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IRew ^ox\\ State (Tollege of agriculture 


Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

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Entered according: to Act of CongresB, in the year 1874, by 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

Frees of Rand, Avery, & Co., Boston. 

P E E F A C E. 

Tni9 rolume is written with two specific purposes in view : first, to give a brief and siic- 
ciHct account, as far as ttie record permits, of the introduction into America of the Chinese 
varieties of domestic fowls, subsequently to the apjiearanceof this notable race of poultry in 
England (in 1S43--14) ; and secomUy, to correct the iinmcrous errors and false theories that 
have obtained, both in this country and in Great Britain, touching the origin and catablish- 
mnnt of the most noted of modern gnllinaceous breeds, first known on both sides of the At- 
lantic, as the reliable records show, to wit, tlie " Geat Shanghaes ; " or, as they are latterly 
denominated bv common consent, the Light and Dark '' Brahma" fowls. 

That these latter-mentioned birds descend direct from the Chinese, and not from any India 
race, is perfectly clear; since, as W. B. Tegetmeier, F.Z S., correctly stated in 185.3, "there 
is not a particle of evidence to show that (what is now called) the Brahma fowls ever came 
from India." And Mr. Tegetmeier truthfully added also at that early day, that " they 
originSted not in India, but in America." 

Lewis Wright of London, however, who has contributed no inconsiderable amount of inter- 
esting matter to the poultry literature of modern times, most singularly and ignorantly per- 
sists, in his later volumes, upon the idea that the Brahmas are of East India origin ; and that 
the account given by Mr, Virgil Cornish, of an early pair of large gray fowls having been 
" imported into New York from Luckipoor, up the Brahniapootra River," furnishes the correct 
theory as to the origin of this variety. 

This silly sailor-Cornish-Chamberlin story (which for a time was believed in by some per- 
son-), upon which Lewis Wright of England bases his utterly groundless notions, was many 
year- ago absolutely exploded. Mr. Cornish Jirst wrote (March 2, 1852,) that he procured his 
stock of Mr. of Connecticut, who said through " a sailor " to have chanced 
upon " a pair of large, light-gray fowls, which said Chamberjin jirsf brought into the State of 

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Connecticut, from somewhere, in the early part of the year 1849." Upwards of sixteen years 
after this original account of Cornish had been published, this same authority, over his own 
signature, in a second letter, to a Mr. We:d, just as clearly states that this very Charaberlin 
" pair of gray fowls arrived at New York on board a ship from Luckipoor in India, in Sep- 
tember, 1846;" of which two statements, Mr. Plaisted, in 1874, declares "there is nothing 
accurate in the first, and the last one is still worse ! " 

And this is all the evidence the world has ever had about th3 introduction of this remark- 
able pair of Chamberlin gray birds, " imported from India," via New York, into Connecticut, 
an event which, beyond cavil or dispute, never thus occurred at all ; since the fact is now 
established, beyond question or refutation, that neither in the year 1849 or 1846 (according to 
Cornish, Wright, ct als., or in 1847, as a later writer has it) did there arrive at New York 
any ship or other vessel "from the port of Luckipoor in India;" as will be clearly demon- 
strated in the succeeding pages of this work 

At the same time, I shall endeavor to plainly show, herein, from the long-since-printcd 
testimony and records, that the large light "Gray Shanghaes" bred by the undersigned for 
many years after 1849, were from China stock; and that yrom these (imported by me in 1849- 
'50 from Sljangliao) came the originals of the now famous so-called "Br.^hmas." 

I am indebted to Messrs. Lee & Shepard, publishers of Boston ; to Jos. M Wade, Esq., of 
"Fanciers' Journal," Philadelphia, I'cnn. ; to H. IL Stoddard, Esq., of "Poultry World," 
Hartford, Conn.; T. S. Cooper, Esq., of Coopersburg, Penn.; Philander WiUiams, Esq., of 
Taunton, Mass. ; Dr. Kenegy of " Polo Argus," 111. ; T. T. Bacheller, Esq., of " N. W. Poultry 
Journal," Minneapolis ; W. H. Todd, Esq., Vermillion, O. ; and other gentlemen — for some of 
the fine illustrations in this work. And to these and various publicly unnamed friends, I hereby 
tender my acknowledgments for hints and suggestions that are embodied in my present book, 
which is now presented to the fanciers of America as a truthful and explicit account of what 
the author knows regarding the origin, history, characteristics, and breeding qualities of the 
China Fowl, — SJianghae, Cochin, ani. Brahma, — from 1844 to 1874 inclusive; accompanied 
with corroborative authority for the statements I now make, gathered from the most reliable 
data I have been able to reach or make myself acquainted with, during the thirty years I 
have enjoyed so large a practical experience with all the varieties of this now universally 
favorite race of Chinese fowls. 


Melrose, Mass., September, 1874. 





THE •■ BRAIBIAS ■' 63 





.shaxgh.\:e, cochin, "Beahma.'^ 

UxDER this general appellation, I include all the various-colored domestic 
fowls now popularly known in England and America as " Sltangliaes,'' 
" Cochins,'' or '• Urahi/ias ; " to wit, the white, gray, lemon, buff, cinnamon, 
brown, partridge, grouse, and black, — feathered-legged or smooth-shanked. 
And in this volume I shall show that all these varieties, under whatever 
name during the last thirty years they may have been denominated, or at 
the present time are called, have one common origin ; that no " importation " of 
any one of said varieties or strains have reached this country or Great Britain 
from anyplace save Chinese ])OT:ts; and especially that none of these fine 
fowls have been brought, or can be authoritatively shown ever to have come, 
into the two countries mentioned, either from the province of Cochin China, 
originally, or more especially from India, in a single instance. 

This averment at the outset, I make understandingly. Premising that I 
shall not unduly urge upon the attention of the readers of this work any 


theory or standpoint of ray own, particularly, I will add that I intend, nev- 
ertheless, to support this position by the production of amplo corroborative 
recorded /acfo regarding the history and origin of these several different vari- 
eties, giving dates, the names of the early known owners and importers of 
each kind, as I find such records publicly made, — and the autliorities I 
adduce herein can be consulted, as I have consulted them, upon reference 
to the sources quoted, from which I have gathered the information in this 
book, — set down with the view to make it so clear and plain tliat " he who 
runs may read" and comprehend my present history of this much-abused 
as well as greatly-lauded race of poultry. 

The Malay fowl, the Java, the Calcutta, and the Chittagong — all intro- 
duced into America or England, first or last, in the past forty or fi.fty years — 
have long been known to old writers, and the earlier breeders ; ship-masters 
having not infrequently brought home in their vessels specimens of these 
birds, upon their return voyages from the " East Indies." And these 
"Asiatic" samples have been confounded, in the 'iiiemories of some of these 
"old salts," with the Chinese birds more recently imported, of whicli latter 
onhj I propose to write in these pages. From the similarity in size, form, 
and certain general characteristics common to all these Eastern varieties, this 
error on the part of mariners is not to be wondered at. But I do not 
intend to enlarge upon the merits or demerits of the India, Kulm, Java, Cey- 
lon, Malay, Calcutta, or Chittagong varieties; and I set down this paragraph 
just here, simply to advise the reader, in advance, that my present volume 
will be devoted strictly to the consideration of the race comprised in tlie 
leading title of this work ; namely. The China Fowl. 

This bird has been found to bo single-combed and pea-combed ; it is 
smooth-limbed, and feathered upon the legs ; it is short-legged and long- 
shanked; it is bred of all colors, from pure white to dead black; it is found, 
at times, long-bodied, stout and rangy in form, — or oftenest, compactly 
built, broad-backed, full-breasted, and shapely; its proportions are massive 
and commanding, and the better strains are comely, though inclining to a 
heavy or clumsy exterior : yet in all, and over all, it has come to be esteemed 
a general favorite everywhere, in some one or more of its different colors and 
shapes. And it is safe to assert that no domestic fowl the world has ever 
yet produced can excel this race in the admiration of a majority of the 
breeders and fanciers of the present day. 



Upon page 10, for example, will be fouml an excellent illustration of a 
pair of thorough-bred China fowls, a cock and hen of the now so-called "Par- 
tridge Cochins." Tills pair of fowls are true representatives of the Chinese 




race generally ; and the artistic drawing mentioned is one of the most accu- 
rate I have ever met with. Without entering at present upon the qualities 
of this particular pair of birds (which are life-like representations of two 


specimens imported by T. S. Cooper, Esq., of Coopersburg, Penn., from Eng- 
land, lately), we will only say liere that we point to that portraiture as a 
very perfect delineation of the naturallij4oT:m(iA. better than ordinary type of 
pure Chinese poultry, whose characteristics, in their original condition, we 
will now describe in detail, as our long experience with thi. race has taught 
us to see the genuine Shanghae stock in America. 

We write the term Shanghae here advisedly, for the simple reason that 
almost all the known importations of these notable fowls came into the 
United States originally from the port of Shanghae, China, and for years 
were thus denominated. One or two importations have also been made, 
within the last three decades, by ships arriving from Canton or Hong 
Kong, which will be duly referred to hereafter. 

These two last-mentioned places are Chinese ports also, Situate on the 
easterly coast of the Chinese Empire, about six hundred miles south of 
the city of Shanghae, which lies in latitude 31° north, upon the Yellow Sea. 
Upon the opposite page we present a map of the localities we shall have 
occasion to refer to in this volume. This drawing is an accurate tracing of 
the outline boundaries of the countries mentioned, taken from Johnson's and 
Ward's "New Illustrated Atlas," revised and published in 1865. 

By consulting this map, the reader will observe that the empire of Ghina 
is far distant from the territory of India, even in " a bee-line ; " while to 
double the low-running peninsula of Malay, sailing vessels from the coast of 
China to Calcutta have an immense distance to pass over, — say from Shang- 
hae to the mouth of the Ganges, — not less, at the shortest, than rising four 
thousand miles. 

The cities of Shanghae, north, on the coast ; Nanking, up the Kiang River ; 
Ning Po, on the coast; Hong Kong, south ; and Canton, up the Si River 
(near the last place), are all Chinese ports, accessible to American and Brit- 
ish commerce. But the leading ports whence sail our ships trading with the 
extreme East are Slianghae, Hong Kong, and Canton, — since the close of 
the Chinese war with Great Britain, in 1S43; the first of these three (Shang- 
hae) being the principal point of destination and departure of vessels be- 
longing to " foreign " countries, trading with the Celestials upon their sea- 
coast territory. 



It may be deoinetl an easy matter to "imf^-t" direct from China a few 
native domestic fowls, that arc worth taking off the deck of a returning 
ludiamau into an American port, after its six or eight niontlis' voyage from 
Chinese seas. But tliose who liave tried to compass tliis seemingly trivial 
man(euvre, in past years, have found it a very difficult feat to accomplish 
satisfactorily, so far as my knowledge of this undertaking goes. 

I liave individually attempted this seven or eight times, and never suc- 
ceeded but once in the endeavor to get from China direct, to my own order, 
a dozen Shanghae fowls ; and of these, when the consignment reached 
Central Wharf, Boston (to purchase which I had placed in the ship's first 
officer's hands one hundred Spanish-milled dollars, when he sailed from 
Boston), there were but just three fowls, a cock and two hens, that I cared to 
take home, of the fourteen birds he brought me from Shanghae ; and which 
he positively assured me were all there were left alive upon coming into home 
port, out of sixty-five chickens he placed on ship-board when he sailed from 
Shanghae, seven months previously. The others died, he said, on the pas- 
sage back. Far more likelj', no doubt, was it, that they went one after 
another, when wanted, into the cook's pot for the captain's dinners, — espe- 
cially the largest and most desirable. 

The difficulty in consummating this sort of enterprise is principally two- 
fold, thus : As can well be understood, the mass of gentlemen or business- 
men who go from the West to China possess neither the taste, the knowledge, 
or the inclination to concern themselves about looking vi]) poultry in that far- 
away land. They do not go there for this purpose, and commonly think 
they have a far more " dignified " object in their journeys thither. Secondly, 
the ship-masters and sailors who go there, know little or nothing of poultry 
(except to eat it wdien cooked), and care less about this subject, wdiicli home- 
fanciers are, to a greater or less degree, so interested in. Thus the latter 
class never trouble themselves to secure any particular style, shape, color, or 
sized fowl, when they put on board their vessels a few chickens, to be used 
merely as food for the captain's cabin table, usually, during a part or the 
whole of their return voyage. 

It occasionally happens that all the chickens thus placed on ship-board in 
Shanghae, or other China ports, are not devoured or killed en route home- 
ward. The remains of such shipments reach American or British ports. 


generally speaking, in a filth}', lialf-starved, vermin-infusted, or roupy con- 
dition, — ill consequence of their long confiuenient, and the neglect and hard 
weather they are sulijeoted to while cooped up fur months en voyage. And 
these are nine times in ten the fowls "imported from China direct " that we 
get both in America and England, or read of in the poultry and other 
Journals of the day. It is not always thus, however, as I will show by and 
by. Eut this is the rule. The others are the exceptional cases. 

Let me give a brief illustration upon this point. A near relative of my 
own, the master of a fine vessel from a leading American port, has been in 
command of a ship for the last twenty years, sailing between New York or 
Xew Bedford, and Shanghae or Canton, and Whampoa. At least seven or 
eiglit times within that period, when he has sailed from home, I have 
arranged with him, personally, to bring me out from ClKna a few good fowls ; 
which I supposed it would be no very ditBcult thing for him to accomplish. 
Two or three times he has brought back with him six or eight or ten birds, 
such as he could readily obtain while lying in port at Shanghae or Canton. 
But these proved most indifferent samples, compared with what I bred my- 
self by hundreds in my own yards, and were of all colors and grades excejjt 
the kinds I desired to obtain. Yet he thought them iiue, and through per- 
sonal friendship, in each instance, he did his level best to please me. I 
wouldn't give them yard-room, — the best of them ! Yet these were really 
"imported Shanghaes," direct from Chinese territory. 

Thus, I repeat it, it is not so simple a performance as most of us imagine 
it is, to get out from Celestial ports direct a consignment of good specimens 
of genuine Chinese domestic poultry. The merchants, travellers, and busi- 
ness men who go bence to that far-off country, care nothing about this 
"hobby " of their friends; while the mariners and ship-masters, whose lives 
are passed upon the seas only, know little or nothing of the "fine points" 
of tiiese birds. So we have always been, and must continue to be, depend- 
ent upon the chances that occur now and then, to replenish our Chinese 
stock ; and the opportunities to do this, satisfactorily to experienced breeders, 
are certainly but rare, at the best. 

These chance opportunities occasionally occur, however. In my own ex- 
perience two or three times, and in instances of the experience of others 
whom I will presently refer to, a few small clutches of excellent fowls, of 


the genuine type and true stamp, as events have proven, have been obtained 
from China, or brought thence into America and England, of the huff, drab, 
brown, light gray, and yellow ; from vrhioh have been produced most of the 
finest Shanghaes (now called " Cochins " or " Brahmas ") that have ever 
been seen or known in the world. 

In the years of grace 1843-'44, I had in my possession a goodly quantity 
of domestic fowls, five or six hundred in number (which I had bred and 
gathered together during those years), upon leased premises, some few acres 
in area, located at the foot of Mt. Pleasant in Eoxbury, Mass., known as 
" Williams' Garden," — a fine large estate, then belonging to the late Aaron 
D. Williams, now entirely covered over with handsome dwelling-houses. 

I had bred fowls some years prior to this time, on a limited scale, but at 
this period was engaged in the then hopeful attempt to breed poultry to 
profit, within limited space, in large numbers, successfully, — an experi- 
ment which, I need hardly announce at this day, proved futile and ineffectual. 

In 1846-'47 I removed to more retired quarters, and, with my flocks of 
poultry reduced to less than a hundred good birds, on an estate upon 
which I erected a cottage house, I went on more successfully. I resided 
upon Williams Street, Eoxbury (now Shawmut Avenue extension), until late 
in 1849, when I purchased the place in Melrose, Mass., where I noiu live, 
and early in 1850 removed my greatly improved stock of fowls to this town ; 
where I have since resided, now a quarter of a century. 

Prom 1848-'49 down to the present year (1874), for the most part I have 
constantly had the Chinese fowls upon my premises, in large or lesser quan- 
tities ; and my long experience with this race has afforded me ample oppor- 
tunity to judge of their good quality, and to make myself — through almost 
numberless practical experiments with them — thoroughly acquainted with 
th^ir habits, their characteristics, their points, and their general qualities. 
, The China fowl is a good bird; and the fanciers of this country and 
Great Britain have shown their preferenc? largely in favor of this breed, in 
some of its various colors, by cultivating and improving the size, and 
increasing the intrinsic value of this fowl, until the modernized "Brahma" 
or "Cochin," as it is at this time denominated, has come to be 'known 
deservedly as the most desirable of all the poultry we have among us. 

Other breeders of course have their favorites, and justly so. But the 

siJAyGHAE, cocmy, braiuia. 


majority of fanoiors prefer some of tlie varieties of the Cliinese fowl. And the 
" Brahmas " or the " Cochins " — all of which come from Shanghae originally, 
as we shall see — now lead the van in the estimation of the mass of 
American or Eucrlish breeders. 


The two illustrations preceding portray the shape and general forms of 
an ear^y-imported cock and hen of the Chinese race. They are neither so 
comely or so attractive in shape or features as are those subsequently 


received, or which were hred from the first stock had in America. Both of 
these are coarse, ungainly, and dumpy. But we give these drawings of 
original birds here, for comparison with the "improved " samples of the race 
to be found in these pages farther on. 

From the evidence at hand, however, it is very clear, whatever may be the 
theory of one or two late writers upon this subject, that all our large, fine, 
so-called " Asiatic varieties " of domesticated fowls belong to but one race, 
of whatever color we breed them ; and the entire testimony in modem 
works on poultry goes directly to this point, as to the origin whence they 
come into our hands, in every instance. And that origin is China. 

I am not now speaking of any of the still coarser grades of the Malay 
sjjecies, the Javas, or even the Chittagongs, about which early authors used 
to write so fluently without knowing any details as to the nativity of this 
style of bird, except what they casually learned from some stray sailor, who 
was not to be easily disputed, perhaps, in whatever yarn he might choose to 
spin regarding the birds he brought home accidentally "from the E-Stingies." 
But my present pages will comprise a monograph of the Chinese fowl ; 
whence I proceed to show descend all the pure "Cochins " and "Brahmas," 
of every shade we possess to-day, either in England or the United States. 

In Great Britain, since the advent of the Queen's famous so-called 
" Cochin Chinas," and more especially within the past twelve or fifteen 
years, perhaps, the old China fowl has been manifestly improved, by careful 
mating and judicious breeding, in the hands of the experienced fanciers who 
have long maintained their ascendency over us in America, in a general way, 
in their treatment of poultry, as we all very well understand. 

The "importations" made into the United States in late years come from 
this source principally; and very good fowls they send us too, as the 
majority of American importations of " Cochins," &c., of all colors, which 
have been since 1865-66 received thence into the United States, and which 
are noiv arriving here every month, from some of the leading breeders in 
England, amply demonstrate; the different classes of which we now propose 
to describe in detail in the future pages of this volume, with the single 
additional remark, here, that the Enghsh style of breeding the China fowl 
(as evinced in the latest specimens of the Light and Dark "Brahmas" we 
have received thence) is not uniformly to American taste. 


The ShangJiae fowl, first brought from the Chinese port of that name, and 
thus called by the earlj' possessors of those birds in England or America, 
usually with us upon this side of the Atlantic also, took the name of the 
importer or owner of such birds, in the early days ; as, for example, in the 
instances of the Bailies', the Forbes', the Marsh, the Gushing, or the Burn- 
ham Shanghaes ; which exact types of fowls are, however, in accordance 
with poultry society " Standard " rules at the present time, denominated 
" Cochins." Of the " Cochin Chinas " we shall speak at length in another 
chapter : we simply mention this " convertible term " here, in order that the 
reader of this volume may not confound the two names, as we proceed. 

We will describe the old Shanghae fowl first, therefore, because through 
priority in date we received in America — in Salem, Mass., in Philadelphia, 



Penn., at New York City, and elsewhere (so it has been frequently stated) — 
from Shanghae, China, the earliest consignments of this stock. 

It has been said that as early as iu 1843, such birds came both into Salem 


and Philadelphia, though I deem this announcement problematical. The 
well-known stock of Messrs. Sturgeon and Moody of England was received 
from China by those gentlemen in 1847, — so they inform us ; and these were 


among the very first accredited Slianghaes we heard of. They were cer- 
tainly very early birds. Mr. Sturgeon writes to Mr. Tegetmeier of London 
that he got his fowls in 1847, from a ship in tlio West India doclJs. A 
clerk of his chanced to go on board, who, struck by the appearance of these 
extraordinary fowls, bought them, on liis own responsibility, at what Mr. 
Sturgeon considered and denounced as a most extravagant price, — six or eight 
shillings (less than two dollars) each ! A younger brother of Mr. Sturgeon's 
unwittingly killed two of the five birds on their arrival, leaving him but a 
cock and two pullets. He took little interest in them at that time ; but he 
subsequently raised from these the finest bufl:" Shanghaes ever produced in 
England. " All our birds," he adds, " came from Shanghae, and were feath- 

It is stated by those who have observed the fact in Chinese ports, that the 
Shanghaes (or now so-called " Cochins ") of all colors, are seen quite as fre- 
quently upon their native soil, without any feathering upon the shank below 
the hocks, as with this feature. But the style in this country is, to breed 
them heavily feathered upon the legs. The early importations spoken of 
were all feathered-legged, some strains showing this more markedly than 
others, though my own imported birds were -thus generously feathered. 

The 3Iara]i Shanghaes, which comprised a dozen buff and partridge-colored 
specimens, were brought from the " Celestial domain " by the Rev. Mr. Marsh 
of West Eoxbury, Mass., or they were sent to him direct, as early as in 1846, 
I think, or in 1847. These were a noble clutch of birds. They all had the 
heav}' leg-feathering, ajid were genuine imported stock. They were not bred by 
him with any special care as to mating, for the producing of particular colon's 
of chickens, at that early time, however ; and Mr. Marsh, at first having but 
one cock, which was a superb light red and buff, bred him to all the hens 
promiscuously. The result was, that, though all the true characteristics of 
the China race were in a positive degree reproduced and maintained in the 
progeny, the color became uncertain and various, — from rich golden yellow 
to dark brown, with the intermediate shadings and markings of partridge and 
grouse-colored birds, first and last. They were large, well-formed, magnifi- 
cent specimens of the China variety, nevertheless, and enjoyed for many 
years a reputation whi^h subsequent importations did not interfere with, how- 
ever fine they came. 

The Forbes Shanghaes came into Boston, direct from Shanghae also, in 


the year 1848, — brought home by Capt. E. B. Forbes, after whom this strain 
was named. They were beautiful birds too, but of a peculiar tint in color. 
The hens were a pale drab, or silvery cinnamon hue, while the cock was of 
a light reddish dominique, or marbled tint ; and for years after their arrival 
in America this importation bred, through generation after generation, drab 
pullets and light reddish dominique cocks, almost invariably. The Forbes 
fowls were frequently called " Yellow Shanghaes," in those days ; but the 
color of the original birds was precisely what I have described it, and it was 
quite different from what we afterwards knew as the Yellow or Buff Shanghaes, 
— as in the cases of the Gushing importation at Kingston, Mass., and those of 
S. A. Drake, known as the Eev. Mr. Missionary Brown's stock. They bred 
the full-feathered leg uniformly, and for a long period enjoyed a deservedly 
liigh reputation as first-class stock, in all respects. 

The Cushing importation also came into America from Shanghae. These 
were of a bright golden color, hens and cocks ; the latter being the most bril- 
liant, truly "flame-colored" cast of plumage I ever met with, in my experi- 
ence with the Shanghae race. They ran out shortly, however, or were crossed 
with others, and were seen but for a year or two in their purity, when the old 
stock disappeared altogether, as did the Palmer, and Cope strains. 

A general description given in 1849, 1850, of the best Shanghae -fowls, will be 
found to closely correspond with the character of the birds at the present time 
universally called " Cochins," of which the drawing (page 23) is an admirable 
representation, but which name, as in the instance of " Brahma," in late years 
commonly given to the Gray Shanghaes, is a misnomer, as I shall show as we 
proceed; albeit there is no valid objection to the establishment of both these 
later cognomens, nevertheless, since it is the fashion now-a-days ; and every- 
body assents to these changes from the original true title. 

Their legs, in the early time, " were uniformly stout, usually of a bright 
reddish yellow, sometimes nearly flesh-colored ; and, for the most part, the 
limbs below the hook were very heavily feathered. Their general plumage 
was of a brilliant yellow or gold-color, variegated and ' pencilled ' with black, 
dark brown, or red. The tail was short and upright; body squarely formed; 
wings small and tucked up high ; legs, when young, rather long for beauty ; 
head full sized ; comb single, upright, and serrated ; feathers rather fine and 
downy than otherwise, — and, altogether, they were a large, fine, showy 
fowl, as then described by Bement, Dixon, Kerr, and Dr. Bennett." 




CRAY siiANGiiAE COCK; BUK>'irAM's STOCK, ISo'^. {Drawn by H, Weir.) 

Tlie Brown, or Drake fowls, as tlie^y were more commonly called, came into 
Massachusetts from the city of Shanghae originally, in the year 1846. The 


Rev. Mr. Brown was a missionary to China, as was Rev. C. B. Marsh, also, 
of West Roxburj, Mass. Mr. Brown resided in China some ten years, and 
thought his opportunity' to select good birds was the best. He affirmed that 
the natives prized those he brought to America upon his return home, above 
all other varieties in that couutrjr ; and they were very choice specimens for 
those days. The editor of " The Massachusetts Ploughman " wrote of these 
Brown's Shanghaes in 1849, "We saw some of these fine birds sold at the first 
Boston exhibition at as high as )|13.00 the pair; and we were told that a few 
were sold for $18.00 a pair." At tliis early period these figures were con- 
sidered enormous. Within four years from the time when this paragraph was 
written, a pair of my Grai/ Shanghaes, sent to England to John Baily, Esq., 
of London, were sold at the Birmingham Exhibition, after taking first prize 
there, for $500.00 ; and in that j'ear, and subsequently, one to two hundred 
dollars for a pair oi good Shanghaes was not an uncommon price. 

The uniformity in the size of the chickens bred in America during the first 
few seasons after the introduction of the Shanghaes here, was very remarka- 
ble ; and this alone established the fact tliat the stock was, beyond cavil, a 
distinct race of birds. The weights of adult specimens at that time did not 
average so great as has frequentl}' been since attained by American fanciers 
quite generallj^ Seventeen to nineteen pounds per pair, cock and hen, at 
twelve months old, was formerly very fair and quite satisfactory. Hundreds 
of birds were raised wliose weight per pair did not reach these figures, though 
it not infrequently happened, as time went hj, to hear reports of "a big 
Shanghae cock" in the hands of Mr. A, B, C, or D, somewhere, that drew 
fourteen, fifteen, sixteen pounds alone. I never saw the fowl that would take 
down the steelyard at this latter weight, though others affirm — 'Lewis Wright 
among these vouchers for the marvellous — that " single cocks have been bred 
weighing over eighteen pounds ; but this is not a common occurrence." I 
should say not ! 

The early Shanghaes, of all colors, were excellent layers. Hundreds of 
veritable instances could be quoted from the accounts constantly being pub- 
lished in the press during 1848 to 185.5, of the extraordinary fertility of these 
hens. The Marsh, Forbes, and Burnham Shanghaes were notably good lay- 
ers. The pullets commenced laying at sis to seven months old generally, 
though manj' instances occurred of their beginning to lay at five or five and a 
half months. This is the fair average with the " Cochins " of to-day ; and upon 


this topic, in " The Massachusetts Ploughman " of 18 19, I find an article of 
mine, contributed to that journal on this subject, which I reproduce here, 
that gives a verj- fair description of these fowls as I saw them more than 
twenty-five years since. The reader will perceive that the " Cochins " of our 
time are pretty accurately described in this extract, written by the author of 
this present volume a quarter of a century ago : — 

'•I am confident that the Shangliae fowls are confounded with the Cochin 
Oiiiias : and I think that some persons who have the stock, call both by this 
name. We have not had the Shaiighaes in America long enough yet, nor is 
the distinction sufficiently well known, I imagine, to determine between the 
real Shanghae and the Cochin Chinas we nowhave here, and more commonly 
called by this last name, /make the distinction on the ground that my im- 
ported Shanghaes (and I have now three different varieties, from different 
sources) are a// heavily feathered upon the legs, while my "Cochin China 
fowls, which I consider possess all the good points that any specimens classed 
under that name do, have no feathers on the legs. The Shanghaes come from 
the extreme north of China, fifteen hundred miles up the coast. The 'Cochin 
Chinas,' now so called, it is said originated in a country of that name m a 
far more southerly latitude." 

