Letter from Charles Darwin to Bernard Peirce Brent, April 1, 1861

April 1 Down Bromley, Kent

My Dear Sir,

Again I have to thank you for your extreme kindness, in sending me so much information. I daresay I shall have[?] to use & quote some of your remarks on combs; indeed I see some already which will be useful to me. Thank you much for your offer of a[?] Pigeon; but your information will suffice & I shall quote it, as I am glad to show variability in structure of tail. Many thanks for C[ottage] Gardener, (returned by this post) & I see you have asked my questions. The Angora seems esp amiable & I presume not stupid.

What a pleasant article you have written on canaries and gold-finches! I am too ignorant to attempt to say a word on canaries.

It will not have been I who told you about G[allus] Bankiva having sometimes tuft of feathers in back of head. - Mr Blyth has examined in India hundreds of specimens, & has mentioned every trifling point in which the wild birds vary. -

Indeed I cannot believe that G. Sonneratii has had anything to do with parentage of our fowls; because not only does the comb and curious hackles differ so much; not only [?] because the hybrids for G. Sonneratii & the domestic fowl are very sterile; but chiefly because the voice is utterly & entirely different.

With cordial thanks,
From Ys sincerely,

C. Darwin

P.S. Again I have to thank you for your letter just received; but I have not had time yet to consider it. But I can see that it will be eq. useful.


The original is four pages on one folded sheet of paper. There is a faint watermark including the characters "NSO 1860".

The date 1861 follows from the fact that Darwin refers to articles in the 26 March 1861 issue of the Cottage Gardener (Journal of Horticulture) that he is posting back to Brent. (Thanks to Sheila Dean for this observation.)