagate.

Indian cattle breeds; differences between Bos indicus and Bos taurus.

Is not satisfied that aboriginally wild species of horse and ass exist.

Believes all fancy breeds of pigeon originated in the East. Wild ancestors of pigeons, ducks, geese, and fowls. Interbreeding of wild species of pheasant.

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

Author:  Edward Blyth
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  21 Apr 1855
Classmark:  DAR 98: A57–A68
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1670

DCP-LETT-1652

Summary

Cancelled: same as 1672.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Apr 1855
Classmark:  DAR 146: 474
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1652

From Charles Lyell   23 April 1855

Summary

CL would like to put Joachim Barrande on the Royal Society’s foreign list. Of French geologists and palaeontologists, he is the man who has made the greatest sacrifices and produced the greatest results.

Author:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Addressee:  Charles Robert Darwin
Date:  23 Apr 1855
Classmark:  Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine Archives (Huxley 6: 7)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1672

To J. D. Hooker   24 April [1855]

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Summary

More on seed-salting. JDH’s admission that he expected seeds to die in a week gives CD "a nice little triumph".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  24 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 130
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1671

To John Lubbock   24 April [1855]

Summary

Praise for JL’s interesting paper ["On the freshwater entomostraca of South America", Trans. Entomol. Soc. Lond. n.s. 3 (1854–6): 232–46].

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Date:  24 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 263: 11 (EH 88206460)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1673

To W. E. Darwin   [25 April 1855]

Summary

The new pigeon house is nearly complete.

CD is busy trying all sorts of experiments on salting seeds.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Erasmus Darwin
Date:  [25 Apr 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 210.6: 6
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1660

To Asa Gray   25 April [1855]

Summary

Is collecting facts on variation; questions AG on the alpine flora of the U. S.

Sends a list of plants from AG’s Manual of botany [1848] and asks him to append the ranges of the species.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Asa Gray
Date:  25 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (1)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1674

To W. D. Fox   26 April [1855]

Summary

Explains more clearly what he is looking for in his work on poultry: relative variation at different ages, the effect of disuse on different parts, breeding between wild and domestic, and degree of fertility of "mongrels of very diverse races".

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  26 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 89)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1675

To Leonard Horner   27 April [1855]

Summary

Regrets that he has not published his information on superficial beds except in abbreviated form, on p. 143 of Volcanic islands.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Leonard Horner
Date:  27 Apr [1855]
Classmark:  Kinnordy MS (private collection)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1676

To W. D. Fox   7 May [1855]

Summary

William Yarrell has assured him that call ducks cross freely with common varieties. CD would like a seven-day duckling and an old one that dies a natural death.

CD is depressed – all his experiments are going wrong, "all nature is perverse and will not do as I wish it". Feels he is getting out of his depth.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  7 May [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 90)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1678

To Charles Lyell   8 May [1855]

Summary

Mentions his paper ["Transportal of erratic boulders", Collected papers 1: 218–27]. Discusses ice-borne rock. Reference to unpublished paper on icebergs [?"Power of icebergs to make grooves", Collected papers 1: 252–5]. Remarks on scoring by icebergs. Comments on judgment of theories by Geological Society.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Charles Lyell, 1st baronet
Date:  8 May [1855]
Classmark:  American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.113)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1679

To J. D. Hooker   11 May [1855]

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Summary

JDH to be appointed Assistant Director at Kew.

On where to publish seed-salting paper. Floating problem perhaps more important than germination.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  11 May [1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 131
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1680

To J. D. Hooker   15 [May 1855]

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Summary

CD upset because salted seeds do not float.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  Joseph Dalton Hooker
Date:  15 [May 1855]
Classmark:  DAR 114: 147
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1681

To W. D. Fox   17 May [1855]

Summary

Asks WDF to induce schoolboys to collect eggs of lizards and snakes for him. He will see whether they float and stay alive on sea-water.

Author:  Charles Robert Darwin
Addressee:  William Darwin Fox
Date:  17 May [1855]
Classmark:  Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 91)
Letter no:  DCP-LETT-1683
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