(These two locations can be seen upon reference to the map, on page 15.) 
The theorij we all held to at that early period was, in substance, that nature 
provided for the northern fowls, where the climate was coldest, this coating 
or leg-feathering as a protection to the elongated shanks of the Shanghaes; 
while the "Cochin Chinas " (represented in those years bj' the Queen's stock, 
thus ??u'.':named), it was said, came from this extreme southern province of 
Chinese territory, and did not need this feature in their formation. But all 
this was mcrehj theory, and had no basis, as we shall see anon. 

The article from which I quote (and which was deemed of sufficient im- 
portance at the time to be transferred entire to the pages of Dr. John C. 
Bennett's " Poultry Book,'' published in 1S50-'51, by Phillips & Sampson, at 
Boston,) continues thus : " There are very few, if any, bona fide Shanghae 
fowls at present for sale in this region. Hundreds of so-called ' Shanghaes ' 
are offered every week ; but this breed is now altogether too rare, and the real 
' Simon Pure ' will readily command too high a price at private sale, for these 
genuine birds to be very common at present. The coming year there will be 
more of them. And for the farmer, the poulterer, the breeder, or the 


fancier, I consider this fowl, in its purity, one of the most economical and 
most profitable of all the known large breeds extant." 

Dr. Bennett's work, in 1850, is embellished with handsome illustrations, 
drawn from life, of my Shanghae fowls, of which the drawing on p. 24 is 
pretty accurate, though at that period it was difficult to find engravers who 
could so artistically portray our birds as do those who succeeded the earlier 
draughtsmen of domestic poultry. 

From Dixon and Kerr's " Ornamental and Domestic Poultry Book," pub- 
lished in Philadelphia in 1850-'51, I extract the following account of my 
Shanghaes, imported in 1849, and communicated by me to that work : — 

"From my own importations, last season, I have bred several very fine 
specimens of pure Shanghaes, uniform in color and characteristics, remarka- 
bly heavy for their ages — the cocks, at five to six months old, drawing eight 
and a half to nine pounds, and pullets of same age, five and a half to six and 
a half pounds each, live weight." ..." They are short-legged, heavy-bodied, 
handsomely plumed, and among the best layers I have ever met with." . . . 
" I have never seen their equals for laying early. The Shanghaes commence 
to lay at six months old ; they are very prolific, lay large eggs, and a great 
many of them." . . . "All things considered, they are certainly a very valuar 
ble species of domestic fowl, and I am highly pleased with them." ..." I 
have now on the way, direct from Shanghae and Canton, two fresh lots, from 
which, with the stock I have now reserved, I shall breed another year. These 
last fowls were ordered by me a year ago." ..." For all the purposes of a < 
really good fowl, whether I speak of beautj' of model, good size, or laying 
qualities, I deem the thorough-bred Shanghaes among the very best and 
generally most profitable of domestic birds." 

This standard poultry book of that period describes the true Slianghae fowl 
imported and bred in those early j'ears, 1847, '48, '49, '50, precisely to cor- 
respond in features with the so-called " Cochins" of to-day, in detail — from 
" single upright, serrated comb," to " heavily feathered legs down to the tips 
of toes." And the authors conclude their minute description of this fowl, 
then coming into general favor everywhere, as being "fully plumed with soft 
downy feathering, in size of great proportions, quiet and docile in temper, 
wonderful layers, making flesh rapidly from chickenhood, and we know not 
of a better. In truth, we may say of the Shanghae, as the pious Isaac Walton 
was wont to say of the trout, his favorite dish: 'God certainly might have 

snAxonAE, cocnix, brahma. 31 

made ^ better fish, but certaiul}- he never did.' So of the pure unadulterated 
Shanghae fowl."' 

Upon page 13 will be seen another early engraving of these yellow Shang- 
haes, which will show what the general form and appearance of this stock 
was in 1S49, '50, "51. By domestication in England, as well as in this coun- 
try, and through subsequent care in mating and selection, improvement in 
the form, a notable development of the shape, and greatly enhanced propor- 
tions in this variety, were soon realized among us. The various strains were 
bred together, from time to time, thus introducing and interminsline fresh 
blood among them all, and increasing their general size and desirable good 
qualities, remarkably ; though for a long time none of us considered color an 
important matter — so that the progeny of our increasing flocks sustained 
the otherwise general characteristics of the Chinese race ; for, out of all these 
earliest importations, there came every shade of yellow, red, buff, drab, light 
cinnamon, brown, bronze, and almost or quite black chickens, — first or last, 
— and no one then deemed this result either strange, or inappropriate. TVe 
changed all that in the later years of our experience, of course. 

In Eev. W. Wingfield's "London Poultry Book," a splendidly illustrated 
octavo issued in 1853, and subsequently in 1867 re-issued under the editor- 
ship of W. B. Tegetmeier, F.Z.S., jyppear numerous large and finely-colored 
chromo likenesses of noted Chinese fowls, among other choice illustrations ; 
*at that time each being designated, in the title-line below these beautiful pic- 
tures, as "Uliite Shanghae, Bufi" Shanghae, Lemon Shanghae, Partridge 
Shanghae. &c. In the later edition of this choice work, the same jjlates are 
used to adorn it (under charge of Mr. Tegetmeier) ; but in each title, under- 
neath these pictures, the word "Cochin" is substituted for the original ap- 
pellation. The birds are the same, however, precisely ; and similar fine 
illustrations of my original Gray Shanghaes are portrayed among the rest, 
and are there denominated Light and Dark "Brahmas," to correspond with 
the improved nomenclature of our time, and in conformity with the established 
names for the China fowls adopted in the English and American " Standards." 
Erom the Kev. !Mr. Wingfield's 1853 edition of this work, we extract the fol- 
lowing information about the then called " Shanghaes." In reference to the 
history and name of this variety of the China species, the author says, — 

" There is a doubt, which had better be removed at the very threshold. 



conveyed in the question, 'Are Cochin China and Shanghae fowjs the 
same?' We have always entertained the opinion that they are; and since, 
we have invarlahly found that fowls imported from China, feathered or plam- 
legged, dark-plumed or light, came hither, directly or indirectly, either from 

BURNHA:M'S first dark gray SIIANGIIAE hen, sent to ENGLAND. (1853.) 

Shanghae or its immediate vicinity, we have long since concluded that 
' Cochin China ' is a name altogether mwapplied to this variety. This con- 
clusion amounts to conviction, since we have received a letter from Mr. 
Robert Fortune, who has passed so many years in various parts of China, in 
which he says, — 

SHAyaiiAE, cocni2f, brauma. 33 

'' 'The man wlio first gave these fowls the name of "Cochin Cliinas '' has 
mnoh to answer for. I firmly believe that what are termed "Cochins''' and 
'' i'h'.i II ij lines" are one and the y(7»(«. One thing is certain : the breed you 
have in England now called "Cochin Chinas" are plentiful in and around 
i^hanghae. They were discovered there soon after the war, and were fre- 
quently brought to England by captains of trading vessels. What grounds 
lias any one for supposing these fowls ever saic Cochin China? This is a 
breed little known in the warmer country about Canton. In fact, the South- 
ern Chinese people were as much struck with the size of this breed as Eng- 
lishmen were. The '• Shanghaes " seem to be more common about Shanghae 
than anywhere else in the north of China. The Southern breeds have long 
been known both to shipmasters and English residents; but there is noth- 
ing marked in the character of the Southern China birds.' " 

At the early English poultry-show at the Zoological Gardens, London, in 
1S45, prizes were oflered for " Malays and other Asiatic breeds." These offers 
drew to the exhibition no Eastern variety, except the long-time known 
Malays. Eev. Mr. Wingfield remarks upon this fact, that '■ at that time 
the Shanghaes were unknown to the society." Xo extended published notice 
of Chinese birds occurred in England until 1845 or '46, although the Queen's 
fowls, sent her by the British ambassador in China soon after the close of 
the war there, reached England in 1844. These remarkable fowls (called 
"Cochin Chinas'') were exhibited by Her ^Majesty at Dublin first, in 1846. 
Tet Dickson, the English poultry author of that time, in his noted work pub- 
lished in 1847 makes no allusion even to the Queen's fine fowls. Messrs. Moody 
of Droxford, and Sturgeon of Grays, were the first prominent possessors of 
the Shanghaes in England, to both of whose importations we have already 
referred on a.^jrevious page. From these two consignments came all tTie 
earlier English birds of this species, bred for many years on the other side 
of the Atlantic. Referring to the Queen's China fowls, we will add here, 
that (/'the name "Cochin China" were ever appropriately applied to any 
of these birds, it more piroperly belonged to that single imj)ortation than to 
any other known ; since these were smooth-legged, and of a difi'erent forma- 
tion entirelv, as we shall show in another place, when we come to the 
" Cochin " portion of our present book. 

The Chinese attach no more importance to purity of color, or to accuracy 
in breeding, than do our own farmers all over this country with their barn- 


door fowls. Indeed, it is notorious that there are no " poultry fanciers," as 
ive recognize this term, at all in China. Large fowls and large eggs are what 
the barbarians aim for. They are very careless in breeding poultry, alto- 
gether; and to this circumstance are we indebted for the various colors of the 
progeny of even the " imported birds " we get from that clime. Their fowls 
are permitted to run all together, and have thus been bred for centuries. 
The prevailing natural color of these birds is from pale yellow to dark brown. 
The pure White and Black varieties are rarities, it is averred, upon Chinese 
soil ; and the Grays are very scarce there : so our own friends inform us, 
whom we have interested to make search for us more than once, when they 
have left this shore for the other, with our urgent orders to bring back, if 
possible, upon their return, a fresh batch of the Grays, which have become so 
IJopular in the past twenty years here and in England. 

And may we not just here appropriately refer to the remarkable fact 
(wherever the original Light and Dark " Gi'ay Shanghaes," at present called 
Brahmas, came from in the first instance), that never since 1849 and 1850, 
from any country, in any ship, to any port in England or America, has a 
second clutch of these beautiful Grays chanced to reach the shores of the 
Western Continent ? 

In all our "importations," in all our purchases, in all our chance posses- 
sions of Chinese, Eastern, India, Calcutta, or Malay birds, never once since 
the introduction by G. P. Burnham of the Gray Shanghaes to notice in 
America, in 1849 and 1850, have we had any more of them. If this variety 
were so "plentiful in India" as Lewis Wrigh't asserts they are and have 
been, and if the very doubtful statement of his quoted " East Indian 
officer" had any real foundation in fact, ivhy have we not had a few more 
of the original " up the Brahmapootra" birds, either in England or America, 
during all the long years that have elapsed since Burnham's early two 
importations of Gray Shanghaes in 1849 and 1850 were shown to the public, 
from which seven fowls have descended direct, in Great Britain and the 
United States, the myriads of Light and Dark Brahmas (now thus called) 
to-day in possession of the thousands of breeders, fanciers, and poulterers 
throughout the world ? 

The fallacious theory of Lewis Wright — that all the multitudes of ^^ight 
and Dark Brahma fowls now in existence, and the other myriad of Brahmas 


A3 brel by J. M. Wade and W. E. b'lower, Penn. ; Messrs. Plaisted, Stoddard, Ca-pen(er, etc., Conn. 
Messrs. S^urtevant, Willi.ams, Comey, Felch, Buzzeil, and others, Mass , 1874 


which have had their birth within the last twenty-five years, in both 
America^ and England, " have been derived from the ' one pair ' introduced 
into Connecticut by Mr. Chamberlin " — is too ridiculous for a moment's 
serious consideration. That so many hundreds of thousands of birds, so 
like each other in all their chief features of color, size, form, and commci 
characteristics, coifW have been produced from a single cock and hen and 
their progeny, onlij ; or that for a quarter of a century, without the slightest 
deterioration in any important particular, one pair of fowls and their de- 
scendants could have been bred thus in-and-in, in the hands of thousands of 
difterent persons on both sides of the Atlantic, to result thus accurately in 
feather, shape, proportions, and rare quality, — is simply one of the natural 
impossibilities. Therefore do I claim that the union of my original pair of 
Gray Shanghaes in 1849, re-enforced with the fresh, strong, native blood 
of my second lot of five Grays from Shanghae direct in 1850, more clearly 
and reasonably a hundred-fold demonstrates that out of those birds come 
the progeny which have been the fathers and mothers of the multiplied 
numbers of so-called Light and Dark " Brahmas " which have been pro- 
duced within the last two decades of years, in England and America. 

Now, I contend that this is a very extraordinary fact. And upon this point 
well may the talented correspondent of Miss Watts's London " Poultry 
Yard " exclaim, " There has, then, been no introduction of fresh blood. 
Marvellous birds they are, to go on with so little appearance of degeneracy ; 
and it speaks much for the purity of the breed : for, were they made up of 
a cross, they would certainly throw back." There has been no need for 
crossing this fowl. They were all evidently of pure Chinese extraction. 
Their " pedigree " dates back clearly to 1849 and 1850, their nativity to 
China; and to-day the Gray Shanghaes breed as they did in 1851, '52, '53. 
and afterwards. They are marvellous, indeed ; and we have none of us ever 
since imported any others of the species ! Which is quite as "marvellous" a 
fact as is the other. 

Like the imported Buff, the Red, the Brown, or the Partridge, already 
described, the Gray Shanghaes continue to breed their like, uninterruptedly. 
And in the year 1874, at the Boston, Hartford, and Buffalo exhibitions 
(especially at the two first-named shows), the identical form, color, stjde, 
shape, and general characteristics of this " marvellous " race were seen in 
the birds there shown, as we of " ye olden time " have seen them by scores 



and hundreds in the days when we bore away the palm over all competitors, 
with our splendid adult samples of this unique variety of Shanghaes. 

The White Shanghae is another variety of this fowl, which deservedly 
has hosts of ardent admirers. The first of this species within our re- 
membrance were in possession of Geo. E. White, Esq, of the firm of Parker 


and White, Boston. These are portrayed in Dr. Bennett's work (1850), and 
are there described as an exquisitely beautiful variety of Shanghaes, — pure 
white in color, and formed precisely similar to the Yellow and Red varieties, 
better known among fanciers at that period. Mr. T. Thorpe of Cambridge, 
Mass., imported, or purchased of the importer, the first of this race we had 
in those days in Boston. We present a picture of a cock and hen of this 
.variety, which represents them very fairly. They partake of all the charac- 


toristics of the genuine Slianghae species, in a marked degree, except the 
cliango in color. They are a beautiful fowl in every respect, and have many 
favorites among the fancy. At the present time, the White Shanghae is very 
perfectly bred all over this country, and many strains have been vastly im- 
proved in size since the early importations. Fine samples have been sent out 
to us from England, also, in the past few years, — such as were never before 
seen in this country, so far as the average weight and proportions of this 
variety are considered. Mr. Mark Pitman, of Salem, has a superior strain. 

The introduction of Wliite Shanghaes into Great Britain is traceable to the 
breeds of the Dean of Worcester, and Mr. Herbert of Powick. At this 
period (lS51-'52) there were but very few in England, and large prices were 
paid for good specimens for breeding purposes. Now they are plentiful in 
• that country, where they are bred to great perfection. They are not gen- 
erally considered so hardy as are other colored Shanghaes ; and the chickens 
are usually more difficult to raise than the others. Nor do they reach the 
weights of either the Grays or the Buffs. Mr. Bowman of Penzance, Eng., 
has, however, succeeded in raising a good many magnificent White Shang- 
haes, and his strain is very popular, as are Mr. Todd's, of Ohio, also. 

The Black Shanghae is less common among us than any other variety. 
In 1850, at the time we obtained through Wm. T. Porter from Shanghae 
our second lot of Light Gray birds, we found 'an excellent trio (cock and two 
hens) of the Black variety; which, with the five Light Grays then obtained, 
and a splendid trio of Dark brown birds, we took to Melrose to breed. The 
Black ones bred true to the originals, and were of the best color (for their 
dusky metallic hue) that we ever saw. We did not fancy them greatly, how- 
ever, and bred them only one or two seasons. We give portraits of the 
Black birds here ; and it will be seen that, excepting the change of color, 
a"-ain, they represent the same formed fowl, from beak to toes, — the true 
Shanghae, though ebony-hued. 

For several years, through the adoption of this title in England by the 
poultry societies and clubs, all these different colored Shanghaes have come 
to be called " Cochins ; " and under this name only are they now recognized 
in the Standards on both sides of the water. This is quite as well ; though, 
as Mr. Kobert Fortune insists, " this stock never saw Cochin China," and 
what we all now call " Cochins," in England and America, are in reality 
but the true northern Shanghae race. 



But a correspondent in a late American poultry journal puts this point 
sensibly. He says, '• For my part, I prefer to see men up with the times, 
who have an ' axe to grind ' in coming to the front as breeders of to-daij, of 
fowls as they are nou; not the auticpated breeds of thirty years ago." 



Correct ! This is good doctrine ; and to this, even we old 'uns will all 
respond " Amen ; " while, at the same time, the "few varieties " of Chinese 
fowls (alluded to by this writer), known in the antiquated time of 1847 to 
1852, have not been increased, I notice, by the receipt of any one additional 
or netv variety from that heathen land. We still have the White, the Buff, 
the Drab, the Silver Cinnamon, the Gray, the Yellow, the Partridge, the 


Grouse, and the Black ; and all these gentlemen^ who are so commendably 
"up with the times," are now breeding from the very identical stock in their 
" modern experience '' that we ancient fogies " imported and exported and 
wrote books about," in the "antiquated days of twenty or thirty years ago." 
This early stock Arts been improved somewhat in the later time ; and no- 
body need now object to the change in its name to suit the modern fancy, 
since the Shanghae fowl itself has never yet been changed materially in its 
general good qualities and characteristics, and probably never will be. It 
was good enourjh originally : it is good enough now. We will now call it 
" CocHix," therefore, contentedly, and herein follow, where in the " days 
lang syne " we led. Still this fowl remains unchanged, although some later 
writers assume that both the Brahmas and the Cochins are an entirely difi'er- 
ent variety from the Shanghaes. 

Mere theories, like those of Lewis Wright, may be promulgated, and these 
may be rendered plausible by argument. But recorded facts cannot be 
ignored ; and in connection with this point let me quote briefly from the 
report of the judges of the old New-England Poultry Society, made at their 
third and fourth exhibitions in Boston, Mass. This exhibition was a fine 
one, and the entries were very large. The Committee of Judges say,, offi- 
cially, " At this Boston show, the best and most faultless descriptions of. 
Eed and Buff Shanghaes were shown by Geo. P. Burnbam, Esq., of Melrose. . 
And, of the Cochin Chinas, the specimens exhibited by G. P. Burnham were 
each and all notable, and worthy of public appreciation." This in May, 
1852. At the last show of this Society, where I did not enter any fowls for 
premium, but only on exhibition, which came off the same, year (1852) in 
the fall, the judges, in their published report, call attention to the fact that 
among the numerous fowls exhibited this season, as upon former occasions 
(noticeably in 1850 and 1851), a very unnecessary practice seems to have 
obtained in the ?»isnaming of varieties, and recommend a close adherence 
hereafter to recognized titles only. 

In this connection they allude to cases in point. " The largest and unques- 
tionably owe of the finest varieties of fowls ever shown among us, was entered 
by the owner of this variety as Chittagong.* Other coops of the very same 

* These were the old Graj' Shanghae pair I sold to Dr. Bennett. Entered at this sliow 
by G. "W. George of HaverhUl, to whom the Doctor sold them, after he bred them one 
season. They were first sho^'^l by me, in 1849, at Boston. 


stock were labelled Gray Cliittagongs ; * others wore called Bralinia-Poo- 
tras ; f others, from the same original birds, % were Gray Sliapghaes, &c. 
Your Committee are divided in opinion as to what these birds ought right- 
fully be called ; though the majority of the Committee have no idea that 
'Brahma-Pootra ' is their correct title. Several cages contained specimens 
positively known to have come direct from Shanghae, § and none are known 
to have come originally from anywhere else. Nevertheless, it is thought , 
proper to leave this question open for the present; and the Committee accept 
for them the title of Gray Shanghae, Chittagong, or ' Brahma-Pootra,' as 
different breeders may elect, for the present, admitting that they are really a 
very superior bird, and will be found decidedly tlio most valuable among all 
the large Chinese fowls, of which they are clearly a very good variety." 

This, mark, in the spring and fall of 1S52, at the Boston Fowl Shows, 
where I did not enter the first fowl for competition. And, farther on iu this 
Committee of Judges' Report (above quoted from), the following extracts are 
to the point : — 

" Samples of the China stock, imported originally from SliangJiae, were 
very plentiful on this occasion, and very superior fowls, bred from G. P. 
]5urnham's importations, were numerous, and were sold in four or five instan- 
ces at the verj^ highest prices paid for any samples disposed of." Among 
the premiums awarded, as per report, at this fourth show (in 1852), were the 
" first prizes for best trio, to H. H. Williams (Bundiam's stock) ; first for 
best cock and hen, to Chas. Sampson (Burnham's stock) ; second and third 
prizes to Williams, same (Bnrnham's stock) ; a first prize to C. C. Plaisted, 
for ' Hong Kong ' fowls, then so call(5d by contributor (from J iurnham's 
stock) ; to A. White, six best chickens (Burnham's stock) ; to same, for best 
Cochin cock and hen, first prize (Burnham's stock) ; to Williams, West 
Roxbury, best trio of Cochins, first premium (Burnham's stock) ; to A. 
White, East Randolph, for best Cochin chickens, first (Burnham's stock)," &c. 

* These were calleil Cornisli fowls, cnntributed by Hatcli of Coiinectic.iit; and very 
jijood oiiea they were too, hut all young birds. 

t Those were Dr. Bennett's first ones, bred from my old ]'hiladolpliia Grays, which I 
sold him tlie previous year. Shown tlie second time. 

} These were my I>ight and Dark Gray fowls, and their progeny. 

§ Tliese were my oldest imported Grays, and other fowls. 


All this is somewhat of a personal character ; but I am now writing of the 
old days, of events in chicken-history that occurred over twenty years since. 
Prom the above data, it will bo seen that several months prior to the time 
(December, 1852,) when I shipped the mature "Gray Shanghaes " to Her 
Majesty, Queen Victoria, to wit, in the spring of 1852, I exhibited old Shang- 
hae fowls, and their progeny three, two, and one year old. In the fall of the 
same year, my patrons, who had bred fowls from Cochin or Shanghae chick- 
ens, or eggs purchased of me in 1850, 1851, carried away all the leading pre- 
miums with this young stock of the Grays, Keds, Buffs, &c. ; and not until the 
year 1852 (in September) had the proper name of this fine stock been called 
in question. It was rightfully " Shanghae." But from and after this show 
began the contest that resulted in naming this much-maligned race " Brah- 
mas " and " Cochins," of difterent colors ; though I continued to call m>j stock 
" Shanghaes " for many years afterwards. 

Englishmen (through the Queen's Chinese fowls) had, previously to this 
time, for four or five years, been breeding what i/iey called " Cochin Chinas ; " 
and this name had come to be accepted by the Society members and British 
poultry clubs as " tlie thing, you know," in the course of a few years later. 
Meantime, early American breeders of the Marsh, Forbes, and Burnham 
Shanghaes had begun to find a very good market in England for selected 
samples of these strains, and especially of the Gray Shanghaes ; and Dr. Ben- 
nett, Mr. Plaisted, Capt. Williams, W. Buckminster, and myself sent hun- 
dreds of pairs and trios of this Shanghae stock abroad, to the delight and 
astonishment of the fanciers in Great Britain. 

It has been lately stated, I observe, that in 1854 and 1857 some importa- 
tions of fowls were made into England direct from Shanghae, — Partridge- 
colored, I think. But the English breeders persisted in calling the Gray 
Shanghaes they got from America (as they did these last-named birds from 
that port) Cochins, or Brahmas. No longer Cochin Chinas as at first, never 
latterly Shanghaes (what they were), but Cochins or Brahmas, they said. 
And to-day "so say we all;" though I had always contended for the one true 
name " Shanghaes " of different colors. 

The Shanghaes have been fearfully abused and maligned — on paper — in 
past years. They were called homely, gawky, ravenous, clumsy, ill-favored, 
long-legged monsters ; and though everybody was at once astonished and 


interested, in greater or less degree, at this novelty among chickens when it 
appeared, but few fanciers took hold of it at first with any zeal. The breed 
worked its own way, hSwever ; and after a year or two, despite the abuse and 
ridicule and nicknaming heaped upon it privately and publicly, it came to 
be largely sought for; and a rare furore eventually succeeded, to obtain good 
samples of these Shanghaes in England, as well as all over this country. 

Now, the originally imported Shanghae fowl, of different colors (not the 
original Queen's Cochin Chinas), was in no particular different from the so- 
denominated Cochin of to-day. The requirements of the Standards here and 
in England describe the same points possessed by the early birds, almost pre- 
cisely ; and old breeders, who have watched the progress in poultry "improve- 
ments " here and abroad for twenty-five years, know this. But 

" What's in a name? That which we call a rose, 
By any other name would smell as sweet." 

I notice in Mr. Wright's latest work on poultry that Mr. Cornish, under 
date of a letter to Col. Weld in 1869, states (among other gross inaccuracies 
in said letter) that "in 1850 the name 'Brahmapootra' was established.'" 
And farther on, Mr. Wright says that " this was the stock fostered by Mr. 
Cornish and Dr. Bennett." But in Dr. Bennett's own " Poultry Book," pub- 
lished in Boston in 1850, the name of Brahma or Brahmapootra is not 
alluded to, once ; while my original Philadelphia (Dr. J. J. Kerr) " Gray Shang- 
haes," then called by Drs. Kerr and Bennett " Chittagongs " (precisely as 
Cornish calls his stock, in his March 2d, 1852, letter), are both finely illus- 
trated, and are fully described by Bennett, see pp. 26, 27, 28, as "perfect 
samples," "remarkable for size and beauty," "the first among domestic 
varieties of fowls," " the trite gallus giganteus," and they " excite astonish- 
ment and admiration in all fowl fanciers who behold them," &c. At the 
close of this book — last page — Dr. Bennett adds, "It will be observed that 
the descriptions in this work begin with Mr. Burnham's imperial Gray Chit- 
tagong," &c. Now, if (as Cornish says) this'" Brahma" name was "estab- 
lished in 1850," why does not Dr. Bennett (who originated it) somewhere in 
his extensive " Poultry Book " mention it ? Mr. Cornish or his fowls, of 
course, were not then known to anybody ; for Bennett was the first man in 
America to broach this subject of a new-fangled name for the fine Gray 


Shfinghae birds ; ami AVriglit admits tliia. This is but another mistalte of 
Cornish's, in the date of the year. And one word more upon tliis point: — 

As far forward from this time as ib 1854, the judges at the National Exhi- 
bition in New Yorlc, in their official report on that Show, say, " Though we 
have been governed by the nomenclature in the lists, we by no means assent 
to it as a proper classification. Shanghae and Cochin are convertible terms; 
but Brahmapootra is a name for a sub-variety of Shanghaes, plainlj'." And 
"we earnestly insist that all ridiculous, unmeaning aliases tor fowls be aban- 
doned, and a simple, truthful classification in name be strictly observed in 
the future,"' &c. Compare this with my quotations above from the Bo.ston 
judges' report in 1852, and then let anj'body deflare, if they can truthfully, 
that •' this name ' Brahma ' was estahli-shed in 1850." 

This, of course, could not be. But I shall explain this point further, in my 
future pages. I allude to it here, because it is the Shanghae fowl that I 
have now been Yriting of, of different colors — the Gray variety among this 
class — whose name the " Tichborne claimants" of 1852, 1853 (sustained 
by Lewis Wright's sophistical theon/j, have for years been busy in changing 
from its true title, transforming it from the original to the modern names. 

Thus we maj' learn, that in spite of all the changes from time to time that 
have occurred in the nomenclature of the China fowl, the bird itself remains 
the same that first came into England or America from the principal port of 
the Chinese Empire. For years, as I have already stated, no one could 
declare with any confidence that "Shanghaes" were not "Cochins," or vice 
versa. At that early period in chicken-raising in the United States, very 
few persons knew any thing of the real facts about this race ; and we begun 
to ape the Britons with the " Cochin China " title, as the most euphonious. 
But when importation after importation arrived here, and all of these came 
from Shanghae onhj, we commenced to learn to "call things by their right 

And this brings us to consider the so-called CocAm variety, by itself, in 
another chapter. 


The " Cochin China " fowl, as it was originally known in England and in 
the United States, was altogether a different bird, in shape and characteris- 
tics generally, from what is denominated at the present day "Cocuin" by 
societies and poultry fanciers of our time. This bird originated in China, 
however; the first (and only exact) samples of which were procured at 
Shanghae, and were shipped from that coast-port direct to England in a 
British government vessel, soon after the close of the war in that country 
(when the Chinese trading-ports were first opened to British and other 
foreign commerce), by the then resident English ambassador to the Chinese 
court, as a present to Pier Majesty, Queen Victoria. 


As we liave already stated in these pages, these birds were really smooth- 
legged Slianghao fowls. Still their precise origin is involved in mystery 
not unlike that clabnedhy certain parties regarding the early history of the 
" Brahmapootras," so far as anything has ever been vouchsafed to tlie public 
in actual detail. Her Majesty was known to evince a lively interest in 
poultry matters at the '' Homo Farm," Windsor, however, as did his Royal 
Highness Albert, the late Prince-Consort, in agricultural affairs. And the 
British minister in 1843 secured what lie- supposed unquestionably to be a 
very choice lot of the colossal poultry of China, which he sent to London 
for the Queen's world-renowned aviary. 

Now, it is very clear that, whatever may have been the good quality of this 
ambassador's general talents, and his profundity as a statesman, he evidently 
possessed very slight knowledge of the points or excellences of what fanciers 
would call good poultry ; pre-S^lpposing that this distinguished diplomatist 
had an3' choke presented him in the selection of the birds he thus sent from 
China to his que'an. For, as we may readily see by examining the authen- 
tic illustration by Harrison Weir (in 1844), which is transferred to our 
pages from "The London Illustrated News," of a trio of the "famous 
Queen's Cochins " (see opposite page), these long-legged, smooth-shanked, 
gawky gallinaceous representatives from the Celestial dominions were really 
any thing but what would be esteemed, by the veriest amateur, a desirable 
acquisition for his poultry-yard, in our day. Still the monstrous proportions 
of these fowls astonished the people of England vastly ; and the English 
illustrated journals were shortly occupied with pictures and accounts of these 
giant chickens, which were a huge novelty to Messrs. John Bull. 

They were wonderful in dimensions and carriage, extraordinary layers 
(Mr. Walters, the Queen's poultry-keeper, verifying some one's curious state- 
ment that "the hens laid two eggs in a day frequently, and sometimes 
three"); they were hardy, flame-colored, very quiet, and altogether were a 
most valuable acquisition to the poultry of the Old Country, as everybody, 
on sight of them, admitted. These "Cochins" were perfectly smooth-legged; 
and Harrison Weir's pictures of them in " The London Illustrated News," 
" by ro3'al permission," were very accurate portraits of this rare consignment, , 
which at that time (1844) were described as belonging to the family of the 
Otis tarda, or Great Bustard, from their kindred formation and immense 
size, — though this early notion was erroneous, also. 



Ql'EEX VICTORIA'S OEKilXAL " OOCUIN CKIXAS." {Drawn hy Harrison Weir, 1844.) 


I read these accounts, saw the engravings in the London papers, and in 
18-48 sent to England for half a dozen of thoni. The Queen presented a prize 
pair to Lord Heytsbur3', then lord-lieutenant of Ireland ; and he sent them 
to J. Joseph Nolan of Bachelor's Walk, Dublin, to breed. I communicated 
with Mr. Nolan, and finally purchased two cocks and four pullets of this 
Queen Victoria "Cochin China" stock, which were the first Cochins im- 
ported into America b}- a citizen of the United States, by at least two years 
in point of time. I bred these smooth-legged fowls, with others that I re- 
ceived subsequently from Canton, for several years, and disposed of hundreds 
of fine birds from this stock ; though I never thought them equal to the Gray 
Slianghaes (or Brahmas) by a long mark, from after experience. 

These were the original "Cochins," however. They were so called by the 
English breeders, and this name, for the Queen's stock, was never changed. 
Tr7(y thej' were denominated "Cochin Chinas," no one has ^ver yet been 
able to determine. Certainly they never saw Cochin China ; and nobody in 
that Southern Chinese province ever saw any such fowls there. Mr. For- 
tune, who was for a long time a resident and traveller in the East, says that 
" whoever thus named these birds has much to answer for, since denizens of 
Cochin China said of these fowls, when subsequently seen by them, that 
they astonished those people quite as much as the sight had exercised Eng- 
lishmen." Still these were the first known "Cochin Chinas," — of which, as 
I have stated, I imported the first of their progeny into Massachusetts. 

The Cochins of to-day are heavily feathered upon the legs, as we all know. 
I received from China, fifteen or twenty years ago, three or four different lots 
of variously-colored fowls, most of which were thus feathered to the toes. 
In the case of my Cochins, I called them " Royal Cochin Chinas," to dis- 
tinguish them from the others, — which I denominated White, Bufl^, Brown, or 
Gray Slianghaes, because the latter (with the exception of one lot I imported 
from Canton) all came direct from Shanghae. 

In course of time other parties imported fowls from Engltod or China ; and 
the poultry societies in Great Britain decided upon calling the Chinese fowls 
" Cochins." The American associations followed this lead ; the " standards 
of excellence" discarded the name of Shanghae altogether from their lists; 
and, adopting Dr. Bennett's name for the Grays, and the English style for 
the other colors, we now have only the " Cochins " and " Brahmas" for this 
Chinese stock, which is quite as well, since everybody agrees to it. 


The o;-?'yi«,«Z "Cochin Chinas" imported into Enghmd, and first hrod in 
this country in my yards, were quite unlike tlie present fowls bearing this 
name, as I have briefly stated. The modern "Cochin" is a far better bird 
in all respects. At that early day, however (near thirty years since), the 
first comers were deemed very extraordinary fowls ; and I sent samples of 
these cliickens all over this country, for years afterwards. They have quite 
run out now. I have not seen a smooth-legged " Koyal Cochin " for many 
a day, though for a long period they were popular. 

This / importation of "Cochins" thus came from SliangJiac. As the 
■ original illustration indicates, they were long-neokcd, unfeathered-legged, 
big-tailed, long-shanked, rangy-formed, ill-favored sjjccimens, but of "mon- 
strous proportions " as compared with any fowls previously seen in England. 
They laid huge buflf-colored eggs, and a great many of them. The cocks 
crowed sonorously in " unearthly tones ; " the hens were quiet, indolent, and 
dumpy; and royalty was the first possessor of these outlandish-looking 
birds, which the English public naturally considered a big thing in its way. 

And so it was. This consignment created a wondrous furore among the 
lovers of poultry; and the royal "Cochin Chinas" were the town talk for 
months after their arrival upon British soil. Other Chinese samples followed 
tills importation. Three or four mercliants received clutches of these fowls 
from China subsequently, and these all came with heavily-feathered legs. 
The form of these latter birds was of a more compact description. They 
came shorter in the leg, heavier in the breast, thicker in the thigh, squarer 
in body, broader-backed, and shorter-tailed, while the general (yellow or 
brownish) mlor was similar. The commoners sensibly called thidr fowls 
"Shangliaes" for a time. And then arose the discussion in Ejigland about 
the proper name by which they should be distinguished. Some called them 
" Cochins " (or Cochin Chinas) : others adliored to the more appropriate and 
natural title, — since they came from that port, — " Shanghacs." Thus a 
contest occurred in the newspapers about the proper title for these birds, too, 
which eventuated, after years of talk and argument, pro and con, in agreeing 
upon " Cochin" for the Chinese birds of all colors, as we have it established 

Eeferring to the early poultry work of Dr. J. C. Bennett, published in 
March, 1850 (written in 1849), I extract from pages 45, 46, 47, the annexed 


description of my " Royal Cocliins," the first imported into America, which ' 
were bred in Ireland from tlie Queen's original stock, — of which Dr. Bennett 
publishes an original full-page picture from life, which he thus alludes to: — 

" It is with peculiar satisfaction that I am able to adorn this book with 
the beautiful original portraits which are here presented, of G. P. Burnham's 
importation of Cochin Chinas. They are drawn from life by Mr. Durivage, 
and are engraved by Mr. Marsh, — artists of acknowledged ability and accu- 
rac}'. This representation of Mr. Burnham's fowls is believed to be the only 
correct delineation of tiiis species (then) extant, and I flatter myself will 
henceforth be deemed the standard of comparison. Mr. Burnham's importa- 
tions are the best of any of the Cochin China race that have been brought to 
this country. They are from Mr. Nolan's (of Dublin) stock, and took the 
premium at a late fair in England, while standing at the side of Her 
Majesty's original imported fowls." 

This importation consisted of six fowls, two cocks and four pullets. They 
were raised by J. Joseph Nolan of Dublin, to whom the lord-lieutenant of 
Ireland sent, to breed, the original pair. presented to that dignitary by Her 
Majesty. Out of that stock (the Queen's birds), my Cochins came direct to 
me, into Massachusetts, in 1849 ; and the following description of these birds 
appears in Dr. Bennett's work : — 

" The cocks are very promising in size. The color of one is brown and red, 
the other red and black. The plumage is beautiful, both in the roosters and 
the pullets. The color of three of the latter is generally a yellowish brown " 
(what we should nowadays call partridge-colored) "with black-tipped or 
marked feathering ; the fourth pullet is of a deeper brown. The legs are 
free from feathers, except a slight show on the cocks, and vary in color from 
a reddisli yellow to dark brown. The form of the pullets is unlike any fowls 
I have ever seen ; though there is some general resemblance to the pure 
Dorking. They stand higher in the leg, however. The bodies are symmet- 
rical, but long. The tail is also longer than that of the Shanghae, and is 
very thin and tapering from the rump outwards. The head of these fowls 
is quite small, the combs very small, and there are but slight signs of wat- 
tles, as yet, on the pullets. The neck is long and serpent-like, the eye ex- 
tremely large and brilliant, the chest is full, and the breadth of back is very 
great. The frames of these fowls are ample, and the plumage lays closely to 
the body. They weighed, on the average, at starting from Ireland, about 
eight pounds each, the cocks about nine pounds. ... A reference to the 


original picture in ' The Illustrated London News ' shows a strong resem- 
blance ; indeed, the figure in the foreground is a fair portrait of Mr. Burn- 
ham's birds," &c. 

Why this fowl was called " Cochin China " at the outset, no one has ever 
yet explained. It is beyond question the fact that no such birds were ever 
produced in that southern province of the Chinese eniiiire, which State, by 
reference to our map again, the reader will perceive is located hundreds of 
miles below the ports where our ships trade. And it is positively known that 
no such large fowls have ever been known there, as the inhabitants of Cochin 
China territory voluntarily avouch. When the real Shanghae fowls were first 
seen by these people, they exclaimed at their monstrous proportions ; and, as 
Mr. Robert Fortune stated in 1853, " they were as greatly astonished at. 
sight of these enormous birds, as were the British, when they met with 

We have yet to learn that there existed between the northern and south- 
ern extremities of the Chinese coast, prior to the opening of the ports there 
to foreign trade, any commercial communications that would warrant the 
supposition that tlie large Shanghae fowls would be likely to be transported 
thence to Cochin China. It is proved, on the contrary, by abundant declara- 
tions on the part of the few English travellers and naturalists who have vis- 
ited both portions of the empire, that this stalwart representative of the 
gallus giganteus at any rate is not indigenous to Cochin China. This fowl 
is not known at all in that part of China. And Mr. Fortune, who has resided 
in and travelled extensively over the interior, at both extremes of the coast 
borders, declares emphatically that this class of domestic bird is not only 
unknown there, but that the fowls of Cochin China territory are by no means 
of a marked character in any respect. 

We conclude, therefore, that this misnomer for the Queen's fowls was 
invented, as was the casein the instance of " Brahma" for another mis- 
called variety, — the former being coined by some British sailor, who was 
ambitious to get up a little sensational nonsense in the way of a name for 
these foreign birds, such as would be more high-sounding and grandiloquent, 
perhaps, in his estimation, -than the common-sense appellation they should 
have been called by from the beginning, to wit, plain Shanghaes. 


It surely will not be argued by any sensible person, tliat the English ambas- 
sador, whoso official headquarters were at Canton, Shanghao, or Pekin, in the 
north, woukl be likely to go down to Cochin China, ten or twelve hundred 
miles south, to procure the birds, when these fowls were to be had at Shanghae 
(which has been proved to be their home in a hundred instances since then) 
so readily. And, moreover, is the fact clearly established that Her Majesty's 
fowls came not from Cochin China, when we remember (as in the " Brahma- 
pootra " case) that no shipment from that same Cochin China country to 
England or America has ever since been heard of; while we have ample 
authority for the fact that " no such large fowls were ever known in tliat 
region by the natives of Cochin China." 

Still Messrs. Bull are a stubborn race, and in their likes and dislikes they 
adhere to habit with wonderful tenacity. Her Majesty's fowls were originally 
dubbed '• Cochin Chinas ; " and, had they subsequently been proved to have 
come from Norway, her faithful subjects would have insisted upon calling 
them Cochin China, at any hazard. As in the case of the " Brahmapoo- 
tras,'" they shortened that title to " Brahmas," however, so, in the other in- 
stance, they dropped the second syllables of the original name, and estab- 
lished " Coch in " for the Chinese varieties. There is no objection to either 
name, now : both are expressive and sufficiently brief But we have never 
yet been able to determine why the name of the fowls whose rightful cogno- 
men we are now considering should have become established in this stj'le; 
since it is beyond doubt, th^t these birds never saw the country of Cochin 
China (as Mr. Fortune avers), any more than did the splendid Gray Shang- 
haes ever revel upon the banks of the Brahmapootra. 

The reader is here requested to turn over to page 55, to examine the fine 
illustration there given of " Buff China Fowls." This drawing is furnished 
us by Jos. M. Wade, Esq., of Philadelphia, among others, and admirably 
represents a fine pair of adult birds of the now called " Bufi' Cochins " of 
modern days. These fowls were drawn from life by J. W. Ludlow of Bir- 
mingham, Eng., from a trio of " Buff Cochins " selected by Mr. Wade 
of the Oak Lane Poultry Yards, during a late trip to England for that pur- 
pose, the artist and breeder agreeing that they were the finest trio of 
" Cochins " they had seen : the cock being the same that was used for the 
English " Illustrated Book of Poultry," by Lewis Wright. The original 
stock, whence these birds come, had its birth in Shanghae. 


The Shanghae fowls of all the different colors, from white to black, as we 
have described them in a previous portion of this work, are now called " Co- 
chins," therefore. The English nor the American standards set down 
among their " recognized breeds " any of these " old-fashioned titles." We 
all go for improvements nowadays ; and it is just as well to fall in with the 
large majority who have established these names, and which the present 
generation of poultry-breeders and fanciers have come to be accustomed to. 
Yet it is also as well that the younger portion of our fraternity inform them- 
selves as to the original title of this now Americanized and Englishized . 
nomenclature for fowls, and learn where the old stock first came from ; since 
it is not impossible, sooner or later, that some of our younger fanciers in 
America may chance to find themselves in China, hereafter, — upon a pleasure- 
trip, perhaps, which may be extended even to the limits of Cochin China 
proper ; and those who may read these lines may then remember our asser- 
tions, and profit by the hints contained in this little volume, upon this 

The Cochin is minutely described by a leading authority, in terms precisely 
like those used to designate the original " Shanghae " fowl we have already 
noticed at length. He must have a stout beak, round head, fine quality of 
upright single comb. The eye should be red and full, for beauty and for use : 
it gives a nice, brisk look to a sufficiently quiet bird, harmonizes better with 
the general color, denotes more constitution, and is less liable to disease. The 
neck not too long ; the body long, deep, and broad ; the shank and tail short. 
The true carriage of the body, both in the cook and hen, should be upright 
forward, with the hinder parts comparatively raised. A great depth from the 
base of the neck above, to the point of the breast-bone with its weight of 
flesh, tends to produce this form, and to show to advantage the flufl^ and 
feathers peculiar to this fowl. The length of the breast-bone is to be desired 
and looked to. With this form all will appreciate the neat head, full neck, 
and broadness of the back, continued from across the wings to the tail ; and 
that redundant supply of feathers immediately before the tail, that gives the 
broad, square look that distinguishes the high-caste birds, and which makes 
their tails apparently so short. The small, compact wing will accompany 
these qualities, and with that a peculiar bunch of feathers. On the back, 
before the tail, will be found a profusion of feathers, and that fluflfiness about 

r.lKF CHINA C0( K AND HEX. Iiiiiiorteil liy Jos M. Wa.lo, riiiUulolpliia, Pii. 


the thighs, and about and under the tail and the hinder lower portions of the 
body, that forms, with the feathered legs, one of the chief characteristics of the 
race. Too much importance cannot be attached to straight, well-boned, 
shortish shanks ; and, if you want appearance, weight, and constitution, they 
m}ist be wide apart. 

In neither cock nor hen do we like to see the tail sticking straight up, but 
forming a nice, agreeable line with the back, or slightly elevated ; and termi- 
nating in nice, soft, but somewhat longer and drooping feathers in the cock ; 
the whole in the hen, from the feathers around it, wearing a much shorter ap- 
pearance. A tinge of red on the back of yellow legs, stout and short, suits 
us best. In forming a standard for them, we ought to insist on those points 
that are pcculiai-hj theirs, and to discountenance those that in any way 
imply the possibility of an admixture with another breed. 

They are the most domestic, amiable, quiet, and peaceable of all the varie- 
ties of poultry. They are exceeded by none in their attachment to their own 
houses or ^-ards, from which they never wander far, even when their liberty 
is unrestricted ; and in quietness they are unequalled. They are good layers, 
and careful sitters and mothers ; and, what is very important, the chickens 
are hardy, easy to raise, and less liable to be affected by disease than those 
of many other breeds. In short, as layers they are unequalled ; laying when 
quite young, and in the coldest days of winter, as well as the finest days of 

This breed, it is supposed, have been propagated by the Chinese for a 
special purpose, and are the result of long and persevering efforts on their 
part, in the same way and by the same means that choice breeds of cattle 
have been obtained with a particular end in view, — some for taking on pre- 
cocious fat, others for milk, &c. The object the Chinese had in view in 
■ rearing this description of fowl, was for caponizing. His mammoth height 
and lank proportions are just what are required for making a capon weighing, 
when fifteen or sixteen months old, a dozen pounds or over. Yet, so far as 
we are generally informed, the instances where such care in multiplying 
fowls in China is practised, are but few, since the majority of the natives 
raise immense numbers of chickens, only ; and do not look so interestedly 
after especial excellence in any particular strain or variety of poultry, when 
they can so much more easily produce thousands of the medium cpalities, 
which answer their purpose, ordiharily. 



The latest variety of the now so-called Cochins is "a grand little fowl" 
recently minutely described by Henry Beldon, a noted English breeder. This 
is known as the Cochin Bantam. The originals of this small breed are said 
to have been taken from the garden of the imperial summer-palace at Pekin, 
when that royal establishment was sacked in the late Chinese rebellion. 
Here, again (though we have little faith in this story by itself), we observe 
the positive characteristic of the Briton, when once his mind is fixed upon 
an idea, — in the persistence exhibited to prolong this " Cochin " misno- 
mer for a Chinese bird avowedly admitted to have come from the imperial 
garden at Pelcin, distant many hundred miles north of the province of Co- ' 
chin China. Our own opinion is, that these birds are akin to the old-style 
Chinese Bantams we have had in America many years. 


This diminutive bird was first brought to public notice in England, as late 
as at the Crystal Palace poultry-exhibition of 1862. They were shown by Mr. 
Kerrich of Dorking, who has retained and bred them in their purity, con- 
stantly ; who, it is said, rears them with great success, which is accounted 
for by the fact that the County of Surrey is warmer than other English dis- 
tricts, according to this authority. 

Mr. Beldon says of these " Cochin Bantams," that, " as they spring from 
a single pair, it is no wonder that the chicks are difficult to rear. Of course 
I am aware that by crossing with other breeds a stronger bird is" produced ; 


but the breed b3' crossing loses iiiuoh of its beauty, the jiroduco having longer 
shanks and tail, and often spotted hackles. In fact, they are not to be com- 
pared to the true breed. The real Peklii is a first-class Cochin China in 
miniature. I have had them of such excellence that no large Cochin could 
excel them ; and, what is somewhat remarkable, the chickens from the pure 
breed are always good, and they breed as true as sparrows. The chicks are difS- 
cult to rear, and are a bird of the sunshine; and, when chicks, require to be 
fed often. Hard-boiled eggs, chopped up with bread-crumbs, I have found 
answer well in the earlier stages of their life, then mixed up with oatmeal, 
and so on to oatmeal made up into a stiff paste, and oatmeal and thirds, and 
then, with a little grain mixed in; in fact, they require to be pampered 
somewhat. The chicks feather very rapidly at eight to ten weeks old, being 
as pretty as paint; it is well known that, until the second j'ear, when the 
cocks get fully furnished in their feathering, the first j'ear they are somewhat 
scanty in their plumage. . This does not apply to the hens. For breeding 
purposes, I prefer the one-year-old cocks. I find they breed much better than 
the two-year-old birds. The points of the breed are as follows: smallness 
in size, — cocks weigh from sixteen to eighteen oz., hens fourteen to sixteen 
oz. ; shape exactly like the large Cochin ; legs sliort and well feathered, and 
may be either willow or yellow color, or even buff throughout ; comb of course 
single, and as the large Cochins." 

In a late discussion held by the Massachusetts Poultry Society in Boston, 
veteran breeders of the Cochin and Brahma varieties held that it is quite 
time that a correct standard in shape, and appropriate characteristics of the 
China varieties should be fixedly determined on in this country, in order that 
fanciers may know and realize y^hat form and points it is advisable and en 
regie to aim to breed to, nowadays. If the best type of the true original 
Shanghae fowl, imported from that city five and twenty years ago, were strictly 
adhered to, admirable portraitures of which bird, in its genuine truthfulness 
of delineation, is given in this volume of Mr. T. S. Cooper's stock (on page 
10), and if these were taken as a model, — in our own opinion, breeders 
could not fail to approach perfection rapidly in producing birds of this type 
of the now-called " Cochins." 

On page 61 we give portraits of the original cock and hen (as illus- 
trated in Kerr and Dixon) ; and, on page 62, portraits of a trio of six months' 
old Cochins (of the Queen's variety) from the same work. These are like- 





nesses of my early Cochin China stock, smooth limbed, taken from the birds 
in my j'ards at Roxbury, Mass., in 1849 ; from which illustrations it will be 
seen how much these tlien called '' Cochins" are lilie (or unlike) the so-called 




Cocliins of our time. The figures are presented for purposes of comparison 
■(vith other drawings of fowls in this volume, with the reminder that these 
delineations represent the Cochin stock first had in America, and otherwise 
portrayed in Weir's picture (in 1844) of these smooth-legged birds on page 
48, representing the Queen's Cochins. 


The name of " Cochin" was afterwards generally adopted in Great Britain 
for all the different colored Chinese fowls ; and fine samples were bred there 
of tlie Buff, the Cinnamon, and the Partridge especially, which were sent 
out to this country, and which are now being imported thence continually, 
by American breeders and fanciers, to replenish and keep up the character of 
the " Cochin " stock now in this country. 


It is vay purpDse, in tliis part of my present rolume, to place upon record 
as accurately as may be, the actual fa^ts pertaining to the variety of fowls 
mentioned in the above caption; believing that a clear statement regarding 
this breed will prove, even at the present day, more or less interesting to the 
poulrry-breeders and fanciers of the United States, set down in concise 
form, with data accompanying this account, to verify the statements in 
relation to the true modern history of these Chixese fowls imported into 
and bred in America, originally known among us as '• Gray Shanghaes," and 
latterly as '' Brahmas." 

Early in 1849 I learned that a few Light-Gray fowls of extraordinary propor- 
tions and remarkable qualities had been imported from China into Pennsyl- 
vania. I had, previously to this time, sent to England for a clutch of the 


Queen's " Cochin China " fowls, which, as I have stated, had been also greatly- 
lauded through the English press ; and which stock had been s'ent to Her 
Majesty by the British ambassador in China, upon the opening of Chinese 
ports to foreign commerce after the war there. 

But some Gray fowls had reached Pennsylvania, which my friend Dr. J. J. 
Kerr of Philadelphia (then known in poultry circles by his norm de plume 
"Asa Eugg") thus wrote me about: "This remarkable variety must, in my 
opinion, stand at the head of the races of poultry, having the largest blood 
in them of any breed of fowls with which I am acquainted. They come here 
from Shanghae, China. They are light gray or streaked white ; and at seven 
months old I have one pair that weigh over nineteen pounds." 

J)r. John C. Bennett's book contains portraits* of the two birds mentioned, 
after I got them, which are drawn from life, and engraved by S. E. Brown of 
Boston, which the author thus describes (in 1850), though this picture was 
taken and this description was written in 1849, when the fowls were young, 
and while that work was in course of preparation. Dr. Bennett says, "This 
breed of fowl has been imported into Pennsylvania within the last two years, 
and ranks at the head of the list in that region for all the good qualities 
desirable in a domestic bird. The color is a light streaked Gray, rather than 
otherwise ; and the portraits given below are those of fine samples of this 
great stock. They are designated ' Gray Chittagongs.' " 

These were my first Gray fowls, portraits of which, from the original draw- 
ings (still in my possession), taken when the fowls were quite undeveloped in 
form, appear in this present book, and which for years I called " Gray Shang- 
haes," although Dr. Bennett called them at first " Chittagongs," as we all did. 

In describing the Chinese fowls, to which class of birds this brief work is 
exclusively devoted, I thus make mention of my light " Gray Shanghaes " 
here because the date at which I first obtained this breed was during the 
same year that I received the Queen's "Cochin Chinas " from England ; and 
because, moreover (although for some little time neither of these choice 
varieties were greatly appreciated), these " Gray Shanghaes," as they were 
called by me, for the reason that they came from Shanghae into Pennsylvania, 
have turned out to be first in the estimation of all the admirers of good China 
stock ; and, in my judgment, to-day, as Dr. Kerr writes me about the old pair 
in 1849, " they stand at the head of the races of poultry " in the world. 

LIGHT URAHMA COCK AND flEN. { Prize Birds. From Pliotograpbs.) 
Owned and bred by W. IJ. Todd, Vermillion, Ohio. 


In 1S50, in New York City, on board ship direct from Shanghae, in com- 
pany with Wm. T. Porter, Esq., then editor of the New-York "Spirit of the 
Times " (who informed me of the arrival of these fowls from China), I procured 
five lighter colored Gray fowls, nicely marked, and very even in pencilled 
plumage, which I paid $100 for, and took to Massachusetts ; and afterwards 
bred ivith the old pair, and their first progeny. These I called Gray Shang- 
haes still, because they all came from that port. And, though the poultry- 
books denominated the original pair for o)ie season " Chittagongs," /had no 


name for this fine variety other than " Gray Shanghaes-" for several years. 
Knowing that all of them came from China, in vessels from the then newly- 
opened port of Shanghae, I could see no reason for calling these birds after 
the name of a state or province in India, — to wit, Chittagong. And, knowing 
also as I did afterwards, when, where, and bj' whom the name " Bramapootra" 
was created (as I will shortly show), I would not assent to misnaming so 
grand a fowl. And so, as I have said before, I shortly named them " Gray 
Shanghaes," which I deemed their appropriate cognomen, since they all 


came to this country from the Chinese port of Shanghae, and were simply 
gray in color — instead of being buff, white, partridge, or black. 

Fanciers immediately discovered, when I had my latest Light Grays 
housed at home in their roomy quarters, that "they were too white; " they 
" were too indistinct in color ; " they " were too light." But I bred them 
steadily that year, and very satisfactorily. I sold a great many eggs, mean- 
time. In the summer and fall I sent away several young chickens ; and in 
1851, I exhibited at the Boston shows the old and some young stock, 
though but little was said about them, except that they were showy fowls, 
and very large. 

After breeding the Philadelphia birds a year, I sold my first pair of Grays 
to Dr. Bennett, who then had a fine stock of sundry varieties at Plymouth, 
Mass. Here the doctor first put forth the famous original " Plymouth 
Rocks," which he thus described: "I produced this fine breed from a Cochin 
China cock with a hen crossed between a Fawn-colored Dorking, Malay, and 
Wild Indian." * 

The clever, talented doctor was noted for his enterprise and zeal in the 
poultry business. He bred a great many fine fowls, and was a personal friend 
of mine from as far back as in 1835, when I first met him in the western 
country. He bought my two first Grays ; and from them and a pale silver 
Cinnamon or drab Shanghae hen (of the Forbes' importation from China) 
he produced a clutch or two of very nice Light-Gray chickens, some of which 
he exhibited at the fowl-shows in Boston in 1851 and 1852, portraits of 
which " Burampootras," taken from the birds and accurately engraved by 
Fox in 1851, will be found on next page. 

These fi)-sf Gray chickens, thus produced by Dr. Bennett, had a small top- 
knot or slight tuft of feathers at the back of the head ; all of them, as will 
be noticed in this picture of them, on a small scale, published in 1852. Where 
this feature came from, I never knew ; but I had no such " disqualification " 
upon any of my own fowls, first or last ; and upon this first lot of Grays oiili/, 
of the doctor's, did I ever see this peculiarity. 

* This is not the " Plymouth Kock " of the present day, 1870-74. That is quite a different 
fowl, and altogether better. This bird is recognized in the new American Standard as a variety, 
or breed. It is a cross, however, between the Dominique and the Black Java, originating a few 
years since in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and is an excellent fowl. 



Dr. Bonnott continued to breed the Graj's, thereafter, very successfully. I 
furnished him with several other specimens of birds out of tlie progeny of my 
tirst and second lots, which I bred together; and ho sent a few of these to 
England in 1852 " on speculation," to London. 

In 1851, l>r. Bennett, Mr. Hatch of Connecticut, and myself all showed 
the Light-Gray stock in small quantities ; and the doctor had for some time 
been exercising his busy brain to coin "a good name" for those fowls. lie 


consulted me regarding this proposition; and I always contended for what / 
considered to be their correct cognomen, namely, '' Gray Shanghae," for the 
very good reason already given. 

But this title was not suiUciently liigli-sounding to suit the doctor's views. 
And so I will here repeat, as I have already communicated it through another 
channel, precisely what occurred regarding this name for the splendid Gray 


Shangliaes, — as it took place in my house. I quote from an article I contrib- 
uted to Wade's Philadelphia " Fancier's Journal," in March, 1874. 

"Dr. John C. Bennett of Plymouth, Mass., in those days a shrewd and 
enthusiastic breeder of all kinds of fancy fowls, made me a fabulous offer for 
my pair of " Gray Chittagongs " (the Dr. Kerr Philadelphia birds), and took 
them away. He bred them with a very light drab or buff Shanghae hen he 
had, of the Forbes' importation, and produced a clutch of fine, showy chickens, 
■which he exhibited at the second or third Boston fowl-show, to which he desired 
to give a specific name. 

" In those long-ago days, a good name for fowls was ' a big thing ' towards 
success, among fanciers, in disposing of the stock they produced. The doctor 
first consulted me on this point, and in my own library he took down an atlas. 
Turning to the Eastern countries, he pored over China, Cochin-China, Hindos- 
tan, &c., and his eye lighted upon the Burrampootra River in India. 

" ' Eureka ! ' cried the amiable doctor, ' I have found it I Here it is, and 
it's a stunner ! ' 

"And he pointed to that unpronounceable word "Burrampootra" upon the 

" ' What is it ? ' I quietly asked. 

" ' The name for my birds. Do you see ? Grand, expressive, stylish, capital ! ' 
he continued. 

" Thus it began. He shortly varied it to 'Brahmah-pootra,' the first por- 
tion of this term being the name of the chief deity of the Hindoos. But this 
compound was too lengthy. Then it was cut short to Brahmah, and finally, 
by universal approval, became Brahma, — a very good name for a very good 
fowl, though I continued for years to oall my stock — precisely like his, and 
brqd originally from the same pair of 'Chittagongs' with the lighter birds I 
got on sliipboard in New York from China — what they really were, to wit, 
' Gray Shanghaes.' 

" This, in brief, is the true history of the original coining of the name 
' Brahma.' (The theory set up by one writer, that ' the first pair of Brahmas 
were brought from Luckipoor up the Brahmapootra River, in a ship to New 
York, by a sailor ' whose name has never been given, is sheer romance and 

Now, it should be observed just here, that Dr. Bennett's Poultry Book, pub- 
lished by Phillips & Sampson of Boston in 1850, '51, makes no mention what- 
ever of the " Brahmapoutra " or the " Brahma " fowl. He does mention the 
"Gray Chittagong," however; and the illustrations of this breed in his book 
(which, be it remembered, is of my Philadelphia " Gray Shanghaes ") are the 


very fowls lie afterwards purchased of me ; which he bred from, and the pro- 
geii}- of which he first called " Buraiiipootras," and subsequently worked down 
into " Brahmas; " while this further important fact must not be lost sight ot 
just here, also, that, notwithstanding Dr. Bennett published his excellent Poul- 
try Book in 1850 and 1851, this name " Brahma " or " Brahma Foutra " does 
not appear in its pages at all, and no allusion whatever is made to this name 
in that work by Dr. Bennett, or to Mr. Cornish's or Chamberlin's existence. 

Now, no one has ever disputed or questioned the fact that Dr. Bennett manu- 
factured this name. " Thou canst not say / did it ! " all others can truthful- 
ly exclaim. Nobody takes any credit for this performance originally', save the 
pleasant, ingenious doctor himself. Most assuredly the writer of these pages 
never claimed to have applied this cognomen to the Gray Shanghaes. Still 
there has been some controversy as to %chen these fowls were so named. I have 
shown that this title was in no shape applied till after 1851. 

Tracing this name with these birds thus, down from 1819 to 1852, the fol- 
lowing further corroborative evidence that they vyere identical, and just what 
I have now described them, assumes importance, namely: upon page 177, in 
Wingfield's splendidly illustrated work on poultry, Dr. Wm. Guste Gwynne, 
in 1853, speaking of the original Light Brahmas sent out by us from America 
to England, says, " Another circumstance which confii-ms me in this view as to 
"the identity of these 'Brahmapootra' birds (Bennett's) with the Shfuif/hae 
breed, is the fact that the fowls recently presented to Her Majesty by Mr. G. P. 
Burnham, under the name of ' Gray Shanghaes,' are admitted by Dr. Bennett 
to be precisely similar to his oivn. And Mr. Burnham assures me that the 
original stock from which the 'Gray Shanghaes' presented to Her Majesty 
were bred was imported direct from Shanghae." 

All of which is perfectly correct, as I have herein shown. The fowls I sent 
to the Queen were bred from the first two Grays received from Philadelphia, 
which stock Dr. Kerr informed me came from Shanghae, — and out of the second 
lot I got in New York, through Mr. Porter, from on board a sliip direct fr<ftn 
the port of Shanghae. No Dark Brahmas had then been seen, or alluded to. 
Dr. Bennett's earliest chickens were bred out of that very first Philadelphia 
pair of Grays ; and later birds were bred by him from the progeny of that 
stock, and other younger fowls I supplied him with in 1851 and 1852, and 
afterwards. He always admitted this. He had no occasion to deny or dis- 


AMnnicAN nAUK nnAirMA r.nrvi and iik?t. " hla^k rniNon" A?rn "joan." 
J'rize /Urdu, hreU by Philanth'r iFiUitims, Taunton, Mii8». 


pute it. The Doctor. alwa3'9 gave me creilit for wliat was tlien exactly true. 
We differed simply in our oiiinions ag to what name this splendid variety 
sliould be called by. I adhered to " Gray Shan^dlae ;" and he coined the 
title of " Burampootra,'' " Brahma-Poutra," and finally "Brahma," as it now 
stands in England and America. 

And this brings me to further authoritative corroborating evidence upon 
this point, occurring in 1852, and referring directly to the controversy then 
rife in this countr}', about the naming of this stock — up to this time all 
being if'f/Zii Brahmas — to wit : — 

At the third or fourth Boston show, in the fall of 1852, the Committee 
of Judges — consisting of Dr. Eben "Wight, Dr. Bennett, Messrs. Andrews, 
Fussell, and Balch — reported in extenso, officially, upon the Chinese varie- 
ties. From that Report (of which Dr. Wight was chairman), I take the fol- 
lowing extracts, which will show the fanciers of to-day how near the exact 
truth my statements are, and have been hitherto, in regard to this naming 
of the " Brahma" fowl. This Report, from which I now quote in detail, was 
made immediately after the Boston exhibition of the "New-England 
Society for the Improvement of Domestic Poultry," as follows : — 

"Your Committee would call your attention to the fact that, among the 
numerous fowls exhibited this season, as upon former occasions (notably in 
ISol), a very unnecessary practice seems to have obtained, in the Tnisnaminrf 
of varieties. Cross bred fowls have been called by original cognomens un- 
known to practical breeders ; and a host of Birds well known to the Committee 
have been denominated by any other than their real conceded ornithological 
titles. This leads to ridicule, and should not be sanctioned by your Societ3^ 
Many honest, careful breeders may thus be deceived ; and this multiplying of 
unpronounceable and meaningless names for domestic fowls is entirely un- 
called for. Your Committee recommend a close adherence, hereafter, to 
recognized titles only, . . . and allude to a case in point. 

" The largest, and unquestionably one of the finest varieties ever shown 
among us, was entered by the owner of this variety as the 'Chittagong.' 
Other coops, of the same stock, were labelled 'Gray Chittagong;' others 
(same stock) were called ' Bramah Pootras ; ' and others, ' Gray Shanghaes.' 

" Your Committee are divided in opinion as to what these birds ought 
rightfully to be called; but the majority of the Committee have no idea 
that 'Bramah Pootra ' is their correct title. . . . Several of the specimens 
are positively known to have come direct from Shanghae ; and woweare known 


to have come originally from anywhere else. For the present, however, the 
Committee accept for them the title of ' Gray Shanghae,' ' Uhittagong,' or 
' Brauiah Pootra,' as different breeders may elect, — admitting that tliey are a 
very superior bird, and believing . . . they will be found decidedly tlie most 
valuable among all the large C%m«*-e breeds, of which they are clearly a good 

This is quoted accurately from the Report published in 1852, when several 
parties showed the Light-Gr.ay stock, in competition, under the different 
wawics above indicated. But the Committee of Judges — who saw at a glance 
that all the birds were identical in color, shape, and characteristics — deemed 
it but just to comment as they thus did upon this unwarrantable diversity of 
cognomen for the same stock. 

Now, all these four thus severally-?ia»iaZ varieties, to wit, the "Chittagongs," 
the " Gray Chittagongs," the " Brahma Pootras," and the " Gray Shanghaes," 
were then unquestionably my original fowls and their descendants. There 
was at that time no question about this fact ; and tliree of these very lots we 
all positively knew were mine, or out of my stock. These " Chittagongs," as 
I have already stated, were entered at this show by G. W. George of Hav- 
erhill, and were the original Gray Philadelphia (Dr. Kerr) pair, then three 
years old. Mr. George purchased them of Dr. Bennett, to whom, as I have 
said, /first sold them. The "Gray Chittagongs," then so called, were con- 
tributed by a Mr. Hatch, and were said to have been bred in Connecticut. 
The " Brahma Pootras " were Dr. Bennett's, first shown the year before as 
chickens bred from my fowls, as we were all aware, but thus so named by the 
Doctor. The " Gray Shanghaes " were mij contributions (sixty-four specimens 
in all), three years old, two years old, one year old, and chickens, bred from 
the two original Grays, and my second imported five lighter Gray fowls ; — 
the first from Dr. Kerr, the second through Wm. T. Porter. 

And, up to that time, no other such Light-Gray fowls had been seen, or 
were anywhere else known to exist, in this country. These were identical in 
color, form, beauty, size, and general characteristics ; and all were single- 
combed birds, as far as any of us observed. 

The chairman of the Committee, from whose official report I have last 
quoted. Dr. Eben Wight of Dedham, Mass., was a gentleman above re- 
proach or suspicion, in every respect, who could not have been induced, upon 


any consideration whatever, to have given his name or sanction to any asser- 
tion tliat he did not know to be just and truthful. He said " all these fowls 
were identical ; " that " they were out of the same stock ; " that " several of 
the specimens were positively known to have come from Shaughae, direct ; " 
that "none of them were known to have come from anywhere else;" that 
" they were a good variety of the Chinese fowl ;" that " they were the largest 
and finest fowls ever shown among us ; " and, though the Committee were not 
then prepared to accord them a specific name, yet " the majority of the Com- 
mittee had no idea that 'Brahma Footra ' was the rightfully proper title" for 
any of them. 

Dr. Wight was one of the oldest importers then known in America, and a 
very careful, conscientious man. He then bred no Gray fowls of any de- 
scription. He could have had no possible object, save to do justice to all 
parties, in this Report. And his language on this occasion was not only 
forcible and clear, but it was truthful, just, and reasonable, as well as un- 

After this exhibition, the name of "Brahmah Pootra" was adopted by 
Dr. Bennett, in spite of my own arguments, and the advice of otliers who 
were opposed to this " multiplying of meaningless names " for varieties of 
fowls ; and in this shape it went out to England. In course of time it came 
to be reduced to Brahmah; and finally', as I have said, to Brahma. Bat the 
fowls underwent no change. In England also they came to be called 
" Brahmas ; '' and the very fowls I sent to Her Majesty, the receipt of which 
were acknowledged by Hon. Col. Fliipps, the Queen's secretary, as " magni- 
ficent Gray Shanghaes," were the following season exhibited by His fCoj'al 
Highness Prince Albert, at the Birmingham Show (in 1853), as " Brahmas." 
And so, after 1854, they came generally to be called by this accepted and 
acceptable title, though not so by me for some years. 

In order to show how incorrect is the statement made by Mr. Cornish in 
1869 (see Wright's " Illustrated Book of Poultry," page 241), that " the name 
of Brahma was established in 1850 " (!), I set these recorded facta down 
here; and in confirmation of this I add that the first American "National 
Poultry Society " in this country gave two annual exhibitions (in 1854, '55) 
in New York, at Barnum's Museum ; the proprietor of which establishment, 
Phineas T. Barnum, Esq., was president of this society, " assisted by forty 
managers," — so ran the prospectus published at its formation. 


The first exhibition of this National Association occurred in the winter 
of 1854, and proved a great success. I was there with my Liglit and Dark 
Gray Shanghaes, and other Chinese fowl?, and carried away a score of the 
leading premiums with my variously-colored China breeds, old and young. 
A. B. Allen, Esq., the famous cattle-breeder of Western New- York State, in 
" The American Agriculturist," thus wrote of this fine Poultry Show : — 

" This great show at Barnum's, contrary to general expectation, brought 
out altogether the finest, largest, and choicest exhibition' ever witnessed in 
America. Of their kinds, there were scarcely a pair of inferior birds in this 
vast collection; and many fowls came five hundred miles for this occasion. 
This very fact showed that poultry fanciers within striking distance of New 
York had confidence in the Society, in its managers" (I was one of the 
forty), " in the ability of Mr. Barnum to carry it out, and in his integrity, &c. 

" As an evidence of the interest then felt among fanciers of all ranks and 
all fortunes, they sent their birds, attended themselves, and took a lively 
interest in every thing that appertained to the proceedings. We saw there 
highly distinguished scientific gentlemen, lawyers, statesmen of great repute, 
grave divines 'wise with the lore of centuries,' merchants, commercial men 
called by way of eminence 'millionaires,' artisans, farmers, gentlemen, — sin- 
gly, or with their wives and daughters and little children, all eagerly threading 
their way through and by each other, to gaze at the coops and cages, intent 
on seeing every thing, examining a great many birds, and not once only, but 
repeatedly, day after day, during the show, did we see some of the same indi- 
viduals, groups, and families. 

"Now, this means something. People would not congregate at this inclem- 
ent season, from fifty to five hundred miles distant, to witness a ' chicken 
show' in New York, unless there was 'something in it.' There is something 
in it. There is a study in it. It is a delightful contemplation in natural 
history. These beautiful birds are a thing to love, to interest young minds, 
and old ones too. They are among the things to make country life inter- 
esting, to attach people to home, and make it pleasanter than all the world 
beside," &c. 

Thus wrote Mr. A. B. Allen in 1854, about the " National Association " and 
its first show of fowls at New York. And, even at that period, it was 
charged that " G. P. Burnham of Gray Shanghae notoriety was stoutly con- 
tending against the establishment of the name 'Brahma Pootra' for the 
popular Light-Gray fowls being so largely bred in America," which name had 
not even then been adopted, not to say " established," by us ! 



A full-page cut (see page 78) gives us a drawing of a mature cocl< and lien 
of the "Cliamberlin stock," so called, as bn^l by Mr. Emory Carpenter and 
others in Connecticut. The bodies, plumage, and general outline of this pair 
are good representations of modern Light Urahmas. The color is shown as 
being considerably darker than the average birds of the light variety, nowa- 
days ; yet it is very nearly the tint of feathering that characterized iny best 
early Gray Shanghaes. This pair are too short in the leg for good breeding 
stock ; but, as we bad the pleasure of examining Mr. Carpenter's fine fowls 
at Hartford, recently, we can vouch for the fact that his Brahmas are not 
thus deficient. We have rarely seen better-fashioned broods of this race than 
the samples we were shown upon Mr. Carpenter's spacious premises, this 
season, the generous size of which is especially notable. 

The admirable drawings, by Ludlow, of W. H. Todd's beautiful Light and 
Dark Brahmas (see plates on pages 65 and 81) give us a truthful idea of the 
general character and appearance of those two well-bred American varieties, 
up to standard, in points. This cock and hen in each picture are from pho- 
tographs of the winning fowls portrayed ; and Mr. Todd is well known as a 
leading successful Western breeder (at Vermillion, 0.), who has turned out, 
in the past few years, some of the finest samples of both Light and Dark 
Brahmas that have ever been produced in this country. 

In all the varieties of Chinese fowls which Mr. Todd has placed in his 
breeding-runs, this gentleman has procured the best stock that money could 
purchase ; and his good taste and large experience have enabled him to make 
the choicest selections attainable, both in this country and in England. 

The illustration, page 72, of Philander Williams's American-bred Dark 
Brahmas (younger birds, not fully developed in proportions when pictured) 
also shows a fine pair of these symmetrical and favorite fowls. 

The English Dark Brahma cock, figured on page 86, is described in the 
London " Poultry Review " as a bird of great rarity. It is stated that " ten 
of his brother and sister chicks carried off cups in 1872, at the British shows, 
this cock being the flower of the flock." Mr. Lingwood refused 250 guineas 
($1,250) for him and his five brothers, and 50 guineas ($250) for himself, 
alone. Choice Brahma fowls must be "taking their place in the front," in 
England, indeed. Yet such a bird as this is for a " Dark Brahma " — with 
his monumental tail and fearful " hock " — could never win among first-class 
American competitors, assuredly. 


Altliough — as I look at the question of tlie origin of the Brahma fowl — 
any new theory that may be promulgated in 1874 can possess no material 
weight, and can liave no effect upon what was so clearly written, discussed, 
and published nearly a quarter of a century ago, in all its confirmatory partic- 
ulars, yet I cannot pass by witliout notice the account of Mr. C. C. Plaisted, 
published in June, 1874, in " The Poultry AVorld ; " because Mr. Plaisted in his 
" history " states much that is true, and all that he himself believes, undoubt- 
edly, but at the same time some points which are clearly incorrect. And here 
I insert an article from a Kensington (Penn.) correspondent of Wade's " Fan- 
cier's Journal" of a late date, which will explain itself; with the single re- 
mark that Kensington (a part of Philadelphia) was the former residence of 
Dr. J. J. Kerr, of whom in 1849 I obtained my first pair of Gray Shanghaes, 
and who sent Dr. Bennett also, in 1850, a trio of these birds, that Doctor 
Kerr thought "quite equal to Mr. Burnham's," &c. 

" Kensixgton, June 8, 1874. 

" 2Ir. Editor, — I noticed in a poultry magazine, lately, by a Mr. Plaisted, 
in a long story he tells about the origin of Brahma-Pootra fowls, the state- 
ment, that 'G. P. Burnham, Esq., of Melrose, Mass., claims that he had the 
first in INTew England ; ' that ' a ship came to New York at just the right time 
for him to secure a new importation of these Gray Shanghaes,' as he calls 
them, ' to add to his already choice stock that were never seen until after the 
exhibition of 1851' in Boston. 

"This writer claims that he attempts nothing only to state facts, just as 
they existed. But, as he was formerly a partner in the chicken-trade with 
Dr. John C. Bennett, of famous ' Burrampootra ' notoriety, it is a little strange 
that he doesn't (?) know that said Dr. Bennett published his well-known 
' Poultry Book' in 1S50, witli appendix (second edition) in 1851, in which Mr. 
Burnham's splendid first Gray Shanghaes (there called Chittagongs by the 
doctor) are both fully described and illustrated as 'most remarkable for size 
and beauty.' And, in appendix, the doctor adds, 'We have just received 
from Dr. Kerr, Philadelphia (the same party Burnham got his first ones 
from), some of these imperial birds;' and Dr. Kerr writes, 'They are quite 
equal to Mr. Burnham's.' . . . 'This is enough,' adds Dr. Bennett, 'to have 
said more would have been a work of supererogation.' , 

"This in 1850, '51, by Dr. Bennett himself — this man Plaisted's business 
partner, who writes, in the same article I quote from, that he (Plaisted) got 
a lot of somebody else's Gray stock in 1851, which were the Simon Pure ; but 
in reference to which fowls not a syllable is printed in Dr. Bennett's 'Poultry 
Book,' issued that year, and which stock nobody then knew any thing about ! 


"I think it must be the oi-Z/e;- stock that Mr. Plaisted says 'were never 
seen till after tlie 1851 exhibition.' For how could Burnhara's fine Gray- 
fowls liave been thus pictured and so elaborately described in Dr. Bennett's 
work in 18.50 and '51, unless they had been seen previously? as they had 
been, and admired by thousands, 'the wonder of all poultry-fanciers who be- 
liold them,' as Dr. Bennett puts it (see liis book). Or, if the Plaisted fowls 
were then known, why didn't Bennrft know and say something about them 
in his very comprehensive 'Poultry Book' issued at that time ? 

The query embodied in the above-quoted article is pertinent; but the advo- 
cates of the Cornish-Brahma origin theory are all similarly at fault in their dates. 
Now, in reference to "some of the earliest Light Brahnias," which Wright 
says, "Mr. Burnham sent to Her Majesty in 1852," I have simply to state 
that the cage of fowls I sent to the Queen was duly labelled, in large printed 
capitals, "Eight Gray Siianghaes." I wrote a brief note to His Royal 
Highness, Prince Albert, in 1852, for Her Majesty, — which Hon. Mr. Inger- 
soll (then American Minister to the Court of St. James) kindly forwarded, — 
in which " I respectfully tendered to Her Majesty a cage of Gray Shanghae 
fowls, bred from my stock imported into America from China, throe years 
since;" and the Queen, through the Hon. Mr. Secretary Pliipps, "acknowl- 
edged and accepted this magnificent present of Gray Shangliaes," and subse- 
quently sent me her portrait, a photographed copy of which adorns this 
volume (see frontispiece). 

Mr. Wright continuously evinces a lamentable ignorance of the real char- 
acteristics of what is now known as the Brahma fowl. We have it upon very 
recent English authority, in two instances (from reliable persons of his own 
neighborhood, who know him individuallj-), that "American poultry-men 
appear to be Wright-mad, in quoting his opinions,'' &c. ; that "this man 
never had anything but English Dark Brahmas, and, in breeding, he has 
accomplished absolutely nothing with them, even, as compared with Horace 
Lingwood, Mr. Boyle, Mr. Teebay, and many others." 

Again, in his last work, 1872, '73, Wright says, "the pea-comb is the ori- 
ginal American type ; " which statement is known by everybody to be a gross 
error ; for, as all of us are aware, the Light Gray fowls were bred here three 
or four years, at least, before this peculiarity was discovered or spoken of at 
all. " Still," he adds in the same paragraph, " there were, till very lately, 
some splendid yards of single-comb Light Brahmas in England, which would 



run English competitors closely " for the premiums ofiored at the shows there. 
Himself thus admitting that, until a recant date, even, there were nut a few 
"splendid yards" of the sinr/le-comh variety of Light Brahmas to be seen 
in Wright's own neighborhood, — London. 

K f 


Mr. C. C. Plaisted of Hartford, Conn., who is now an earnest advocate of 
pea-comb birds only, — and who asserts with great assurance that the strain 
of Chamberlin-Bennett Light Brahmas he breeds will throw the triple comb 


almost invariably, — thus expresses hiiiiself in Sept. 1874, in a poultry 
monthly, upon this Brahma comb question. He says, "More than tliree- 
fourths of the Erahmas which I bred, to 18G1, had the pea-comb; since that 
time I have had but one single-combed bird. I do not claim that single 
combs and smooth legs are marks of impurity in this breed ; but it is certain 
til at breeders of them are behind the times, now. I am by no means the only 
breeder in the country who has come to look upon the pea-comb as a settled 
thing with the Brahmas ; but to obtain it on all, in perfection, is something 
not yet a<jcomplished, for this triple comb takes many forms." 

Another English writer, as late as in 18GC, affirm.s, that, "of the Light 
Brahmas imported from America, and carefully bred in his hands, fully half 
of his chickens showed the single comb; and esi^ecially," he adds, "is this 
formation observable in the cocks raised in my runs." 

An American fancier in Massachusetts, who has produced some of the finest 
specimens reared in New England in the past twelve years, franlcly states in 
a leading poultry journal, in 1867, that he "has found the single comb crop- 
ping out on one-fourth of the best Brahma fowls — otherwise well pointed — 
bred in li,is experience." It is most certainly the fact that all breeders of the 
Lujlit variety, from whatever "strain" it may come, have bred and continue 
to breed, to-day, more or less single combs. Mr. Plaisted is correct, however, 
that breeders of single-combed birds, alone, would be "behind the times." 
And a smooth-limbed Bralima would indeed be highly objectionable ! But 
the single u.nd pea-comb were botli a characteristic of the original stock, and 
this result is inevitable — at least at present. 

With the Darlz Brahmas, this " deviation " in the comb formation has not 
been frequent. Most of tliis variety come with the pea-comb well developed ; 
and the single comb with these, is decidedly the exception, not the rule; as 
has been the case from the outset. 

Mr. Wright stoutly contends, that the pea-comb oiihj is the true indication 
of " genuine blood," however. And, notwithstanding this theorist's mixed 
opinions, in other respects regarding the prominent points in tlie Brahma 
fowl, and his vehement partiality for the pea-comb only as an " indispensable 
proof of purity" in the strain, he acknowledges in his latest work, that, 
up to quite recently (see his new "Illustrated liook of Poultry"), he knew 
"several line yards of suii/Ze-combed Light Brahmas in England that would 


run some of the present exhibitors a close race for our prizes." Again, in his 
"Brahma Fowl" book, he says (p. 02), " tlie originals had both single and 
pea combs," while Dr. Bennett says, " the single comb is the usual form." 

Inasmuch as the pea-comb on Brahmas is a very desirable thing to attain, 
this feature has become imperative, for competition in the show-pens ; and 
every fancier strives to breed as large a proportion of pea-comb specimens ^ 
is possible in his flocks, in accordance with Standard requirements in this 
regard, at the present time. 

I never knew this point to be publicly discussed until after 1853. In that 
year, I find in the Eev. W. Wingfield's elegant " London Poultry Book" 
the following paragraphs, which I quote from that standard work, pages 175 
to 178, on this "pea-comb question." (I will say just here that Mr. Plaisted, 
in the June " Poultry World," says that " all the Light Brahmas shipped 
by Dr. Bennett and himself to England were bred by them or Mr. Hatch," 
&o., from the Cornish-Chamberlin fowls, " except the pair sent to Dr. 
Gwynne by Dr. Bennett himself" in 1852.) Dr. Gwynne says, in the work 
I now quote from, " I obtained from Dr. Bennett of the United States Jive pairs 
of these birds : three of these ten fowls, only, had small compressed or pea 
combs, — a feature strikingly characteristic of the Malay fowl." ... "In 
none of the other seven birds was this peculiarity found ; nor could I recog- 
nize in them any thing, either in points or conformation, but what would be 
found in Shangliae birds of the same age." Be it observed here, that Dr. 
Gwynne's fowls were from Dr. Bennett of the United States — five pairs (not 
one pair, as Mr. Plaisted has it) ; that Dr. Bennett bred, with Mr. Plaisted, 
Hatch, Smith, and others, only " Nelson H. Chamberlin-Gornish fowls ; " and 
that out of ten fowls of this strain so sent to Dr. William Custe Gwynne in 
England, in 1852, only three then showed this pea-comb. 

Further on in this same Mr. Wingfield's volume, I find the following state- 
ment of Dr. Gwynne, to whom I never sold a bird of my stock, but who 
received in England, and bred, only the Cornish, Chamberlin, Bennett and 
Plaisted strain, which Messrs. Eelch, and other good " old breeders" of Light 
Brahmas in Massachusetts to-day claim are genuine, because they breed this 
coveted "pea-comb." In further reference to which. Dr. Gwynne writes, in 
1852, '53, thus (see Eev. Mr. Wingfield's work, pp. 176, 177) : — 

" The single comb would appear to be the usual form of that feature in 


the Brahmapootra fowls; though, as Dr. Bennett admits, the true hreed 
do sometimes present these deviations." ... "In response to which," 
replies Dr. Gwynne, " I can only say, that, out of twenty chickens bred by 
the birds I reserved for myself (obtained of Dr. Bennett), I cannot detect a 
single instance of this ' deviation ' from the single combs of the parents ; " 
Which parents Dr. Gwynne and Dr. Bennett then, and Mr. Plaisted lately, 
all affirm were sent to England, from the latter two gentlemen, to Dr. Gwynne, 
out of the Cornish-Chamberlin-Gonnecticut stock, in 1852, '63, " which should 
show only the ' pea-comb,' if they be pure bred." 

"But," adds Dr. Gwynne, on same page, "another circumstance which 
confirms me in my view as to the identity of these birds with the Shanghaes 
is the fact that the fowls recently presented to Her Majesty the Queen by 
Mr. Burnham, under the name of ' Graj' Shanghaes,' are admitted by Dr. 
Bennett" (who sent him this Cornish-Chamberlin stock) "to be precisely 
similar to his otvn;" while " Mr. Burnham assures me that the original stock 
from which the ' Gray Shanghaes ' he presented to Her Majesty were bred 
was imported direct from Shanghae," China, not India. And my fowls 
sent to the Queen in 1852, I am quite confident, showed only the single comb; 
though, among the pullets, the pea-comb might have existed, at that early 
day, without my observing it; since this question had at that time been but 
very little discussed, or this peculiar comb-formation noticed, among us in 

Two fowls, sent to Mrs. Hozier Williams about this time, by Dr. Bennett, 
had the pea-comb, I think ; when Dr. Bennett immediately wrote that, 
" though the usual form of that feature was single, the true breed of Brahma- 
pootras do sometimes present this deviation" of the triple or pea-comb. 
Thus it will be seen that all our stock in the early years showed both styles 
of comb, the single comb then predominating largely in mj' birds, as well as 
in the claimed Cornish-Chamberlin strain alike, though Bennett declares, in 
1852, that " the single comb is the usual form of this feature in the Brahma- 
pootra fowl," and that "the true bird" (whatever that was or is) "do 
sometimes only present the deviation" of the pea-comb; which authoritative 
statement, in 1853, by Dr. Bennett (Mr. Plaisted's partner), simply goes to 
confirm the notable fact that at that period no one among the Cornish-Cham- 
berlin pure Brahma breeders knew much about this "little joker," the 

sriAxaiiAE, cocnix, BUAin/A. 85 

Mr. Tecbay snys, in Tegetmeier's choice " Poultr3' Book," in 1867, "The 
head of the Bralimas should be surmounted with :v triple comb, known as 
the pea-comb." . . . '' But when first introduced into England, many of the 
Brahmas had single combs. At present, those with the pea-combs are held 
in higher estimation." The editor of " The Poultry Yard," Miss Watts, says, 
"The only difficult point is the variety of comb in the Brahmapootras, vizr, 
the pea-comb ami the single. While we give the preference to the former, 
•we do not see why both may not be pure, as in the Dorkings " (which show 
the rose and the single upright comb, constantly). 

Other writers agree upon the point that single and pea-comb birds among 
ani/ "original" strain of Brahmas. or Gray Shanghaes, have both from the 
outset been, and are now, bred more or less in every man's yard in this 
country and in England. But the pea-comb variety is the most desirable, 
as I have said, the only one now admissible in the show-room, under Stand- 
ard rules, in competition for prizes, and this is being nowadays far more 
generallv bred than the single-comb birds. 

But, for .any sensible fancier who has reallj- had a goodly experience 
with these Gray fowls, to assume, in the light of to-day, that he breeds or 
meets with in his breeding o?!/y "pea-comb birds" from either Burnham's 
or Chamberlin's or Hatch's or Bennett's or anybody else's stock, is entirely 
unwarranted by all experience or previous facts in this case; and such asser- 
tions cannot be entertained for a moment by any one who "knows the ropes " 
in this Brahmapootra-Shanghae business, from the start, as I do. 

The pea-comb is the preferable one. The single-comb birds are and should 
be discarded. But when, from any strain, only the pea-combs are produced, 
uniformly and unexceptionally, and I can be convinced of this fact, I want a 
dozen fowls of that established, perfect, never-deviating breed of Brahmas or 
Gray Shanghaes, upon my premises ; for which I will gladly pay their owner, 
for the transfer of said stock to my yards, ten times the sum that any pur- 
chaser in America will pay for them ; since, though I have had no difficulty in 
preserving the color of my stock, in its shades of light and dark (never once 
having bred from my Gray Shanghaes a huff fowl, as some old Brahma 
breeders say they have from their strains), I have not been so fortunate, in 
mv five-and-twenty years' experience with this race, as to be able to avoid 
breeding both the single and the pea-combs, in my flocks ; and this, too, from 
the very beginning down to the year 1874. While, at this time, I venture 





further to predict, that the d;iy is not far distant, when, upon other colored 
Shanghae varieties, or •■Cocliins'' as we all now call them, this pea-comb 
will be bred universally, in preference to the single combs; as I know, just 
now, it is being successfully established by one American breeder, in perfec- 
tion, in Massachusetts,* upon the splendid '• Partridge Cocliins ; " and this 
adornment for the head of both varieties of the Brahmas, it needs not to be 
repeated, is the only style of comb that fanciers should breed, to be in the 
fashion. Siugle-comb Brahmas have no value nowadays for the shows. 

In all the public discussions, the Cornish-Chamberlin-Bennett tlieory advo- 
cates avoid alluding to the superb Dark variety of ''Brahmas" which I first 
sent out to Europe, in 1S53. Xone of these men refer to this splendid strain, 
which at once surprised and interested English breeders as intensely as had 
tlie beautiful early Liijhf birds I sent to the Queen, >tc. My Dark Grays were 
as fine as the Light, and were originally produced after an experimentally- 
studied union of my two imported Gray Shanghae strains, and have thousands 
of ardent admirers to-day; though eftbrts have been made in England to im- 
prove upon the originals, in the specimens latterly sent back from Great Britain, 
in the shape of fowls they there call '•' Dark Brahmas," but which so very 
frequently show the vulture hock, and are tainted in color with hrown or buff 
feathering, instead of carrying the unrivalled pure steel-gray plumage that 
alone characterized my original birds ; which defects plainly exhibit the Eng- 
lish crossing with the Buff or Partridge Cochin, or with both, as well as with 
that far more objectionable nuisance introduced on the other side of the water, 
and which can never be bred oif of their birds, — to wit, the unsightly " hock " 
upon the thighs, as is seen upon the cock, opposite. 

A somewhat extensive Light Brahma breeder in Massachusetts, who con- 
tends that only the pea-comb shows itself upon his breeding stock, wliich he 
traces back to the '' pure Chamberlin " strain, has recently written a lengthy 
treatise for a public journal, about breeding a "hocked" cock to Light pul- 
lets, for some purpose or other. Xow, this " vulture hock " is an English in- 
vention, altogether. It has been known in this country but a few years; and 
npon the original Gray birds it was not seen till long after we had sent our 
birds across the Atlantic. oSTeither in the Dark nor the Light Brahmas- was 

• Full-page illustrations of this choice new variety axe given in this worls:. See- pp. 
133 and li3. 


it ever discovered till the British fanciers had tried their experiments with 
the early stock, to "improve" what a Yankee fancier had first so nearly 
perfected, at the start. But this crossing in with hocked birds was one of 
their attempts to increase the leg-feathering in England. 

Never upon my stock, bred by itself, was seen the falcon hock, — this vil- 
lanous excrescence, first experimented with by English breeders, to add to the 
feathering on the shanks and " middle toes." Upon the modern English 
Dark Brahmas this offensive appendage is now of the commonest occurrence. 
It is in this blood, only; and I have seen no yards of the English Dark 
variety latterly among us that are not generously dotted with this blemish in 
the flocks. The lauded prize cock, figured upon page 86, belonging to Mr. 
Lingwood, a recent champion-bird in England of this class, it will be ob- 
served, shows a monstrous hook ; and yet he is considered one of the finest 
"Dark Brahma" cocks in Great Britain, and won first and cup at the lead- 
ing shows there, in two past seasons, against all comers. But this " hock- 
feathering," in either color, surely never cropped out upon my birds, if purely 
bred, either in England or America, as every fancier will bear me witness. 

Thus much for my original-imported and American-bred Brahmas. To go 
back a little, in justice to other parties, having now stated my own case as I 
conceive, fairly, and just as it existed from 1848, '49 to 1852, '53, '54, I give 
place to the following account, which was first published from Mr. Virgil 
Cornish of Connecticut at a later period; though the letter I am about to quote 
was dated March 2, 1852, and ran as follows : — 

" No doubt you are acquainted with the relative position of the State in 
India called Chittagong, and the River Brahmapootra. Chittagong is on 
the eastern border, bounding west on the Bay of Bengal. The Brahma- 
pootra River empties into that bay. If the Brahmapootra fowls came from 
that region, of which I think there is no doubt, still I am unable to say by 
which name they should be called with certainty." ... "In regard to the 
history of these fowls," -continues Mr. Cornish in this same letter, "very 
little is known. A mechanic by the name of Chamberlin (in Hartford, 
Conn.,) first brought them here. Mr. Chamberlin was acquainted with a 
sailor, who informed him that there were three pairs o/ large imported fowls 
in New York." {When this occurred, is not stated.) "But this sailor 
dwelt so much upon the size of these fowls, that Mr. Chamberlin furnished 
him with money, and directed him to go to New York and purchase a pair 


of til em for hira ; which he did, at a great expense." (Of M>/iom. this sailor 
bought this stray pair of Grays, is not known.) But " the sailor reported that 
he found one pair of gray ones, which he purchased." (Wherej nobody has 
ever stated.) " The second pair was dark-colored, and the third pair was 
red," continues JMr. Cornish. "The man in New York, whose name I have 
not got, gave no account of their origin, except that they had been brought 
by some sailors in the India ship«. The parties through whom the fowls 
came, as far back as I liave been able to trace them, are all obscure men." 
This was Mr. Cornish's first frank statement. 

Thus far, not much has been made out, as is evident, by Mr. Cornish in 
this account ; though he unreservedly states that " very little is known to 
him of their origin," any way. Most certainly, there is no evidence here 
that this pair of gray fowls, which Mr. Chamberlin gave a sailor money ia 
Hartford to go to New York to buy, were " imported " birds at all. Mr. 
Cornish simply claims that Mr. Chamberlin says he " sent a sailor with money 
to New York," and "this sailor reported that he found a pair of light-gray 
fowls (somewhere), which he purchased." But, as he probably did 7iot go to 
New York ; and, as neither this sailor, Mr. Chamberlin, nor Mr. Cornish tlien 
informs us of whom these fowls were obtained; where the sailor found them ; 
when they came into New York; whether they were old or young birds; 
what the name of the ship (or " ships ") was ; who " the sailors that brought 
them in the India ships " were ; who " the man in New York, that could give 
no account of their origin," was ; nor yet one word about the identity of " the 
parties through whose hands the fowls came," except that "all are obscure 
men," — this extraordinarily indefinite account is indeed suspicious ! This is 
Mr. Cornish's simple tale, however, at that time ; and he is entitled to the 
full benefit of his statement, which some one thus repeated to him. 

Further on, this same letter from Mr. Cornish says, " I obtained my stock 
from the original pair brought here by Mr. Chamberlin." Not from Mr. 
Chamberlin, but "from the stock brought here b>/ Mr. C." Now, it is clearly 
stated previously in this letter, that " a sailor brought these fowls to Hart- 
ford." Mr. Chamberlin " sent a sailor to New York, who reported he had 
found a pair, which he purchased." However, Mr. Cornish thus proceeds : 
" These fowls were named ' Chittagong ' by Mr. Chamberlin, on account of 
their resemblance, in some degree, to the fowls then in the country called by 


that name. The description of these fowls exactly corresponds with that 
given by travellers and sea-captains," (who? and when?) "of the large 
light-colored fowls found in the valley of the Brahmapootra, &c.," concludes 
Mr. Cornish, in his letter. 

The stock shown by Mr. Hatch at the Boston exhibition in 1852 (and I 
think in 1851 also), spoken of by Dr. Eben Wight in the Committee's Keport 
I have lately quoted from, — then called " Gray Chittagongs," — were said to 
have been bred from this Chauiberlin or Cornish stock, which came to Con- 
necticut in 1849, via a sailor, via a mechanic, via New York, via Hartford, 
" in the India ships," via the hands of " all obscure men." And so we never 
knew, and can certainly now never know, any thing further about tills "pair 
of Light Grays." Yet such is the sailor's and Mr. Cornish's account in 
1852, which Mr. Plaisted in 1874 pronounces a falsity, in toto. 

I have no more doubt to-day than I ever had, that these two fowls were 
chickens out oi mij yards in 1850 or 1851, or that they wore hatched by Now 
York or Connecticut parties out of eggs sent there from my original Light- 
Gray Shangliae fowls, than I have that I am living now to write this para- 
graph. Nobody knows and never did know anything to the contrary, as to 
th,iii strain of stock, except that "a sailor reported to Mr. Chamberlin " (who 
sent hira to New York after big fowls), that "he found a pair of light gray 
ones, which he purchased" of a man in New York, whose name Mr. Cham- 
berlin never got, and "who gave no account of their origin, except that they 
had been brought there by some sailors," &c., which statement is not a little 
mixed and doubtful, upon its face, to say the least of it. 

No time is fixed upon as to when these birds were thus " reported " to have 
been "found by a sailor," in Mr. Chamberlin's employ. Now, what became 
of Chamberlin's stock? Mr. Cornish says, "I procured my stock from the 
original jJ'i'ir)" &c. Mr. Chaml)erlin called tliem " Clilttaguni/s." Mr. Cor- 
nish sold his fowls (or some of them) to Mr. Hatch, who exhibited thom as 
"Gray Chittagongs." Wliy? Because, wlion they were placed in the show- 
room in Boston, alongside of my original Grays (then in G. W. George's 
hands), they so closely resembled the Chittagongs (as Mr. Cornish says), 
that Hatch considered this their proper name. Nobody tlien saw any differ- 
ence between these fowls, and mine, and George's, and Dr. Bennett's. But 
each of us had different titles for our birds, which the Committee of Judges 


complained of, as I have shown ; and Dr. Bennett was himself one of that 
Committee, who then contended so ardently for the "Brahmapootra" title, 
but who -was for the time being voted down in committee, three to one. 

Mr. Plaisted (Dr. Bennett's former partner), writing of the Brahmas in 
1S74, says that " Mr. Hatch entered his Chamberlin fowls at Boston as 
' Chittagongs.' Dr. Bennett then announced these as ' Brahmapootras.' 
He bought of and paid Hatch for his lot, and placed the prize cards on the 
coops, with the new name and the names of the owners, among which was 
Dr. Bennett's. This transaction displeased Mr. Hatch exceedingly; and 
this was his first and last connection with the New-England Society." Mr. 
Hatch preferred the name " Chittagong " to Bennett's proposed new title, and 
left the show-room in high dudgeon, because the Doctor had thus nicknamed 
what he called his " Chittagongs." 

"Mr. Hatch had more of this stock at home," continues Mr. Plaisted, 
"which by spring he was able to sell at round prices. He bred them in 
1852 and 1853, and his experience with them ended about that time. He bred 
those with pea-combs, and he considered them preferable to the single-combed 
for this frosty climate," — which last-mentioned fact proves again that there 
were a good many "single combs" around in those days, among the "pure 
pea-comb Cornish-Chamberlin-Hatch-Bennett-Plaisted ' Brahmapootras.' " 

How long Mr. Chamberlin bred the old pair of Grays, which are thus 
" reported " to have been purchased by a sailor, from no one knows ivho, no 
one knows where, and about which no one pretends to give any clue as to 
their origin, I am uninformed.* The first of the " Brahmapootra stock " I re- 
member ever to have seen, or heard of, was that which I have now described 
as having been put into the Boston show in 1852, and I think, also, the few 
young birds from Bennett in 1851; though I can find no reference made 
to any other entry or contribution in that year. My impression is that 
there were a few shown by Mr. Hatch in 1851, or some one from Connecti- 
cut, — young fowls, — though I am not certain about this. 

After the exhibition of 1852, however, the mania for the Gray fowls became 
rife, and everybody began to look about for good specimens of the Gray Shang- 

haes or "Brahmapootras." This name wassoon changed, because itproved too 

_ , . 

* In July, 1874, Mr. Plaisted says, " the old pair were killed in 1851." I am tempted to query 
whxjl And to further ask why these old fowls were never publicly shown? — G. P. B. 


cumbrous; and by the next year it had settled down partially towards Brahmah, 
and every one who had any of this stock — from my birds, from Bennett's, 
from George's, or from Hatch's, made the most of their opportunity ; while 
breeders generally, both in England and America, agreed upon this last cog- 
nomen (dropping the terminal h), as the accepted name for this fowl. I 
have never changed my opinion that it is a misnomer, however, though in 
its brevity, now, it is a good title. \ 

The fowl itself is of Chinese origin. None of the American original'l 
stock (of any nominal strain) ever saw India, the Brahmapootra River, Luck-' 
ipoor, or the Bay of Bengal. Nobody in that region of country has ever seen 
or reported this fowl as being known tli&re. Notwithstanding the past five 
and twenty years of excitement in America and Europe about these fowls, 
when it has been freely known to sailors and shipmasters constantly coming 
from and going to India, how valuable would be any fresh importation of 
such stock, never but this once can it be said tliat "these Gray fowls came 
from India." No duplicate shipments have ever been made from " Luckipoor 
up the Brahmapootra." No such fowls have ever since been heard of, seen, ■ 
" found," " reported," bought, or possessed, by anybody, a,njwhere, in Eng- 
land, or America, except this very stock (and its progeny) that I have now; 
described; and all of which, I solemnly believe, came from the pair of Phil- ' 
adelphia Gray birds (1849) and the five Light Gray fowls I purchased in 
New York, on board ship from Shanghae, through Wm. T. Porter, Esq., in 
1850 ; and no honest " evidence " to the contrary exists. 1 

No Gray Shanghaes, no Gray Chittagongs, no Light Gray Brahmas, no such 
Crray fowls of any description, have come tp America or into Great Britain, 
from either Shanghae or India, in the past nearly twenty-five years! All the 
fowls we have had, therefore, have been bred from these two original impor-. 
tations — my stock — as I have clearly demonstrated, at least to my own; 
satisfaction. When anybody can show me any evidence that I am in error^ 
regarding either of the strains I have alluded to, which are all the ori- 
ginal Light Grays (or Brahmas) that anybody has ever mentioned, to my 
knowledge, I shall be very glad to be corrected. Until we have something 
clearer and more definite upon this subject than we ever have had thus far, 
the /acfe, as I have now stated them, must therefore stand; and my stock 
is fully entitled to the claim I have set up for its originality, in this country 
and Great Britain, whether that stock be good or bad. 

DARK r.r.AHMA COCK AND HEX. i Prize Fowls. From Life.) 
Bred anil owneil by W. H. Toilil, Vermillion, Ohio. 


III the face of these facts, nevertheless, almost a score of years afterwards, 
a Mr. Weld "fires off" at Virgil Cornish of Connecticut " a whole string of 
interrogatories," says Wright, to prove that this " one pair of large gray fowls " 
(which this man in Connecticut had first announced he received there in 
1S49) ''came into New York in a ship from Luckipoor in India, in Septem- 
ber, 1846 ! " For some reason best known to himself, this Mr. M. C. Weld 
thus thrust himself into temporary notoriety, and fancied that he could 
acquire favor with the Englishman, if he could contrive to drag out of 
Cornish some sort of testimony confirmatory of his (Wright's) silly theory ; 
but found, alas ! that he had simply been " hoisted by his own petard." For 
Cornish had unluckily forgotten his 1849 story, and fatally named the year 
184G as the time when he got his wonderful "Brahma Pootras ; " which he 
then (in 1869) states were so named in 1850 ! What name did he call 
these birds by from 1846 to 1850? Can Cornish or Weld or Wright in- 
form us upon this trivial point ? And can either of this hopeful trio, who 
are so " accurate ',' and " explicit " and " unanswerable " in their statements 
and conclusions, tell us where these remarkable birds were secreted, from 
1846 or 1847 up to 1850 and 1851, that nobody knew of, or had ever seen 
them ? "We pause for a reply," but fear we shall hardly live long enough 
to get one from these " clearly accurate " and truth-loving gentlemen ! 

Upon this plainly doubtful story, when it was given to the public, the ac- 
complished editor of the London Field commented very sharply, and showed 
how manifestly improbable was this adroitly-concocted narrative. So far as 
Mr. Cornish's tale was concerned, this writer said: — 

"A sailor, whose name nobody knows, belonging to a ship whose name no 
one remembers, and having a captain also unknown, is stated to have ' sailed 
from the port of Luckipoor' with these original fowls. It is a pity Mr. Cor- 
nish did not also forget the name of this port ; for geographical truth compels 
us to state that Luckipoor is not a port at all ! but a small inland town in the 
Himalava Mountains, one hundred miles distant from the nearest point of 
the Brahmapootra River. Luckipoor is not among the ports mentioned in 
the ' Sailing Directions of British India;' and, as far as we gan learn from 
naturalists, and others acquainted with that part of the world, no such race of 
birds is to be found there." 

This emphatic clincher, from such authority as W. B. Tegetmeier, F.Z.S., 
is acknowledged all over the world to be, might be accepted ordinarily as a 
finality. Mr. Wright shrewdly " dismisses thia subject of Luckipoor," very 


summarily, after reading the above from the Field (see Wright's latest work, 
p. 243), " with the simple remark that it is scarcely matter for wonder that 
the name of the sliip, captain, and sailor should be forgotten," &c. But I 
will add here, that, inasmuch as no such skip ever arrived at New York, 
either in 1849 first, or in 184G afterwards (as the two Cornish letters " accu- 
rately state "), this fact will better account for all this " forgetting," or "never 
knowing the names of either sailor,* ship, captain, or original owner " of these 
"large light-gray fowls, so reported to have been found" somewhere (?) for 
Mr. Chamberlin. 

After Mr. Cornish's two different statements were published, and fulsomely 
indorsed by Wright as being " unanswerably accurate " regarding the true 
origin of this so-called Chamberlin pair of Light Brahmas, I visited New 
York for the purpose of learning something about this fabulous " India ship," 
thus said to have arrived there twice, so mysteriously, with these lauded birds 
on board, from Luckipoor. 

I obtained access to the old Customs' Registers there, from a critical exam- 
ination of which, though I previously, knew all about this Bennett " Brahma- 
pootra " swindle, I ascertained the following two important facts, viz., that 
there is not upon the records of the foreign inward arrival lists there, any 
mention made oi any ship or vessel from " the port of Luckipoor, in India," 
in amj month of the year 1849, first ; nor is any such arrival at New York 
recorded " in September " (or in any other month) " of the year 1846," after. 

This finishes the sailor-Cornish story; which, no doubt, Mr. Cornish and 
Mr. Chamberlin believed when it was first told. But, as Mr. Tegetmeier 
truthfully asserted, " there isn't a particle of evidence in this to show that 
these fowls ever came from India." Dr. Bennett, one of Wright's claimed 
chief witnesses, purchased of me, for $50, the first pair of Grays I ever bred ; 
from which he bred the first so-called " Brahmapootra " chickens he ever ex- 
hibited (uide official report of judges at exhibition) in Boston, Mass. And 
the Cornish (Hatch) fowls then shown were there called "Chittagongs," as 
see Cornish's two letters, and the report. 

When, in 1853, the Dark Brahmas were also first sent out from my yards 
in Melrose, Mr. Tegetmeier in his "Poultry Book" justly observes, "Sud- 
denly a new variety sprang upon the scene. These were the Dark Brahmas, 

* In the fall of 1874, a Connecticut writer saye this sailor "still lives! " 


wliicli Mr. Burnlmm of tlie United States sent to Mr. John Baily of London, 
wliicli wore exhibited at the Birmingham show (1853), among the extra 
stock ; and one pair of which were purchased of him by Mr. Taylor of Shep- 
ard's Busli, for 100 guineas " (f 500) ! 

Now, these Dark Brahma fowls were very choice birds. And I sent this 
trio out to ^h: Baily, in response to his express order that " they must be 
tiuer than an}' thing I had yet sent to England, if it were possible." They 
were good ones, very large, in splendid condition, finelj' pencilled, and car- 
ried off tlie first prize at the Birmingham show of 1853, alongside of the 
splendid Light Grays I had the previous year sent to the Queen. But all 
these fowls were bred from the same stock precisely, at first. The Dark 
and the Light varieties both came out of the Philadelphia Grays and the 
lighter colored Gray birds I subsequently obtained from Shanghae through 
Mr. Porter, at New York. And just as soon as it was discovered that the 
Dark Brahmas were to become popular, and the fact was published that 
the first Dark Brahmas sent to England had come out from Mr. Burnham 
of Melrose, who had sent the first Light ones there, Mr. Cornish of Con- 
necticut (or some one for him) published in a New- York paper the fact that 
" he noticed, in course of time, as he bred his Brahmas, that theij greiv 
darker in color." But neither he nor they had any Dark Brahmas to offer 
from the pretended pair " reported by a sailor " to have been " found in New 
York," the " origin of which nobody knew any thing about, except that the 
first pair had been brought in the India ships, from up the Brahmapootra 
River, which empties into the Bay of Bengal," &c. ; — which account might 
have answered a purpose, had it been made public at any time prior to March 
2, 1852, three years after I had been breeding my fine Gray fowls and send- 
ing their chickens and eggs all over this country and England. 

Whether my account thus gives the true origin of the Brahmas or not, 
is not very material at this late day. I have now written it, however, and 
furnished do.ta to back it ; and I have given the statement made by Mr. 
Cornish, in his early letter, regarding the Chamberlin-Hatch fowls. I have 
no doubt that Mr. Cornish — who is a very respectable and veracious gentle- 
man — helieved what Mr. Chamberlin told him "the sailor reported" to 
Mr. Chamberlin, as having come "from the New York man, who knew 
nothing of the origin of the light Gray fowls " thus "found" there. And 
Mr. Chamberlin, also, might have believed what this. sailor said. The sailor 


probably believed what the man in New York (if there were any such man) 
said, — to wit, that he " knew nothing of their origin," &o. And, though these 
New- York parties are described by Mr. Cornish as being " all very obscure 
men," it may be that " the man in New York, whose name he has not got," 
believed the storj' he repeated to the sailor, about what the other sailors told 
him regarding these fowls coming there " in the India ships," &c. But I 
don't. That is all the difference tliere is, or ever has been, between the 
theory of Mr. Cornish and Wright, and the facts that I have herein related. 

But this tale was utterly witliout foundation as to the Cornish-Chamberlin 
graj' fowls having "come from India,'''' as this sailor is said to have an- 
nounced; for no such arrival of the ship thus reported came into New York 
from India, either in 1849, 184G, or 1817 ! No light " Gray Shanghae " and 
no " Brahmapoutra" fowls ever came "from India" to Cornish, Cbamberlin, 
Burnham, or any other man in America. The name " Brahmapoutra" was 
concocted by Dr. Bennett, against my protest, and has been since adopted 
by us all. The " Gray Shanghaes," or (now) "Brahmas," never saw India; 
but I chanced to possess the first of this race that were thus developed. 

It is altogether too much mixed, — this theory. And, what J further be- 
lieve, and always have believed, about this very "pair of light Gray fowls" 
which Mr. Chamberlin so got, through his "sailor" agent, who '^reported 
that he found them in New York," is, that they went there from my stock ; 
and that "the man in New York " sold them to him "at a great expense," 
perhaps knowing whence they came (and perhaps not), but making the most 
he could in this bargain, because they were "a very fine pair of large ones." 

What confirms me the more in this belief, is the notorious fact that none of 
this splendid stock was seen anywliere until after I had bred my Grays in Kox- 
■bury two seasons; and not until Dr. Bennett produced his fowls at the shows 
of 1851 and 1852. Then we had young samples of this so-called Cornish- 
Chamberlin-Hatch stock; but no old Gray fowls were even then shown, except 
viine — a fact that cannot be disputed. 

Now, i/this stock could have been shown to have existed in America ^n'or 
to my introduction of the Grays to notice in 1849, '50, as the record exhibits in 
my case, — why not then have let us know where it was, who bred it, what it 
was called, and whence it had come ? What need existed for all this secrecy 
and ignorance and ambiguity about a single pair of fowls ? It is too late to 
go back now, and say in one sentence (as some one asserted in 1873) that the 

snAxo/iAE, cocnix, brahmj. 99 

" Light Brahmas came to this country from India in 1846," and undertake to 
explain this nonsense by stating that tlie said fowls were the Cornish-Cham- 
berlin stock ; because nobody has ever yet claimed tliat any of tJiat strain of 
" Light Brahmas " were seen until 1851 and 1852, and fhi'se were only chick- 
ens, or one-year-old birds. If " they were brought here in 1846," where zuere 
they, pray, from 1846 to 1850, '51, four or five years '? when every competing 
fancier and poultiy-raiser in Xew England — such active men as Burnham, 
Bennett, Capt. Williams, iMarsh, Dr. Wight. Balch, Devereux, Ad. White, 
Buckminster, Jaques, Sampson, and a hundred others — were constantly on the 
qui vive, in search of large fowls and novelties in poultry; and who travelled 
the country in every direction, continually looking out for something new, 
which they could turn to profit, in this line, "without regard to expense"? 

Is it at all probable, if such birds were then in this country, that some of, 
us busy searcliers for " marvellous chickens " would not have found them, or 
have known the fact of their existence, for five long years, in the midst of the 
mania then current for the biggest and most extraordinary fowls to be had ? 
Or is it at all likely, if ant/ man had such fowls in 1846, that he wouldn't 
have let somebody know it in 1847, 1848, and 1849, when the rage was well 
known to have existed everywhere in England and America for Shanghaes 
and Cochins and Chittagongs, and prices for good specimens, their progeny, 
or their eggs, were approaching the fabulous ? 

If the fowls reported to have been brought to New York "by some sailors 
in the India ships" were the ones that were said in 1873 to have "arrived 
here in 1S46," will some one kindlj- prove to us where those " three pairs of 
imported fowls, of enormous size " were secreted — among them this " one 
pair of Light Gray ones," and their progeny — from 1846 to 1851, '52 ? What 
became of the old pair ? why were they never exhibited ? where did tJiey 
live? where did they die? and who owned them at last? Can anybody 
answer these queries ? I think not .' And I am also quite positive that, what- 
ever may be the facts as to the origin of the Cornish fowls, no " Light Brahmas 
came to this country in 1846,"' to anybody. And it is quite as certain, to my 
view, that no Brahmas ever " came from India," at any time, to America. 
Most certain is it that, since the debut of my Light and Dark Brahmas in 
the United States and England, no " Brahmas " of any kind have again been 
imported from anywhere in the East, into Great Britain or America. 

It would be erroneous to assume that the modern Dark Brahmas, such as 


have in late years been received in this country from England, from leading 
breeders there, are not sometimes improved birds in their general make-up. 
This is frankly conceded, especially when we occasionally meet with importa- 
tions fro'm that country believed to be any thing near the mark set forth in the 
two admirable delineations in this volume, to be found on pages 93 and 101. 
But these representations, though very attractive to look at, are of course very 
partial, or are largely " fancy pictures." We have bred and seen and handled 
a great many hundreds of superior Brahmas in our time ; but we have yet to 
see the living specimens of this race that ever equalled these "portraits," 
as they are designated by the English breeders of them ; and we greatly doubt 
if such perfect specimens are raised there, often! 

Still these pictures are said to be life-likenesses of representative birds 
belonging to different English fanciers, that have taken first prizes at sev- 
eral of the leading Exhibitions in Great Britain in 1873 and 1874. The 
nearest approach to these hens that we have ever had in America were two of 
the five extraordinary Dark Brahmas shown for the Churchman prize at 
Buffalo in January, 1874. The specimen that won, in that show, marked 97 
points, according to the old standard, and is a very extra sample, of superb 
symmetry and color. In 1873 we bred, among a considerable number of 
Dark pullets, two only of the pure clear steel-gray, that at eighteen months 
old proved splendid hens. But they do not equal the pictures given of the 
English prize birds ; and we never expect to meet with the reality which 
these fine drawings represent. Both these pictures show us very perfect 
samples, however, and these are a very good pattern for ambitious fanciers to 
aim to equal in form, feathering, marking, carriage, and general contour. 

It is very well to place such charming specimens publicly before the readers 
of the poultry-books, because they are certainly very pleasant to contemplate ; 
and it may be that some of our enterprising American amateurs or fanciers will 
be tempted to strive to breed quite up to such models. It may be that it has 
been done in England. But we doubt if any such birds were ever produced, 
through former or modern efforts. At the same time, we commend these 
to the notice of the reader, as rare models indeed ; and trust that some Yankee 
breeder may succeed in producing their equals, sooner or later. Of one thing 
we feel pretty certain : none of us will ever contrive to excel them. 

In the Light variety, we can equal the English, and " give them odds," yet. 
No samples, to our eye, have ever been bred abroad, of this color, such as a 

THrO OF DARK P.RAHMAS. Imported by S. H. Seamans, Esq., Wauwatosa, Wis. 

Cl'.oice specimens of this variety are breii also bv AVills & Peter, BIooming:ton, Til ; C. G. Sanford, 
Providence, E.F. ; E. J. Taylor, Waterloo, N.Y. ; W. S. Randall, Micli., etc. 




dozen leading American fanciers have in their yards to-day, hy scores ; while, 
at the public exhibitions of the past three or four years in the Eastern 
States, as well as at Philadelphia, Penn., and at Buffalo, N.Y., individual 
cocks and hens of the Light Brahmas have been shown that have never been 
equalled in Great Britain, and will be hard to beat in this country, in the 


future. And we now refer especially to the prize Light Brahmas at the Bos- 
ton show in February, 1874, the contributions of Messrs. Sturtevant of Fra- 
mingham, and Mr. Buzzell of Clinton, Mass., and also 'to the Plaisted and 
Carpenter fowls, as now being bred in Hartford, Conn. 

It is not my design in these pages to argue the question of origin. I 
have stated and will state only patent facts regarding the nativity of my 
own stock, and shall quote such accounts as I can find, or am familiar with, 
in reference to the stock of other importers. If what I record in this book is 
inaccurate, the error will be unintentional; and I shall aim to be very care- 
ful in my statements. 

Yet, so far as I am informed at this time, I have herein set down the 
exact truth, accompanied with veritable vouchers regarding the origin of my 
Gray Shanghae, or now so-called " Brahma " stock ; and I believe that the opin- 
ion I have expressed and have always entertained in reference to what has been 
claimed as another strain, is entirely in accordance with reason and verity. And 
the more I see of this splendid stock of both colors, as it is now bred from year 
to year in England or the United States, the more firmly am I convinced 
that it originated alone with the birds first in my possession ; of which, as to 
their quality, color, proportions, and leading characteristics, I give the 
annexed authentic descriptions from 1849 forward, taken from the pub- 
lished authorities, — which I quote below, with dates, and names of the sev- 
eral authors who have hitherto described my fowls ; as may be learned by 
reference to the original statements, copies of which I here append : — 

"This is a very superior bird, showy in plumage ; and the color of mine 
(the Philadelphia first pair) is gray, generally, with lightish yellow and 
white feathers on pullets; the cock gray body, tinted with stray light and 
white; the tail and breast being nearly hlack." — G. P. Burnhani's descrip- 
tion, in Dr. Bennett's Poultry Book, of his original pair received from Dr. 
Kerr in 1849. 

" This fowl, so remarkable for size and beauty, is placed first among domes- 
tic varieties, as the true gallus giganteus. The specimens (cock and hen) 
from which the portraits here presented were taken are in possession of 
George P. Burnham, Esq., of Koxbury, Mass., and were obtained by him 
from Dr. J. J. Kerr (Asa Rugg), near Philadelphia, Penn." — Dr. J. C. 
Bennett's Poultry Book," p. 27, published in March, 1850. 

" The mature fowls presented to the Queen of Great Britain left me in 
December, 1852. The 'London Illustrated News' of Jan. 22, 1853, says, 


' A very clioice consignment of Joniestio fowls from G. P. BLirnham, Esq., 
was broujrlit to Her IMajesty (Jneon Victoria, by last steamer from the 
United States. They arc denominated " Gray Shanghaes " (in contradis- 
tinction to the Red or Yellow Shanghaes). They are of mammoth propor- 
tions and exquisite plumage, light silvery bodies, approaching white, 
delicately traced and pencilled with black upon neck-hackles, and tips of wings 
and tail. The whole of these birds are almost precisely alike, in form, 
plumage, and general characteristics.' . . . ' The color is creamy white, 
slightly splashed with pale straw-color, tail black, and hackles pencilled with 
black.'" — Buniham's Historjj of the Hen Fener, pp. 102, 103, in 1855. 
Extracted from London News of February, 1853. 

" Among the first Light Brahmas ever seen in England were those sent 
here bj^ Mr. G. P. Burnham," says Mr. Tegetmeier in 1867; and, in the same 
work on poultry, Dr. Wm. Custe Gwynne says, " What confirms me in my 
view as to the identity of these ' Brahmapoot7-as' (so called by Dr. Ben- 
nett, who sent Dr. Gwynne his fowls) with these Shanghaes, is the fact that 
the fowls previously presented to Her Majesty by Mr. Burnham, under the 
name of ' Gray Shanghaes,' are admitted by Dr. Bennett (the author of the 
name 'Brahmapootra') to be precisely similar to his own." — Rev. W. 
Wingfield's London Illustrated Poultry Book, p. 177, 1853. 

"There is not a particle of evidence to show that these fowls were 'im- 
ported from India.' From all we can learn from naturalists and others who 
have visited that part of the world, no such race of birds have ever been seen 
or known there. In fact, they did 7iot originate in India, but in America." — 
London Illustrated Poultry Book, by Tegetmeier, 1867. . 

"The Light Brahmas are undoubtedly tc^wiiicaZ with those (rray birds that 
in the first importation came from Shanghae ; and public attention was first 
called to tliem by an acute fancier, Mr. Geo. P. Burnham, presenting a con- 
signment of them to Her Majesty the Queen, in 1852." ..." These 
birds were subsequently exhibited by His Royal Highness the late Prince 
Albert, at the London and Birmingham shows, as ' Brahmapootras.' These 
Light Bralimas, with pure white or cream-colored bodies, and elegantly pen- 
cilled hackles, were in great favor, and were universally admired for their 
beauty, &c., when suddenly a. ?ieiy variety sprang upon tlie scene. A pair of . 
birds were shown at Birmingham (in 1853), which were sold for 100 guineas. 
These were darli colored, and different from the others. Tiiey ivere the first 
'Dark Bbahmas' ever seen in this country. Thej' were sent from Mr. G. 
P. Burnham of the United States, to Mr. John Baily of London, in 1863 ; 
and Mr. Taylor of Shepard's Bush was the purchaser of this pair at the 
Birmingliam Exhibition," at the figure above mentioned. — Tegetmeier' s 
Poultry Book (Illustrated) in 1867. 



" We have found, in our own }'ards, that 2ve could soon breed black Brah- 
mas (?) if such were desired; or tliat in three seasons, by choosing the 
lightest, we could produce almost clear white ones ; and, as the original 
birds were somewhat darker than the 'Light Brahmas ' notv shown, either 
color (Dark or Light) could have been bred from them with still greater 
rapidity and ease." — Lewis Wriylit, Illustrated Poultry Book, in 1870, 
p. 246. 

Both the Light and the Dark " Brahmas," as they are bred in England 
and America to-day, are strong types of the true Gray Shanghae race. For 

^ ^-h^-JO*.";! -i' 


five-and-twenty years they have continued on in their unrivalled beauty of 
form, plumage, great size, and admirable qualities for usefulness among poul- 
try ; and no one who breeds these varieties as they should be bred — uncon- 
taminated, amongst themselves — can fail to be delighted with the results. 
]Mr. Flaisted says, in his recently-published history, that "the birds Mr. 
Buriihara sent to England he knows nothing aboiit ; " but that the birds lie 
and Dr. Bennett sent out there bred Buff chickens, and he " was more afraid 
of this stock " (which he claims is the Cornish-Chamberlin strain, inire) 
" throwing bujf chickens," sometimes, " after he sent his fowls to England, 
than of any thing else." 


This might have been so with Mr. Plaistod's birds; and we all hnow that 
Dr. Bennett's stock at the outset had the butF or liglit drab silver-cinnamon 
cross in it. But / never knew of the first instance, until Wright falsely thrust 
my name into a misquoted paragraph on this point in his " Book of Poultry," 
where chickens from ?)ty fowls came of " a buff color." And I do not believe 
it ever occurred. 

At all events, I can solemnly aver that I have bred thousands upon thou- 
sands of my own stock, and I know of other thousands that have been bred, 
in both countries, that never failed in the last quarter of a century to 
breed onhj pure Light and Dark Gray fowls. They are naturally a parti- 
colored bird, black and white; and the range of color in chickens, for years, 
was uneven, coming lighter or darker at times, — from which, in subsequent 
mating, either for breeding or for selling, it was found advisable to match the 
birds nearest of a color together. But never a Buif chicken have I met with, 
yet, in my Gray progeny. And I have yet to learn authentically of any one 
who has bred them pure, as I tried to breed them — by themselves — who has 
ever encountered this variation in the true Burnham stock. 

And here I reprint an article from a correspondent of " The New York 
Bulletin," Mr. Walker Waite (now of Brooklyn, formerly of Mass.), an early 
patron of mine, who thus tells his experience with my Gray Shanghae stock, 
in 1874. He says, — 

" A recent writer (Mr. C. C. Plaisted) in a poultry monthly commences 
a history of the early days of the Brahmapootra fowl, and tells us some 
new things about the long-contested question as to where the first ones 
came from. I don't think it is much of an object to know this ; but, whatever 
is the true account, this writer has stated several glaring mistakes in his first 
article on this subject. His dates are wrong and mixed; or else Mr. Cor- 
nish's and Chamberlin's and the 'old salt's' account, and Wright, Teget- 
meier, Burnham, Bennett, and twenty others, are wrong. His original fowls, 
— that is, the first Chamberlin pair, — Mr. Cornish says, '"came into Connect- 
icut from New York early in 1849, and he got his stock of Chamberlin, 
next season.' Was there another pair of large Light Graj^ fowls got by this 
same Mr. Chamberlin, through another sailor, two years before this? — or, as 
this new writer says, 'by a Mr. Knox, in 1847, /or Mr. Chamberlin.' 

" I never before heard of this, if it is so. But I think it must refer to 1849, ' 
when Cornish first tells his story (in his letter, March 2, 1852). At all 
events, one other point in this article is new, and that is that this Gray stock 
produced Buff fowls. This writer says indirectly, at random, that ' the early 


Brahmas sent to England by himself, Dr. Bennett, Hatch, &c., which Mr. 
Lewis Wright has described as " Ur. Bennett's ^jwre Brahmas," in breeding 
showed many different colors; the most objectionable being pure hujf, as 
fine as we see to-day among the Buff Cochins.' 

" I liave bred tlie Light and Dark Gray birds several years. I had my first 
ones from Mr. Burnham, and from eggs I bought of liim, direct; and I have 
had tile Cornish stock since. I bred them in 1852, '53, '54, and after that 
in 1859, '60. But I never yet saw a Buff chicken out of eitlier of these Gray 
strains; and, if there was any one thing the Burnham "Gray Shanghae " 
stock did, it was that they bred true to color, as long as I had them. I have 
no doubt all this stock comes from one parentage, and that it is all Chinese, 
and not East India poultry. Mr. Burnham unquestionably gave us the first 
specimens, — whether they were good or poor; and the others probably came 
out of the same stock Ills did, in some way." 

In furtherance of my opinion, I affirm that at the very last annual ex- 
hibitions of poultry in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York State, the 
first premium "Brahma" fowls, both Dark and Light, were the exact 
counterparts in color, form, and markings of the best specimens I showed in 
Boston, and sent out to England to Her Majesty the Queen, to Mr. John 
Baily of London, and others, in 1851, '52, and '53. 

In September, 1870, Mr. John Baily wrote me on the subject of Brahmas 
these words^ " I continue to breed from the progeny the old type of ' Brah- 
mas ' which you sent me sixteen years ago, as you may have observed from 
the fine birds I have sent hence to Mr. Philander Williams and others in the 
United States." These choice Brahmas, which Mr. Baily has thus returned 
to tlie United States (bred out of my original stock), have taken prizes re- 
'peatedly, as their parents did before them, at the principal exliibitions in 
America, in the last half-a-dozen years, — Mr. Philander Williams's splendid 
samples frequently bearing off the palm among the best, as everj'body in this 
country is aware. A Worcester (Mass.) correspondent of " The Fancier's 
Journal" thus puts it, in July 1874. He says, 

" The real facts are : Dr. Bennett bought of Mr. Burnham the very old 
gray pair that Dr. Kerr sent to Burnham from Philadelphia in 1849. Dr. 
Bennett bred them, and in 1851 or 1852 exhibited chicltens from them, 
which were the first Brahmas, or then called ' Burrampooters ' (see Report 
of show) ever shown. If this name was established in 1850 (as Mr. Wright 
makes Cornish say in 1869, though in 1852 Mr. Cornish himself then calls 
them ' Chittagongs,' in his original letter), why did not Dr. Bennett, in his 


Poiilti-y Book in 1850, '51, illustrate and describe those fowls of Cornish's? 
Dr. Bennett does not mention t\w word Cornisli, ' Burrampooter,' 'Brahma- 
pootra,' or ' Brahma,' in his entire book. Why not ? 

" Mr. Wright says he 'was an enthusiastic admirer of Brahmas,' and 'got 
liis stock of Cornisli.' Cornish says tliis '■(tame was established in 1850.' 
How can this be ' correct history ? ' If these fine fowls had been known as 
Brahmas in 1850, when Bennett (who loved them so dearly, according to 
Wriglit) wrote and published his descriptions of Burnhani's stock and 
others, would not Dr. Bennett have been likelj' to know something of the ex- 
istence of Mr. Cornish or his fowls ? I think this is clear ; and I have never 
yet seen this important point brought forward. It certainly cannot be true 
that this 'Brahma' name was established in 1850. Probably Mr. Cornish 
meant 1852, or later — for he saj's himself, in his first published letter, March 
2, 1852, that they were called ' Chittagong.' At that time Mr. Burnham 
had been breeding the Light Gray birds, which he always called ' Gray 
Shanghaes,' I believe, for several years, according to Dr. Bennett's authority. 

" J\[r. Wright is very clearly at fault in this respect ; and his statement in 
his 'Brahma Fowl,' that 'the first pair of Cornish fowls ever bred came into 
Connecticut in 18-19,' contradicts his own witness, Cornish, also, who says, in 
18(i9, that the fowls came in 1816. Mr. Wright's theory about this question 
seems to be the worst thing he ever tried to prove, with the conflicting testi- 
mony he has thus far produced; while I thijds: no poultry man in America, 
at least, ever put any faith in the stupid ' sailor's story.' And the statement 
of ' F. K. W.' that Mr. Wright is acknowledged to be the best living author- 
ity on this breed of fowls, is simply ridiculous. How could he, three thou- 
sand miles away, know any thing on this subject of origin, except what he 
reads or hears about from this side of the water ? " 

Mr. Mark Pitman of Salem, Mass., an old, cautious, experienced breeder 
of Chinese fowls, who knows as much about the origin of the " Brahmas " 
as does any American fancier, has within a few years publicly stated that 
"the Light and Dark Brahmas, as originally bred, have both nearly the 
same origin ; " and that " they were not imported, but were bred first in this 
country." Mr. Pitman adds, that "Mr. G. P. Burnham, who surprised not 
only the royal family of Queen Victoria, but all the breeders of fowls in 
England (in 1852), by his present of an elegant lot of mature Light 
Brahmas, then sent to Her Majesty the Queen, saw in the Dark variety still 
greater remuneration, and disposed of them at what might even now be 
termed fabulous prices. This variety at once took the lead of all others (for 
a time) ; and from this stock many of the large breeders of England ^nd 
Ireland were supplied subsequently." And, from the progeny of these birds, 


which I sent to Great Britain, as in the instance of Mr. Baily of IMount 
Street, Loiiilon (one of the leading dealers in England), have come back to 
the United States from Ireland and England during the years 1865 and 
1866 down to 1873, '74, scores of trios of choice Dark Brahma birds, again 
the counterparts, with but slight variation, of the superior samples I first sent 
out to Mr. Baily in 1853. 

In further confirmation of this position as to prioritj' of date in the 
introduction of the Dark Bralnnas to public notice, T quote from the cohinins 
of "The New- York Poultry Bulletin," in the month of June, 1874, this 
sentence, from the advertisement of Mr. John Baily & Son of London, still 
running in tliat magazine: " Now ready for immediale shipment, — lirah- 
mas, Light and Dark ; the former from English cocks and riiilander Wil- 
liams's pullets; the latter direct descent from G. V. Burnham's con- 
signment to us" (in 1853). 

The theory of the advocates of the Cornish-Chamberlin-Beunett-IIatch- 
Brahmapootra origin is, first, that Chamberlin (rii/c. Coruisli in 1S52) 
"brought liis fowls into Connecticut in the early part of 1849." In 1860, 
this same Mr. Cornish appears to have been drawn out in a second letter, by 
a IMr. Weld (whom nobodj' previously had heard of), to aver that "the 
Chamberlin fowls came from Luckipoor in India, up the Brahmapootra 
River, into New York in September, 1846." Tliis goes back of his Jirst 
plain assertion, according to Lewis Wright, tliree years. The reasons for 
this second story I will explain in the closing chapter to this volume. 

In 1874, Mr. Plaisted of Connecticut, who claims to be " the oldest 
breeder of Light Brahnias in America" (and who was formerly a partner, in 
1853, of Dr. Bennett, the author of the "Brahmapootra" iiamc), writes as 
follows, in an article furnished to " The Hartford Boultry World," page V2l, 
in June : — 

"The first pair of these fowls, about which there has been so much dis- 
cussion, and so much written, were brought by one Charles Knox to Mr. 
Nelson H. Chamberlin, a resident of Hartford, Conn., in 1847. They were 
first bred by Mr. Chamberlin in 1848. . . . Mr. (Jhamberlin paid for his first 
pair of these fowls the sum of five dollars, — considered at that time a fabu- 
lous price. . . . Cliarles Knox was at that time clerk on a propeller running 
between Hartford and New York, and was cousin to Mr. Chamberlin's wife. 
Haying been requested by Mr. Cluxmlierlin to purchase a nice pair of fowls 
in New York, — something neiv, — Mr. luiox soon reported seeing two pairs 


(not three pairs, as Cornish stated in his 1S52 letter), one red, tlie ottier 
gray, ji(st arrived on an East-India vessel, and that lie had the refusal of a 
pair until the next trip. Tlio result was the selection of the Grays at 
a venture, and their removal to Hartford. Mr. Chaniberlin related these 
facts to me, himself." • 

The final conclusions of Lewis Wright's labored argiiment, put forth to 
prove what never existed, and which never had the slightest foundation in 
fact, are thus expressed by this English " authority," in the lust paragraph 
of his " Brahma Fowl, a Monograph : " — 

"It will be observed that the original importation being now determined 
so early as 1846," . . . "there is not the slightest reason to question, that 
both Light and Dark Brahmas may have been derived from the one stock 
introduced into Connecticut by Mr. Chamberlin " (when?) "and afterwards 
fostered by Mr. Cornish and Dr. Bennett." ..." The testimony (Mr. Cor- 
nish's), so full and explicit, must be considered finally to settle this question" 
— of the origin and "importation" of the Chamberlin-Cornish pair of fowls. 

We have shown, in this volume, that no ship "arrived at New York from 
Luckipoor in India," either in 1849 or 1846, as Cornish states in his two 
letters of 1852 and 1869. We have also shown that no such " East-India 
vessel " arrived in New York in 1847, as a later writer has it. And we have 
adduced ample recorded evidence, dating long prior to the apjpjearance of 
Cornish, or his fowls in public, which shows that the Burnham " Gray 
Shanghaes" had been seen, talked about, written of, pictured, published in 
the poultry papers and books ; and were everywhere known, as early as in 
1849, to be " at the head of the list of modern domestic varieties " at that 
period in the world. And it will thus be seen that all there is to this con- 
troversy is, therefore, resolved into the following simple facts, to wit : — 

The Chamberlin-Cornish-Bennett pair of large Gray fowls were first seen 
"in Connecticut in the early part of 1849," in Chamberlin's hands. They 
were stated to have been picked up somewhere, by " a sailor," who " bought 
them at a great price" ($5.00 the pair, so Chamberlin tells Plaisted in 
1874) ; and Cornish bought his stock the next year of Chamberlin, in 1850. 
In 1851 or 1852, a Mr. Hatch exhibited a few young Light Gray chickens, 
which he called " Chittagongs." Cornish says the name Brahmapootra 
"was established in 1850." Mr. Plaisted says, "in all Cornish's state- 


meiits to Wriglit, Cornish is one year earlier in date tlian lie ought to 

But there was positively' no "importation" of this pair of fowls, at all. 
This is a sure thing. They were purchased for Chamberlin unquestionably 
from my stock, sold into Connecticut and New York long before 1852, when 
Cornish's first letter is dated ; though this letter did not get before the public 
until it appeared in "The Domestic Poultry Book " in New York (which 
very few persons ever saw), and in Miss Watts's "Poultry Yard, " in 1853 
or 1851, in Loudon. And I have also shown by the judges' official reports at 
the exhibitions of 1852 and ISo-t, in Boston and New York, that the name 
Brahmapootra was not even tlien fixed upon; although Cornish avers, in 
his last letter to Weld, " that this name was establislied in 1850.'' 

It may possibly savor of undue curiosit}' in me ; but / would like, for one, to 
know where this fabled stock was in 1849, for instance, when the first great 
fowl show took place, in tlie month of November of that j'ear, at the Public 
Garden, in Boston? Here is a glorious opportunity now for Weld, Cornish, 
Wright, or some other "live man" (Dr. Bennett is dead, unfortunately), to give 
us some raeif version in answer to this pertinent query, namely; ^y the Cham- 
berlin -Cornish fowls did come "into Connecticut in 1846," and Cornish 
" bought the first brood in 1847, and the old pairf in April, 1848," as he " ex- 
plicitlj' " states he did in his second (1869) letter to Weld, — and he had tlien 
been breeding them three years, of course, — where were fill these fowls on 
the 15th and 16th of the eleventh month of the year 1849, when all New 
England was astir with the fowl mania when the first exhibition came oft' in 
Boston ? 

This question suggests itself to me for the first time as I write these lines, 
in the month of July, 1874. And I turn once more to the printed records 
which I find in Dr. Bennett's Poultry Book, issued in March, 1850, and 
in the Boston agricultural papers of December, 1849. I now quote from 
the official report of the November (1849) show, — Col. Jaques of " Ten 
Hills Farm," President, and Chairman of the Committee of Supervision : — 

" This exhibition may be said to have been in its character unprecedented 

* " I do not consider Cornish's stories worth a pin. There is nothing ' accurate ' in \\Kjirst state- 
ment, and his last one is still worse! " [C. C. Pl.visted, in Poultry World, 1874.] 

t llr. Plaisted thus writes in 1874: "Mr. Cornish did »k)< purchase Chamberlin's first brood; 
neither did he ever own the ' old pair,' at any time — as I can prove." 


in tliis countrj'; . . . and the results have been peculiarly gratifying, both as 
regards the number and variety and the quality of the different breeds of 
poultry shown, and the interest manifested in this disjilay by the public. . . . 
The number of specimens of the different feathered races presented on this 
occasion was l,4L'o ; the number of exhibitors was 219 recorded. The num- 
ber of people admitted to this show was not less than ten thousand. ... Of 
the gallinaceous family, the display was very extensive. . . . Several varie- 
ties were offered under the names of Cliinas, Cochin Chinas, Shanghaes, 
Bucks Count//, Jers^/ Bhies, and Javas" (ne'er a "Brahmapootra," a " Chit- 
tagong," or a "Bother'em" then in the entire category!), " and the exhibit- 
ors of which were J. Giles, Providence ; J. W. French, Randolph ; George 
P. Burnham, Roxbury ; Francis Alden, Dedham ; G. W. George, Haverhill; 
Adm. White, East Randolph ; B. W. Balch, Dedham ; A. A. Andrews, West 
Roxbury; T. Thorpe, Cambridge; Rev. C. B. Marsh, West Roxbury; H. L. 
Devereux, Boston ; Messrs. Pierce and Osborn, Danvers ; George E. White, , 
Melrose ; John C. Bennett, Plymouth ; Samuel Jaques, Medford ; Josiah H. 
Stickney, Watertown; John Eaton, Reading, and fifty-two others — all con- 
tributing specimens of the C/i/«e«(3, or then so-called Asiatic races. . . . Un- 
der the head of crosses of various breeds and varieties, the committee would 
mention as worthy of notice the Pli/mouth Rock Fowls, so called by Dr. J. 
C. Bennett of Plymouth, and presented by George P. Burnham of Roxbury." 
(This was the onhj notable cross mentioned by the committee.) " The other 
contributors numbered 151, and entered the different varieties of Dorkings, 
Black Spanish, Games, Gueldres, Crested Fowls, Bantams, Plamburgs, Top- 
knots," &c., &c. 

Here, in November, 1849, were shown nearly fifteen hundred specimens of 
the different kinds of fowls then known, from all quarters ; and there were 
over two hundred contributors. But there were then no Chamberlins, no 
Cornishes, no Knoxes, no Welds, no Wrights, no Sailors, no " Brahmapoo- 
tras, no " Chittagongs," mentioned ; and these men, or their so-called fowls 
(which are lastly, in 1869, said to have been in Connecticut at that time over 
three years, if they came in 1816), were entirely unknown, unhonored, and 
unrepresented in that great New England exhibition ! Verily, this is strange, 
if the 1869 statements of Cornish to Weld be tnie. And Mr. Lewis Wright 
can put the above facts into his pipe, and smoke them a good while, ere he 
will be able to answer my reiterated query : Where were your Cornish-Cham- 
berlin Brahmapootras, of which, on page 144 of your " Brahma Fowl History," 
you declare "the orig-inal importation is now determined" (according to your 
sophistry) "so early as in 1846," and whicli must thus have been in Con- 
necticut fully three years, "bein^ fostered by Cornish and Dr. Bennett." 


Where were they, I ask, on the occasion of this notable public fowl show in 
Boston, in November, 1849 ? Answer me tliat, Master Wright ! 

Wliij all these falsehoods and contradictious and inconsistencies about " one 
pair of Light Gray fowls " should have thus ever been originated or fostered by 
any or all of these people, and why Lewis "Wright should thus back up tliis 
fabrication and deception with his added nonsense and sophistry and misrep- 
resentations, is certainly inexplicable to ordinary comprehension, when it is 
beyond cavil or question that there were rao " imported" birds involved in 
this sailor's story at all. There was no ship at l5"ew York, as stated ; no sailor 
(according to Plaisted, who says in June, 1874, they " came in the hands of 
one Mr. Knox, clerk on a propeller running between Hartford and New 
York"); and, over and above all, when nobody from 184G, 1847, 1849, or 
*1S52 has ever been able to tell us who any of the Cornish-described parties 
were, as at first mentioned, namely — sailor, owner, ship, captain, date, age of 
fowls, or any other _/aci bearing upon this interesting subject ! It is all myth. 
It was false from the start. Dr. John C. Bennett coined this sailor's yarn 
originally, and the others tacitly agreed to it. The fowls were from my yards, 
or out of my stock. And Bennett never denied this in America or England, 
for he couldn't, had he wished to do so, while / lived; and he knew this fact 
as / did, which accounts for the non-mention of me in all those days ! 

All this occurred, according to Mr. Plaisted, in 1847 (not in 1849 or 1846, 
as Cornish has it, in two different places). But on all three of these occasions 
there is only one pair of gray fowls ; Chamberlin is the first man who got 
them; and, every time, they came either "in the India ships" to New York, 
" in a ship from Luckipoor in India" to New York, or lastly "just arrived on 
an East India vessel " at New York. 

In neither of which accounts is there one word of truth, as to the "impor- 
tation " of these fowls ; as I will in another chapter further on proceed to show, 
beyond the possibility of contradiction. The accounts I have quoted from 
Mr. Cornish's letters have long been before the public, and Lewis Wright 
has revamped and rehashed them both (most audaciously and bunglingly, I' 
know,) in his two latest works. But there never was a syllable of truth in 
either, as Mr. Plaisted avers in 1874, when ho writes, " I would ask Mr. 
Burnham what Cornish's accounts are worth, from first to last ? " To 
which I can only reply, "Not much! Yet Lewis Wright makes the most 
of them, to be sure ! " 




I DEEM it appropriate, after describing and portraying as I have done in 
the p)revious pages of this work the general liistory, characteristics, shape, 
color, and qvialities of the China fowls we have had and now have in this 
country, to add a chapter here embodying my views, and briefly offering the 
results of my own experience, in the matter of mating or matching individ- 
ual fowls, for the production of high-class specimens of the " Cochins " and 
"Brahmas " for the exhibition-rooms. 

" Like will produce its like," is an old adage. As a rule, this is truthful. 
It depends in a great measure, in the reproduction of ih^ fowl species, how- 


ever, upon what the character of the stock to be duplicated is ; how long 
the strains may have been bred in-and-in (through relations) ; how pure it 
was originally ; and how it is subsequently mated (the males with the 
females), — whether or not success will follow, even upon the most carefully 
planned experiments attempted in this direction. 

Darwin, in his exhaustive work on the "Variations of Animals," states 
that " the reproductive system is highly susceptible to changes in the condi- 
tions of life ; but whrj — because this reproducing system is disturbed — this 
or that part should vary more or less, we are profoundly ignorant. Yet we 
can here and there catch a faint ray of light." And among these " faint 
rays " is this important one, namely, the clearly apparent influence of the 
male first having fruitful intercourse with the female, upon her subsequent 
offspring by otlier males. In demonstration of this point, we quote the an- 
nexed fact, related by Sir Edward Home : " A young chestnut mare, of seven- 
eighths Arabian blood, which belonged to the Earl of Morton, was served in 
the year 1815 by a quagga, — a species of native wild ass, from Africa, 
whose skin-markings are not unlike those of the zebra. This seven-eighths 
Arabian mare was covered but once by this quagga (by way of experiment), 
and gave birth to a hybrid colt, which had, as was anticipated, the distinct 
markings of the striped quagga, in the shape of head, black bars on legs, 
shoulders, &c. In 1817, 1818, and 1821, two, three, and six years afterwards, 
this same mare was served by a fine black full-bred Arabian stallion, and she 
threw three colts in those years. Although she had not seen the quagga 
since 1816, all these colts bore his curious and unequivocal markings." 

Numerous instances of this kind could be cited, and the principle is clearly 
established among horse and cattle breeders. Mr. James McGilivray, a noted 
Scotch veterinary surgeon, has stated, sensibly, that "when once a pure 
animal of any breed has been pregnant to an animal of another breed, such 
pregnant animal is a cross forever, incapable of producing pure progeny, after- 
wards, of any breed." This result — under similar treatment — in any race 
of animals, is the same ; whether it be horses, cattle, rabbits, sheep, dogs, or 
poultry. I have proved this, beyond question, in repeated instances of care- 
ful practical experiment ; and I can affirm that this is so with whatever 
animal it may be attempted. 

The attention of Mr. Darwin was called to this fact through certain results 


of oxporimonts triod by Mossioiirs Corbii.' ami liotanl, with pigeons — and he 
adds, "I was tlius h'd to make my ox|ieriiac'uts with _/b((7s. I selected long- 
established, pure breeds, in whieh there was not a known trace of i-ed (in 
tlieir color), yet, in several of tlie progeny, featliers of this color appeared. 
One niagniticent bird, tlie oftVpring of a Black Si>anish cock, and a White 
Silky hen, came colored almost exactly like the wild Bankiva cock. Now, 
all who know anything of the breeding of poultry, know that tens of thou- 
sands of pure Black Spanish, and of pure White Silky fowls have been 
reared, without the appearance of a ;Y(/ feather/' 

!Mr. Tegetmeier speaks of the frequent appearance, in crossed fowls, of pen- 
cilled, or transversely-barred featliers, like those common to manj^ gallina- 
ceous birds, the Chinese varieties, notably, as being apparent!}' an instance 
of rercrsioii to a characteristic in color, formerly possessed by some ancient 
progenitor of the family. The so-called " Himalayan "' rabbit is of a snow- 
white body, with black ears, nose, tail, and feet; and it reproduces its like 
perfectly true. Yet this race is known to have been formed by a union of 
two varieties of ii:ih'er-(j)-ai/ rabbits. Now, if the Himalayan doe be crossed 
with a sandy-colored buck, a silver-gray rabbit is the product ; which is evi- 
dently another case of reversion to one of the original parent varieties. 

In the case of j)ou!tr>/, take our quite modern " Plymouth Rock '' variety, 
which the latest American Standard recognizes as " a breed." We know 
where and when this " breed '' (or cross), was originated ; and, perhaps the 
best specimens we see, are those produced in Connecticut, from a union of 
the Black Java with the Dominique bird. Both these original fowls breed 
their like in their purity, very accurately, as is well known — and the so- 
called " riymouth Eocks," jirojucei! in tliis ira;/, from the union of the 
original strong blood mentioned, prove very uniformly, good-colored specimens. 
The jvotjeiii/, however, bred together, come imperfect in color, and undecided 
in markings of plumage, at once; "throwing back," naturally to the Black 
Java, or clear Dominique in color, in greater or less degree, and inevitably. 
And the progeny of this cro$s continued to be bred " in-and-in,"' however 
cautiously we may m.ake our selections, can never: be bred s,atisfactorily to 
produce in succession the color, at all uniform, which the Jirst product of the 
pure Java and the Dominique gives. This is a prime law of Nature, and it 
cannot be changed. 



The accompanying cut portrays a recent ideal specimen of what is called 
the Felch strain of the Chamberlin stock. This picture represents a young 
cock, with very dark pencilled neck-hackles, of good depth, well up on the 
legs, full breasted, and of tasteful shape and carriage. Mr. Felch sa^'s, they 
have been called the "pouter-jjigeon strain." I do not see the aptness of the 
title. This cock is a well-modelled bird, but the picture is again a '' fancy " 

design. Not one sample, surely, in 
a hundred can be produced, so per- 
fect in symmetry as this delineation 
indicates; though, perhaps, such 
methodical breeders as Messrs. 
Felch may occasionally find among 
theirs a single cock that would ap- 
proach this figure, in comeliness. 

The " pencilled " feathering upon 
the Brahiiias, light or dark, and the 
same characteristic observable in 
the diflerent colored Cochins of the 
present daj', is one of the most 
marked and invariable points in 
the plumage of this race tliat it 
possesses. And no one who has 
bred any variety of these Chinese 
fowls, but^ will have observed that 
this conformation is universally 
prevalent, in some degree of devel- 
opment, upon every specimen pro- 
duced, from whatever " strain '' or 
stock the fancier may chance to possess, either in this country, or in 
Great Britain. This " pencilling " of clear white and black was a notable 
characteristic in the plumage of the original Shanghaes, of my own im- 
portations, of all colors, and especially on the Light and Dark Brahmas. It 
is seen to-day, in every instance, more or less prominently, in the progeny 
of these importations, wherever this stock is bred; and the so-claimed 
Chamberlin-Cornish variety exhibits it, invariably. The Partrido-e and 




Grouse Cochins show this feature as perfectly as do any variety, however 
dark or light their body-plumage otherwise may be. In any and every cross 
made with these varieties upon other pure breeds — say with the Dorking, 
the Black Spanish, the Leghorn, or otherwise, the "pencilled" hackle, or 
saddle-feathering, will inevitably show itself; and this marking can never be 
bred out of stock into which it has once been introduced. 

In mating for breeding birds of anj' particular caste of plumage, with these 
varieties — that is to say, of lighter and darker pluming, or darker or 
lighter hackle-feather, it is necessary towards the production of a particular 
style of feathering, Jirst to select such birds as you may have some knowl- 
edge of, that are fairly established in their color in a general way. From 
such strain or varietj', secondly, it is requisite that 3'ou choose birds (to 
furnish you with the desired colored progeny), that are properly marked in 
one way for males, and in another way iov females. And this is a nice un- 
dertaking, altogether. 

Still, the experiment is an exceedingly interesting operation. Por the 
show-room, to win in competition, your standard requires, for example, with 
Light Brahmas, that the cock shall be of good weight, not less than 12 lbs., 
or the cockerel not less than 10 lbs., the hen 10 to 11 lbs., and the pullet 8 to 
10 lbs. This variety must have the pea-comb, firm and straight; the cock's 
head broad and straight; neck long, well arched, and pencilling on hackles dis- 
tinctly marked ; body plumage clean white and black; fluff rich and soft, and 
heavily feathered legs, without " hock-feathers," &c. The hen must be similar 
in color, with the pencilling of the neck flowing well down to the shoulders, 
and clearly defined. Now it is desirable to produce these show-birds as near 
to perfection as it is possible to attain, and the younger fancier is desirous 
to know how he shall accomplish this. 

As I have said, this is not easy to compass. It can result only through 
careful manipulation, and it does not usually occur without repeated experi- 
ments; though, with proper caution, and the exercise of fair common sense, 
the chances are in favor of a successful result, at any time. I have bred a 
great many birds, and I have been often disappointed ; and, on the other hand, 
I have frequently realized extraordinary success, when I least expected it, in 
my experimental experience. 

I have found, as a good general rule, with the Light Brahmas, in order to 








breed a majority of the beautiful, so much admired, medium-pencilled-necked 
pullets, in a given number of chickens, that a good vigorous ten and a half to 
eleven pound light hackled cock, see p. 115, at head of this chapter, short- 
legged, fully feathered on shank to the toes, with head well up, generous 
wattles, short full inclining (not upright) tail, square body, and flat saddle, 
coupled with longish-legged hens (or pullets) of pure white bodies, black 
tipped lower wing feathers, clear black short tail, good fluffy thighs, heavily 
feathered shanks to the toes, small head and wattle, and a distinct, full, well 
defined neck-hackle quite dar/c and even in "pencilling," are the best to mate 
in male and females, for the average production of these desirably plumed 
PULLETS. This union will give you more rich medium-pencilled evenly 
hackled pullets than otherwise. The cocks that eventuate from such a union 
will not all be what you desire. And, if you wish to breed the more perfect 
hue of MALE birds, I recommend the reverse of this plan, in the parent stock. 
The hens may be lighter neck-hackled, and the parent-cock should be full 
dar/o-necked, with the other characteristics as above described. 

If the back quarters of the saddle-hackles have the slightest tinge of palest 
straw-color splashed through the white depending mass, upon the breeding- 
cocks, I have found it no objection. My original cocks both carried this 
feathering upon the rear saddles ; and I have found that this creamy tint in 
the male, at this point, gave me more evenly colored young cocks than when 
bred from those having the blank white hackling, en masse, at this extremity 
of the long back feathers. 

We present on pages 120 and 121 two spirited pictures of representative 
English-bred Light Brahmas, drawn by Harrison Weir of London ; a mature 
cock and hen. The male bird is not the style of Light Brahma we fancy in 
this country, however, and we give place to the drawing simply for purposes 
of comparison. Such a tail or rump as this upon a " Brahma " cock, in an 
American exhibition room, would disquahfy the bird at sight, in the opinion 
of a competent judge of this variety of fowl, whatever other good points he 
might possess. While, for breeding purposes, he wouldn't be worth a shilling 
in a Yankee fancier's yard. His legs are too short, also, and his neck is simi- 
larly faulty. There is the evident presence of blood "foreign" to the true 
American Brahma in this cock's composition, and an unmistakable mixture 
of the big-tailed, squatty white Dorking in his figure. 


Yet this is a fair type of many of the Eiiglisli Brahmas hrod in 1S72 to 
18.4. The hen is better, but her legs are too short for her large-framed body ; 
her neck is similarly objectionable; the head of both cock and hen are by far 
too coarse for a first-class thorough-bred Light Brahma, as we produce them 
now in this country; and both partake too strongly' of the pattern of tlie duck- 
legged, clumsy, badly-bred modern English "Cochin," of late years frequent- 
ly to be met with among the " importations" from Great Britain, from unre- 
liable sources; of which Zaf^er variety wo have seen several samples that have 
been got out at high cost, which exhibited unmistakable evidence of the ad- 
mixture in their breeding of the gray Dorking blood, more especially observ- 
able, too, in some of the later Dark Brahmas received here from England 
in recent years. 

Upon page 126 may also be found a fine drawing by this same English 
artist, of a you]ig Light Brahma pullet at ten months old, whose general 
form, in this instance, for her age, is very much more like what is deemed 
in the United States about the thing; though it will be said by close breed- 
ers, familiar with the nice points in this variety, that the shanks of this 
young fowl are rather long in proportion to the body. The j^ullet, in this 
respect, we do not think could be so greatly improved. To produce good pul- 
lets, we have found it indispensable that the parent hens bred from mutit 
be longish-legged. The cock delineated on page 125 is, to be sure, pretty well 
"up in the world." But he is a young bird, and the form will naturally set- 
tle down considerably with age. If his limbs were a trifle shorter, we should 
like him better. In color and pencilling both these specimens are fine, 
though they would not answer to mate, if the owner desired to reproduce 
likenesses of this pair. For average chickens marked like these, this cock 
should be bred to darker-hackled hens ; and a pullet marked as this is, would 
be better mated, for breeding, to a much lighter-necked cock. In the show- 
pen, however, such a pair of ten-months' old birds as these "portraits" rep- 
resent, are seldom seen ; but when found together, they are pretty sure to 
win, with average fair judges at exhibitions. 

I am aware of the opinions of other breeders upon this subject, who differ 
with me ; but I speak from my own experience in the matter of the prepon- 
derating influence of the male in poultrj'-producing. The impress of the cock 
upon the progeny is much more remarkable, within my knowledge, than that 


of the liens, in all varieties of fowl. I incline to this opinion from the existence 
of one important fact; and that is, that the male hird is alone iu his harem usu- 
ally. His "life-principle " is distributed among a flock of a dozen females, or 
less. Tliey are constantly in his company. They meet with no other male 
birds (I am now speaking of close, clean breeding) ; and the stamp of this 
one male operates to reproduce among his wives, as a rule, a likeness of him- 
self, naturally. The power, mettle, greater strength, and sturdier character- 
istics of the male, are thus brought to bear, of themselves, directly upon one 
point; and his mates being continually with him, and him only, for the time 
being, as naturally "reflect his image" in form, .color, and points (in the 
main) in their progeny. 

A writer in " The Poultry World " says to another, " The cause of a second 
litter of chicks resembling the Houdan cock" (which had been allowed to 
run with Light Brahma hens a few days, carelessly, but which was then 
taken away, and a Light Brahma cock substituted), "is explained by a nat- 
ural law well known to breeders ; viz., that, when a hen is pregnant to a cock 
of a different breed, sli,e is a cross ever after, the purity of her blood being 
lost in consequence of her connection with a cock of foreign blood. She is 
then a cross forever, and cannot produce a pure chick of any breed. This 
law is applicable to all our domestic animals." This is to the point; and it 
will so operate, in every instance, witli fowls, sooner or later, in all cases 
where a cock of a different breed or color is even permitted once to associate 
with such other variety of hens; thus showing the immense [ireponderance 
of influence of the male over that of the female, for breeding to either color 
or points. 

I have in my mind at this moment the theory of a well-known Light 
Brahma breeder, who has produced a great many fine birds, who contends 
that this matter of crossing a fowl temporarily does it no injury as to the fu- 
ture pure breeding of the birds. This same gentleman is a stickler for " pedi- 
gree fowl stock," too, about which he writes fluently. His notion is, in brief, 
that "there is no union of circulation between the embryo-chick and the hen- 
mother;" that is, between tlie egg and the layer of it, I suppose : and there- 
fore this principle is not, in his opinion, analogous m poultrij to tlie relations 
existing between the -moihuT-animal and her progeny. But I do not see the 
force of this position ; and I feel very confident, that, whatever may be the 



published arguments of this breeder regarding his notions on this subject, he 
would not run the risk of thus permitting any of his breeding-hens to be ap- 
proached, for a single interview, by a strange cock, particularly of a different 
color or rarict_y to that of his selected Light Brahma pedigreed males, with 
any hope that ho could ever retrieve his favorite female birds from the certain 
contamination that would succeed such "temporary union." It is one thing 
to preach, and quite another to prac- 
tice. And I am quite sure this gen- 
tleman, who writes so cleverly upon 
this point, is too skilful a breeder 
ever to venture upon the fallacj' I 
have hinted at, so long as he under- 
takes to produce, and sell for genu- 
ine, anj^ "pedigree Brahmas." 

The annexed illustration repre- 
sents a model young cock of the 
so-called Cornish-Chamberlin strain 
of " Light Brahmas," which Mr. C. 
C. Plaisted of Connecticut states, in 
August, 1874, he has been breeding 
from during the present season. 
Having examined Mr. Plaisted's 
stock in his runs this summer, I am 
constrained to say that this picture 
does not do his fine birds justice, at 
all. But this cut is put forth to 
represent his "Chamberlin strain," 
as lie has perfected it, after breeding 
this same stock steadily for some twenty years, so he afSrms. The reader 
can judge, by referring to other authentic drawings in this volume, how 
nearly this strain (from the delineations given by different artists) is like my 
original Light Grays, and Dr. Bennett's, as portrayed in 1850, '51, '52, on 
pages 67, 69, and 137, 138. In this upright, long, rangy outline, the dis- 
tinction (if there be any) presents but the slightest difference, to our eye. 
And this portrait in 1874 only goes to confirm my early and "chronic" 




As bred in the Unied States, in the last seven years. 

SELECTinif Ai\D MATINO. 127 

opinion, tliat all this stock comos from tlio same original parentage, — to wit, 
niy first two lots of " Gray Shan,;,'liaes," of 18 19 and '50.* 

Upon tlio snlijoot of tlie point in Braiimas known as the pca-comh, — which 
fowls of both colors and sexes must nowadays have nicelj' developed to qualify 
thcni to compete in the show-rooms, — I have to saj' that tliis peculiar forma- 
tion was also original in America, and that Dr. John C. Bennett thus named 
it at au early daj'. And below I give an extract from an article furnished 
by me to ''The London Poultry Review," in the spring of 1874 : — 

" I will briefly refer in this paper to a peculiar characteristic of this race 
of poultry, which has been the cause of much discussion ; and that is the pea- 
comb of the lirahmas. One English writer says, 'The only difficult point 
with the Brahmas is their variety of comb.' Another asserts that 'the pea- 
combed Brahma cannot be a Shanijliae fowl.' AYell, let us see about this. 
A third adds, • If it be so, and if Brother Jonathan made it, I wish he would 
make us something more.' That Brother Jonathan did make the pea-comb 
originally, nobody questions. That Dr. Bennett gave this comb its name, we 
all know. 

'• He called mj- attention to this pieculiarity the year after I received my 
second lot of Grays from Shanghae direct ; and, though we all bred both 
single and pea-comb Brahmas for j-ears afterwards, this feature originated 
with my stock. And not until the third or fourth year after its first discov- 
ery, did we undertake to breed the pea-comb, vnifonnhj. The first birds you 

* III regard to the names " Gray Shanghae " and " Chittagong," it may be well to state, at this 
point, as to the origin of my jir$t p:iir of Grays, that some persons appear to have got the impres- 
sion that these ttco idtntical binU were " imported from Shanghae." I have always stated very 
clearly that this pair were obtained by me from Dr. J. J. Kerr of Philadelphia, who wrote me Sep- 
tember 3, 184SI, that, "although they were then called ' Chittagongs,' they came out of Chinese 
stock, and were bred from birds imported from Shani/hae, into Pennsylvania." Hence I called 
them " Gray Shanghaes," after getting my second lot of lighter-colored Grays through Jlr. Porter 
of Xew York, in 1S60. Jlr. Cornish, Mr. Chamberlin, Mr. Hatch, Dr. Kerr, Dr. Bennett, Mr. 
George, and myself called all this light gra}- stock " Chittagong " at first;, and none of us knew 
any thing about different "strains " (if any ever existed) until the " Brahma Pootra" title began 
to be bruited, in 1^51, '52. I never heard that anybody pretended that the original Dr. Kerr pair 
bad a history apart from this; viz., that they were the only light j7ra»/, fowls-then known, of thij 
cl.iss of birds, and that they were bred out of stock imported into Pennsylvania, from China, some 
two years before I received them ; the color of which imported ^(irtiw^ stock I never inquired about, 
nor do I now know whether it was originally black, white, or blue. And I have never yet deemed 
this to be of the slightest consequence, since I know how perfectly in oolor these Grays have bred, 
from 1849 and '50 down to the present day. — G. P. B. 


had in England were mostlj'' single-combed; and to-day, in our best yards, 
we occasionally meet with fine Light Brahmas having the single comb. But 
these latter are tlius disqualified for exhibition, at tlie present time. 

"Now I propose to give you 'something more' akin to what tlie writer 
alludes to above, in the way of pea-comb. The Dark Brahmas, as well as 
the Light variety, must have the pea-comb to make them pass muster with 
the judges at the shows, as we are all now aware. And wlij^? Because 
everybody is satisfied that tliis style is the best for cold climates, the pretti- 
est, the neatest head-ornament for a largo fowl of eitlier sex, and, more espe- 
cially, because it is a peculiarity of the Brahmas, and no other fowl carries it. 
'It is a distinguishing mark of the purity of this variety,' writes one enthu- 
siastic gentleman. Another (in Tegetnieier's last edition) saj's, 'Mr. Bum- 
hain declares they are Shanghaes (Cochins now). If they ara Shanghaes, 
will the advocates of this opinion tell me if they ever bred Buffs, Cinnamons, 
or Grouse, with pea-combs?' And this brings me to the point I am about 
to present, in direct reply to this gentleman. 

"For four years past, I have been watching this very thing, in its perfect 
development, in both the Grouse and Partridge Cochins in this town [Mel- 
rose]. A very careful breeder discovered amongst his Partridge Cochins (four 
years ago) a few chickens, cocks and pullets, clearly marked with this pea- 
coinli. He could not account for it. He had only this breed on his i)remises. 
He has never had any others since. He has bred from the pea-comb birds 
only, selected them the second year, then culled tlicm the third ; and the 
fourth season he put into the Massachusetts show (in 1874) several cages of as 
perfect pea-combed Partridge Cochins as ever were grown. Nobody else that I 
ever saw has this variety. Prom seventy-five to a hundred — old and young 
— may now be seen in this gentleman's yards, fully developed with this 
'peculiarity of the Brahmas.' 

"They are not a cross. Never a taint of cross in any of them. The ori- 
ginal stoek came out of eggs laid by a Shanghae lien ])urchased from on ship- 
boaril. And there they are, to speak for themselves, precisely as the pea-comb 
was originally developed upon my imported Gray Shanghaes (or P>rahmas) 
the second year I bred them, — accurate likenesses of which choice birds will be 
found upon pages 143, 153. This gentleman has not yet sold any fowls, and de- 
clines to do so. But he has got them, of all ages ; and they are true poa-combcd 
Purtridfje fowls. What becomes of Mr. Wright's theory on this subject, if this 


is established in the Partridge, as we all know it now is, fairly, in tlie Brali- 
mas ? And wliy, as in the instance of the Brahmas, is not this a most valu- 
able acquisition ? 

" Mr. Wright has contributed to poultry literature a vast amount of plausi- 
ble and solid material ; and usuallj' he writes clearly and well. But the facts 
I have herein set down are at variance with much which this author has 
penned ; and they dispose effectually of the theory suggested by the other 
English writer upon Brahmas, who triumphantly argues in his query, ' Will 
the advocates of this [my] opinion tell me if they have ever bred Grouse 
Cochins (Shanghaes) with pea-combs?' since the fancier I speak of has 
this year got out forty chickens, all pea-combed, from his stock ; whilst 
a quartette of his year-old stock, placed in the hands of another person in 
Norfolk County, Massachusetts, have produced sixty more chickens in March 
and April, 1874, perfectly marked with this peculiar "pea" comb. 

''I conclude this too lengthy article with these final assertions. No so- 
called Brahma fowls ever came from India in 1846, or at any other time, to 
America, /originated these fowls, now called Brahmas. I sent to England 
the first Light and Dark purely-bred Brahma birds you ever had there (as 
' Gray Shanghaes '), or they went hence from my stock. And, lastly, the pea- 
comb has been established in America upon the Grouse or Partridge Cochins, 
as I have now informed you. And Brother Jonathan hasn't yet done with 
improving domestic poultry, as I trust we shall show in the future." 

In those earliest days, the " fine points " upon our imported stock of Shang- 
haes were not appreciated by us. This pea-comb question was long a debat- 
able one. Dr. Bennett claimed, for years after we discovered this peculiar 
formation, — which he first pointed out to me in my yards, — that the single 
comb was the true one for the Brahmas, though the deviation of this " pea- 
comb" (to which he gave this name, from its similarity in shape to a half- 
blown pea-blossom), he said sometimes occurred with this fowl. He didn't 
know whether it did, or not — when this opinion was given! Nor did any 
one else know, at that time. The appearance and final perfecting of this 
feature of the pea-comb upon pur Gray birds was a surprise to us all ; and a 
deal of labor followed, to establish it. It required several years of experiment 
and care to produce this head-ornament with any great degree of uniformity 
or success, as I have shown in the quoted opinions of all the original breeders 
of this stock, possessing any nominal strain. The Queen's birds were single- 


combed, so far as I remember. Dr. Gwynne's early fowls were, soven-tentlis 
of tliem, single-combed ; and these he received from Bennett and I'laisted, who 
bred the Cornish-Chamberlin strain (so Mr. Plaisted says), and the Buruliam 
strain (so Dr. Bennett says) ; see pages 80 to 85, for tliese authoritative state- 
ments. And even up to this day, more or less of the Light Brahmas are bred, 
of anybody's stock, in any man's yards, with the up-right, single, serrated 
comb that Bennett claimed, at first, was the proper style of comb for this breed. 

Even Cornish himself says (in 18G9 !) "I did notice the 'pea-comb ' on my 
bii'ds. It was not so with all." He does not say anything about this peculiar 
formation in \\\s, first account, dated March 2, 1852, I observe ! And yet, ac- 
cording to his last "accurate" statement, ho must then (in 1852) have had 
these birds in his possession (from September, 184G) fully six years ! Did he 
"notice this pea-comb " OJi his birds before he wrote that first letter ? If so, 
why was this peculiarity not mentioned by him? It certainly was a most ex- 
traordinary development! Nobody in America or England knew anytliing 
what this rare feature meant. Tegetmeier writes, as late as 18G7, "this pea- 
comb was a great novelty with us in England." Another English -writer then 
saj's, " in all our crosses, we have never met with anything like this ! " I do 
not remember myself to have observed it till my second j'ear of breeding with 
the second lot of Grays I obtained from Shanghae, via New. York. It was a 
curious discovery, and it is decidedly a very desirable thing to breed as many 
pea-combed birds among our Brahmas as possible. But the single comb will 
appear, more or less, with the best families to-day, nevertheless. 

This same Dr. Gwynne, whom Bennett, Tegetmeier, Blaisted, Burnham, 
Wright, and Mias Watts, all agree contributed one of the two first pens of 
Light Brahmas shown at Birmingham, England, and who himself declares, 
in Kev. Mr. Wingfield's London work, " I received from Dr. Bennett of tho 
United States, in 1853, five pairs of these Cornish-Chamberlin fowls, — three 
only of which had the pea-comb," also, subsequently adds, regarding the 
Brahma pea-comb question, "All / can say on this point is, that out of 
twenty chickens bred for myself out of three of the ten birds received from 
Dr. Bennett of the United States, I cannot detect a single ' deviation ' among 
thum from the single comb of the parents." And yet it is claimed by Lewis 
Wright that " this pea-comb alo7ie is absolute evidence of the antiquity and 
purity of the Cornish-Bennett fowls over Burnham's mongrels ! " 

In mating the Buft', the White, or the Black Cochins, there are no such 


From the origiaul stfK-k of C. II. Edmonds, Mcli'ose, I\Ias3, 


requiremoiits as I have described, inasimicli as there is but one general 
color, eacli to be souy;ht for in these difl'ercjit varieties. But with the Partridge 
Cochins, tlie pencilling of the neck and back-hackles and the markings of the 
body-feathering, as in the Dark Bralimas also, comes a nice point again, 
in mating for breeding, to produce the desired fashionable "Standard" 
specimens of fowls. 

The Partridge Cochins, and the Grouse Cochins are very similar in general 
hue, both being of a rich deep brovi^n, with similar markings and pencil- 
lings ; except that one is of a reddish tinge (in the lighter plumage), and the 
other golden bay, or a deep orange tint, in the more brilliant parts of the gen- 
eral ground-feathering in the hens. The colors of the Partridge or the Grouse 
cock (of the most acceptable character), are but slightly different in each. 
Tho-^e tints that are best understood as applicable to the superb " black and 
red Game Cock," are in the main the most desirable. The breast, thighs, and 
under body-color of the male Partridge Cochin should be cle^v l/lack, to accord 
with the "Standard" requirement. Tail and base-feathers, metallic black. 
Hackles ".pencilled," orange and black, &c. These for the show-birds. 

But, for mating to breed them, the presence of brown feathers S23arsely inter- 
spersed upon the breast, flanks, and thighs, is (in mj' experience) the better 
indication towards producing finely marked pullet chicks. And I have found, 
in a large majority of cases, that a good, vigorous, well formed two year-old 
cock, with this style of marking, would throw finer pullets than the dead- 
black breasted birds. But to breed the others (cock chicks), the black 
breasted male, and the darkest brown hens are the best, of course; and all 
these, I repeat it, are nice points, resulting satisfactorily only through careful 
studied experiment, oftentimes necessarily long continued. And here it is 
that the theory of "constant selection " of the best birds in your breeding 
stock comes in, pertinently. 

I understand, perfectly well that this principle is a good, if not the true 
method. In all cases, whatever the opinions or experience of the fancier 
may be, the successful breeder resorts to this mode in his breeding. I wouldn't 
give a row of pins, for example, for a Cochin or Brahma cock-bird, to breed 
from, that turned the scales, in weight, at over twelve pounds. I prefer one 
at eleven pounds, even ; provided he be " well up on his pins," courageous, 
healthy, well pointed, not leggy, squarely framed for a Cochin, and perhaps 
a little more " rangy " in form for a Brahma. And I prefer my pullets, or 


hens, in proportion higher on tlie leg considerably, to be mated to such 
cocks. Both should be well marked in plumage, as I have described ; and 
all should be kept in "high condition," without permitting them to get fat 
while beiug bred. With such birds, of good stock, you may count on very 
good chickens in the average. 

And yet, in spite of all, you must be prepared to be often disappointed. 
Why it is, that freaks in Nature occur so frequently in one's experience, do 
what the breeder ma^', is altogether inexplicable. Many fanciers there be who 
are prone to the recounting of strange stories about their favorite strains of 
stock, and of their continuous and wondrous success with certain varieties, 
bred from some imaginary " early imported bloods," which would be 
counted certainly marvellous if the tales could be verified. But I have met 
with so many ups and downs in chicken-raising, and I have been so often 
deceived in my anticipations, first and last, that I do not calculate very 
accurately upon any thing coming exactly like its parentage, when I start out 
with new bloods, of late years, that "have taken first prizes,'' for example, or 
that come down from "Confucius" and "Hebe," with a pedigree "much 
longer than my arm." 

In mating such samples (and I have tried this more than once, to my cost), 
the progeny do not often come up to the mark. They have been badly 
mated in jji'svious generations. The individual fowls thus purchased have 
been rare samples to behold of their accredited race, frequently', and I have 
anticipated "stunning results" from the eggs laid by these fine looking speci- 
mens, that had " won first premiums;" and for which, on more than one 
occasion within my remembrance, I have cheerfully paid down fifty to one 
hundred dollars each, in the exhibition-room. ' 

I have sold eggs from these very fowls, at almost fabulous rates, in 
good faith, and believed, as did the parties I bought of and sold to, that we 
had something rare indeed in the poultry way. And I have not only been 
wofully disappointed myself, in the first or second hatcliings from such fowls; 
but I have been compelled subsequently to endure the anathemas of incon- 
siderate patrons, for sending them at high cost, eggs that produced chickens 
of almost any color save that of the birds which laid those eggs. But the 
parent fowls had been contaminated before they reached viy hands, and I 
bred from them only what Xature gave mo, through this impure channel. 

Thus I say it is well that, in selecting your original breeding-stock, you 


pay attention to olitaining it out of a sitrain tliat you know to be as pure as 
cau be had, itself, first. Then by mating your birds in the way I have now 
briefly indicated, j'ou may, as a rule, calculate upon getting a tnajoriti/ of 
chickens that will answer your expectations in color and features. 

AVe give place to fine plate illustrations on pages 133 and 143, of the new 
Pca-coinhcd PartriJije fowls, a cock and hen — two years old — bred from 
imported Chinese blood, and fostered by C. H. Edmonds, Esq., of Melrose, 
Mass., for the last four or five years. The pictures are faithful representa- 
tions of these two mature fowls, which for size, color, markings, rotundity of 
form, and good make-up, throughout, are excelled by no specimens of the 
Cochin varieties that we have ever met with. 

That the pea comb is now a desideratum upiou the I!raJiiiia,<, Light and 
Dark, is already decided upon. The production of a new variety of the 
Cochins possessing this marked pii?culiarity. uniformly, is certainly a grand 
improvement upon the old style of single upiriglit comb, especial!}' for our 
cold northern American climate. That the establishment of this desirable 
feature has been accomplished. j.H'/'Wia/it'jf^i'y, upion the Partridge variety, and 
that it has already been transmitted from Mr. Edmonds' original stock 
through five generations, down to the summer of 1874, is a fixed fact. 

The stately trio of Dark Brahmas so nicely portrayed upon page 101. the 
piroperty of Mr. S. H. Seamaus. AVauwatosa. Wis., were imported by him in 
1S73, from England. The drawing is from the pencil of the celebrated J. W. 
Ludlow, and these beautiful birds have been winners of first prizes at the 
American Western sholvs, deservedly — being verj* perfect specimens of their 
kind, from which Mr. Seamans is now breeding, successfully. 

Mr. Chamberlin himself has never " mentioned '" any thing about any 
fowls, that I ever heard of. and he didn't go to Xew York for fowls, at all. 
Mr. Cornish said i^in 1852) that "the Chamberlin fowls were brought into 
Connecticut in the early part of 1S40."' Then this same ^Ir. Cornish said ;^in 
1869), '■ These fowls came in a ship ■'' (which never arrived there) ■■ to 
New York, in September, 1846." 

This is all that has ever been known about that mythical " one pair of 
Grays," and all that ever will be known now, except what I have elsewhere 
stated in this work ; viz., that no ship "arrived at Xew York from Luckipoor 
in India,'' either in 1849, first, or in 1846 ; or in 1847. as a later writer puts 
it. All these stories are false — as in the final chapter I will show. 


The advocates of this pea-combed Chamberlin-gray-fowl theory are 
sadly indisposed to agree in their stories. Mr. Cornish, in 1852, as we have 
seen, did not know " the sailor " who found this pair of fowls.* Even in 1869, 
he saj's, "the sailor's name I never noted, and cannot give." In 1870, he 
adds (according to Wright), " my letters were written at an early day, when 
the parties who brought the fowls from India to New York " (the sailors of 
course) "were living, and to he seen. They ivere often seen," &c. 

But, previously to this last letter, they had all died off, conveniently, at the 
right time, — so it was universally contended. And nothing could be learned 
further of these " all-obscure men," who could " give no account of the origin 
of these birds," as Cornish first avers in his 1852 letter ! Yet, in 1874, we 
find that iVIr. Plaisted good-humoredly resurrects them. In the "Poultry 
World" for August, this writer says, "the unknown sailor, of whom Mr. Cor- 
nish writes, and whom Mr. Burnham attempts to ridicule, 'still lives,' and 
will, I trust, take an important part in this feathered drama, now having such 
a remarkable run. When he comes on deck, let the unbelievers 'look out for 
squalls.' Like Captain Cuttle, he too will ' stand by,' and his opponents may 
be obliged to ' take to the long boat ! ' " 

Now, we have not "attempted to ridicule" the "unknown sailor," at all. 
He was a perfectly harmless and unoffending party in this business, and he 
has been dead near twenty years ! At least, so we have all been informed 
repeatedly by the Cornish men. If he is alive, so much the better for him, 
individually. But we think it is rather late in the day to trot this sailor out, 
710V} ; though it may be, that, for Wright's and Cornish's purposes, this ven- 
erable salt will prove a Bunsby, indeed ; and he may be able to give us " an 
opinion as is an opinion " on this vexing Bother-'em-Pootrum question. Still, 
we submit that it is not a little strange, during all the controversy that has 
occurred in a quarter of a century about the sailor-Cornish pair of Light-Gray 
fowls, that this ancient mariner has never before turned up ! 

* In August, 1874, Miss Watts of London writes to Lewis Wright tliat, " early in 1853 she sent 
her first order for Light Brahmas to Dr. Bennett, and specified that tlie fowls must be singU- 
combed." . . ." This was objected to (in America) on the score that the single comb was not 
right." So/)e(!-comb birds were sent her. This lady says she bred the so-called Chamberlin- 
Bennett stock, but found "no Darh Brahmas until after 1862." when she crossed hers with birds 
from Dr. Gwynne's stock; and which Bennett sent to Dr. Gwynno from my yards, years before! 

MoI.|:i. OF '-^rANnAKO" PAIIK llKAiniA COCK, -J YKAKS OLl>, 1874. 

\- lnv,l I.A rhilainlrr Williams, ( f. 1'. r.iirnham, E. (.'. lomry. .1. P. liu//cll. I". (.». WaiMw.-ll, 
.lac. I. (iravr^. C. C. I.oriii-. I '. W. Clianilicrlin, etc., >[;lss. ; J. Y. liiclilioll, X. Y. : 1!. \- .1. I'del-s, 
Chri-taua, Del. : C. 11. aihl II. A. lilu.dcs, K. I.; Dv. 0. II. KcHOgy, I'olo, 111.; aiul other 
Irailine- .Vinericaii fanciers wlui knew the ililTeronce between this and English " hoeked " hivd^. 

I>;(I.K SAM" AM) ■■<UKA." ril A >Mli:itI,l N I.Kilir l'.];Air.M A,s. (]S.'t;i.) 

The alxjve is an p>uglish picture of an early paii-of Li^lit ISra.hmas belonging 
to i\Iiss E. Watts — author of tli(! London '■Poultry Yard" — which slie im- 
ported from Dr. J. C. Bennett, in lSo3. In 1874, she writes that Mr. Plaisted 
and Dr. 15. selected all this stock bred liy lier, up to l.S('i2, when she obtained a 
pullet to cross with her own from Dr. (TWj'nue's impoi'tation from America : 
and adds that " about the same time " when she first received hers from America. 
■• iMr. Baily, of Mount .Street, Lond(in, received a pen of Dark Birds from ^Ir, 
Burnham, which were not exactly to her fancy, on account of tlicir heanj color : 
but they were very tine." 

In closing this article upon selection and mating the Brahmas, &c., for breed- 
ing, I ask the reader to comjiarc the above drawing of Dr. Bennett's fowls of 
I85.3 with the picture of my light (iray Shanghaes of 18.52, on the opposite 
pa;;e. Both these engravings were drawn b}- the same Kuropean artist, from 
life. Is the difference (if there be any.) discoverable? / can not see it. Yet 
one pair are drawn from my " Gray Shanghaes" in 1852 '.'3, and the others are 
from Miss E. Watts' birds, sent her liy Dr. Bennett and Plaisted, in 1853 '4. 



" Life woulji be (I perpetual (lea-liimt, if a man were obliged to run Jown all the innuemloes, 
inveracities, insinuations, nud suspicions which arc uttered against him. " — Uev. IIenet 
Ward Beeciier. 

" But for that blindness which is insc])arable from malice, what powders of evil would it 
possess! Fortunately for mankind, its venom, — like that of the rattlesnake, — wlien most 
poisonous, clouds the eye of the reptile, and defeats its aim." — W. Giljioue Simms. 

Ix closing this volume, I am constraiiioJ, in view of certain demonstra- 
tions pronmlgateJ by Lewis Wright, of England, in a late expensive poultry- 
book he lias issued iu London, to conclude my account of tlie '' China Fowl, 
SJumr/liac, Cochin, and ' Brcrlnim,' ''with a brief personal protest against the 
rigmarole and pointless twaddle eiubodied in said Wright's recent attacks 
upon me in that work, and its smaller predecessor, wherein he has so 
wantonly assailed Mr. G. P. Burnham and his poultry-stock, by his utterly 
senseless and groundless attempt at argument in reference to the origin of 
the mythical Cornish-Chamberlin-Sailor-IIatch-Bennett-Brahmapootra " im- 
portation of fowls from Luckipoor, in India; " which silly tale, for twenty odd 
years /have known, and which every fancier in America has been confident 


was, in its details, one of the grossest inventions at humbug that ever was 
perpetrated in the whole history of the lien fever. 

The poultry press in this country and England have kindly permitted me 
to reply, through their columns, to this utterl}' baseless attack : and I would 
here express my grateful obligations to Wade's "Fanciers' Journal," Pliila- 
delphia; Stoddard's "Poultry World," Hartford; " The Pet-Stock Bulletin," 
New York; " The Country Gentleman," Albany; "The Turf, Pield, and 
Farm," New York; "The Poultry Review," London; " The Poultry Rec- 
ord," Farmington, III. ; " The North-Western Poultry Journal," Minneapo- 
li.«, Wis. ; " The Poultry Argu.s," Polo, III., and other American and English 
journals, for the favor they have accorded me, in enabling me to set myself 
" right on the record" in this affair, in reply to Lewis Wright's unfounded, 
unreasonable, and atrocious assault upon a man tvJio never had aught to do 
with, the suhject-viatter he treats of in his abusive works, except to ridicule 
this nonsense and chicanery, from first to last. 

Mr. Wright commences upon a false foundation, starting out with the 
assumption, in the opening paragrapli of his "Brahma Fowl" book, that the 
large Light-Gray Shangliaes, Liglit Brahmas, — or whatever they should right- 
fully be called, — were " originally imported from India." He then proceeds 
to argue the question towards establishing this fallacy, instead of either 
accepting or reciting well-known facts regarding the actual history of the 
origin of this fowl. He declares that "it appeared to him possible to throw 
some additional light" upon this long mooted subject, and "to point, with 
Mr. Darwin's aid, with certainty to a scientific and rational conclusion " as to 
whether these fowls came from India, or from Shanghae, in China. 

When the record was so ample and so plain, at least in this country, and 
the existing accounts so simple, as they have been for more than twenty 
years, it does seem to the view of an American reader or fancier, who is 
reasonably posted in current poultry affairs, that this pretended "labor of 
love," on the part of the Englishman has been conducted in a most singu-- 
larly hateful and stupid manner, from the outset ; and that Lewis Wric^ht 
has evinced a most remarkable lack of foresight in the crudities he has pro- 
mulgated, as well as having repeated a string of old untruths ; and the course 
he has in this instance pursued, has gained him no friends in the United 
State.s, verily ! As to his affording the poultry world any reliable informa- 

BUTiNUAM rf>. WnWJlT. l^S 

tiou aliout Iiraliinu fowl liistory, ov sccinluijlv naiiiini:; aii^' cPiil Ivriowli'ilgo of 
till' sdlijcct fov liinisi'lf, liis lato atU'inpts liavc iii'o\cil absolutely liut most 
pitiablo failui-ps. 

What is tlu' use, for iustiinoo, of citing M\: ]>arwiu's pliantasies to help 
prove an i-vcut that never had an existence ? Either tliese fowls camo from 
(.'hina, or hulia, or they ilicln't ! l)oes the sha]ie of the sluill in two iiuli- 
yithial samples of foreign [loultry, picked up in a man's yard and found to 
(litTer somewhat in their internal or external formation, prove what countr3' 
the hinls eanie from ? Yet this — and these — are Wright's arguments to 
establish his theory that the Gray Shangliaes (or now so-called Brahmas), 
which originated in JMr. G. P. lUirnham's yards in America, were "imported 
from the port of Lnckipoor, India, into New York,'' on board a ship that 
never arrived there ! 

And through two huge volumes of this sort of argument — scientific, 
literary, historical, anatomical, botanical, ornithological, chemical, and un- 
natural, this pedantic poultry author at second-hand strings out the details 
of his " saili.>r-\'aru,'' a I tuiiini'diii, in the attempt to establish what never oc- 
curreil, au.l whiih wa^ never really believed by half a dozen persons on this 
side of the Atlantic to have contained the first particle of truth or reason in 
or about it. from beginning to end. This whole fabricated tale was notori- 
ously known here to have been a regularly concocted sham from tlu> start. 

I do not feel that I can do better than to make free use of the substance 
of the articles that have appeared, in one or other of the lirst-class journals 
nanu'd above, in thus defending myself, and in replying in these pages to 
AVright, who has been most egregiously sold by some one. That he has been 
deceived, thiMugh some source, is very clear: although he voluntarih' 
enlarges nji.'n whatever inimical information he may have gathered to 
enhance the venom of his spleen ; and, with certain undeniable and patent 
facts before him (which he has utterly' ignored, in his persistent tirade), he 
has proceded to misrepresent, malign, misinterpret, and interpolate my writ- 
ings in the most disingenuous, unfair, and disgraceful manner, witliiwt one 
iota of provocation for his balderdash and slang, or reason for his miserable 
attack upon me and mine, in his two late books on poultry matters, and 
especially in connection with the origin and early hi-tory of the so-called 
'• Brahma " fowls. 


An officious anonymous correspondent of Wade's Fanciers' Journal (who, 
from tlie nature of liis calling, could much better have employed his leisure 
in doing his Master's service than in thus meddling with a personal matter 
entirely outside of his pi'ovince, which it was none of his business to inter- 
fere with), gratuitously forwarded to the editor a long abusive extract from 
one of Wrights' books, recently, whei-ein the author launched his assaults 
upon Mr. Buruham without stint ; and which I was, for the first time, thus 
made conversant with, in their particularity. I replied to this attack, that 
Mr. Wright had picked vie up without the slightest show of reason ; and 
that, in his i-emarks about my connection with the " Brahmapootra "' subject, 
he had entirely mistaken the position I had always maintained towards 
this notable humbug ; inasmuch, as, from outset to conclusion, I had never, in 
any way, shape, or manner, been concerned in this deception, but, from the 
beginning, had steadily and consistently fought it, and ridiculed it — for 
more than twenty years ! I then added, that Mr. Wright in his hooks did not 
touch the main question at issue in this controversy, strange to say — and 
that is, as to the time when, and the mode in which, this name " Brahina- 
pootra " or "Brahma" came about, and my aversion to it. 

Imprimis., you will observe, that / (Mr. Burnham) never laid any claim 
to this "Brahmapootra" misnomer. I did not make this name. I then 
called my fowls " Gray Shanghaes," — never by any other name, and simply 
for the good reason that Dr. Kerr, who sent me vaj first pair from Philadel- 
phia, in September, 1849, in his letter, said: "Though they are called ' Chit- 
tagongs ' (precisely as Mr. Cornish called his at first), the stock came to Penn- 
sylvania from Shanghae, China." My second lot of Light Grays were pro- 
cured in 1850, through Wm. T. Porter, Esq., editor of the "jSTew York Spirit 
of the Times," from on board a ship at ISTew York, direct from Shanghae, 
China. I then had other Chinese fowls of different colors, hut these last 
were light gray. What else could I properly call them, but what I did ; viz., 
"Gray Shanghaes." And here let me quote what Dr. Gwynne, of England, 
wrote in 1852 : — 

"I obtained of Dr. Bennett of the United States, five pairs of these birds. 
Three of these ten fowls only had compressed pea-combs ; in none of the 
others was this found, nor could I recognize in them any thing but what 
could be found in the Shanghae birds. I had several communications from 

BURN HAM r.s'. wniGiir. 141 

Pr. Boniu'tt, and in roply to all my inquirit<s, dirocteJ to learn the cause of 
naming as 'n new breed, ' birds, »;06'^ of whicli were essentially Sliaiighaes, 
in slia|)e and character, I could gather no iiit\)rmation but tliat the difference 
of i-ohv between these and other Shanghaes precluded their being thus 
classed; but I cannot accept tliis as adequate proof of 'Brahmapootras ' 
being a 'new breed,' and therefore prefer the conclusion that they are 
identical with the Shangliaes, and only a new variety of that fowl. Another 
circumstance which confirms me in this view, as to the identity of these 
birds with tlie Shanghae breed, is the fact that the fowls recently presented 
to her Majesty, by Mr. Geo. P. Burnham, under the name of Gray Shang- 
haes, are admitted b^^ Dr. Bennett to be i^recisehi similar to his own, and 
Mr. Burnham assures me that the original stock from which the 'Gray 
Shanghaes,' presented to lier Ma.]'esty were bred, was imported by himself, 
through Dr. Kerr, of Philadelphia, direct from Shanghae." 

Did 'Mr. Lewis Wright find it convenient or useful to place this square, 
clear evidence about me and my fowls (written by Dr. Gwjmne in 1852) 
in his poultry book? Not at all! Thus I continued to designate mi/ 
fowls, long years after Dr. Bennett fixed "Brahmapootra" first, and then 
" Brahma " for his birds ; though at that very time (1852) Dr. Bennett vol- 
untarily wrote Dr. Gwynne, as above, which was the true statement; but 
which I do not find in Mr. Wright's account. 

Observe / did not say this. Mr. Tegetmeier did not say so. This was 
Dr. J. C. Bennett's own account, published from him direct, in Rev. Mr. 
Wingfield's early editions of his "Illustrated Poultry Book;" see page 177, 
indorsed by Dr. Gwynne, himself Yet, notwithstanding this patent fact, 
Mr. Lewis Wright goes out of his way, in the extract furnished, to assert 
that " Dr. Bennett got his stock from Connecticut ''—meaning from Cornish, 
I presume. I do not know but he did. What I believe is, that it was all 
originally bred from my stock, though thus variously named ; and Mr. Cor- 
nish himself (see his letter) called his fowls "Chittagongs " (not Brahmas) 
at first, because they so nearly resembled the large Gray fowls (mine) then 
bred in this country, so he says; and under which very name Dr. Kerr 
sent me vaj first ones from Philadelphia. 

Now, who knew best, at that time, where Bennett's fowls came from? 
Dr. Bennett, or Mr. Wright ? The former being the man who sent the 
fowls to England; who raised this question about a name {or them; who 


said, in 1852, that mine and his were the same : tlie latter in London, simply 
uttering an ipse dixit, based on the Cornish letter, which does not mention 
me or Dr. Bennett either. Now, herein lies the utter inconsistency of Mr. 
Wright's theory, to wit: He took for granted that what Mr. Cornijsh meant 
(not what he saiVZ) was that his fowls were " Brahmas." But this was not 
true. Neither Mr. Cornish, Mr. Chamberlin, nor " the sailor who reported 
he had found some light gray fowls " (see the Cornish letter) then said any- 
thing about these being " Brahmas." This name, at that time, had not 
been decided upon by anj'body, and Mr. Wright cannot find it so used at all 
anywhere (in 1852) at the time when he undertakes to prove his false 
position by quoting Cornish's letter. Tliis is very unfair, to say the least of 
it ; but, whichever way it was, surely / had nothing whatever to do with all 
this. I neither suggested, made, approved, used, or adopted this name of 
"Brahmapootra" or Brahma for my fowls — never. Yet Mr. Wright dis- 
tinctly asserts that "Mr. Cornish's statement was published long before Mr. 
Burnhara's," and that "Burnham might have bred some very good imitation 
Brahmas," etc.; when it is so well known, and always has been, that I had 
never claimed, or asserted at any time, anywhere — in those years — that I 
ever imported, bought, bred, owned, or sold a«(/ fowls known as "Brahma- 
pootras." Never, Mr. Wright ! and you can not find it in the published 
records anywhere, prior to the late war — unless you have so written it. 

I had then never had aught to do with naming the " Brahma " fowl. 
I always opposed this bald nonsense, and would never permit Dr. Ben- 
nett, Mr. Cornish, or Mr. Anybody to thus misname my fowls. Every- 
body in England and America knew this ; though my name was, by others, 
sometimes mentioned in this connection. But, if Mr. Cornish, Dr. Bennett, 
or Mr. Wright; Dr. Gwynne, or Mr. Bailj^ ; Mr. Tegetmeier, or His Eoyal 
Highness Prince Albert, chose (as some did, I believe, after a while) to call 
my Gray Shan ghaes "Brahmas," could I help it? I never called any of 
their fowls " Gray Shanghaes," surely ! 

How a sensible man, who writes so cleverly as Wright does, usuallj^, could 
have wrought himself up to penning such a tirade as he thus has, is more 
than I can comprehend — since it . is notorious that I opposed it in com- 
mittees ; in my writings ; in conventions ; in public and private ; first, last, 
and always, — upon the ever-constant principle that my fowls were "Gray 
Shanghaes " from the start, and not " Brahmapootras." 

Ei-oiQ the original stock of C H. Edmouas, Melrose, Mass. 


Tliose bad t^tcaJily been my .assertions. Still, IMr. Wrigbt kept calling me 
barj names, declaring tbat I "never bad anj' genuine Bralnnas " (wbo says I 
did ?), and tbat " Burnbam niiglit bave bred some tolerable imitation lir.abnias" 
(wbicb I didn't). I bad never even said I bad a)ii/ " Brabmas " wbatever, gen- 
uine or imitation ; tbat I ever tried to breed " Brahmas," or pretended I did ; 
I had never even called my fowls " Brabmas,'' and never would. And I surely 
made no statement, or written, in wbicb ]Mr. Cornish's fowls were involved, 
where I was a witness " more '' or " less reliable," as Mr. Wright states ; be- 
cause bis •■ Cbittagougs " or '■ Brabniapootras," or whatever be named them, 
never interfered with my '' Gray Sbangbaes " any more than did Dr. Ben- 
nett's '• Wild East-India Fawn-colored Dorkings," at this same period 

Mr. Wright lays great stress on the fact tbat " Burnbam vainly tried to pur- 
chase this stock, but did not succeed." Admitted, again, tbat I did' not. Thus, 
of course. Mr. Wright is a good witness tbat the fowls I had (presupposing tbat 
I ever had cin)/) were not of this Cornisb-Chamberlin, " Chittagong " or "Brah- 
mapootra " strain. This settles one point clearly. 

But I had hetter ones, and this it was that troubled my competitors, as 
thousands testified in favor of my birds, all over the world, in those years. I 
raised over sixteen hundred of the " Gray Shanghaes " in one year (1832 to 
1853) in Melrose, and sent them all over Great Britain and the United States, 
to my generous patrons' entire satisfaction, but never once calling them by the 
detested name of Brahmapootras, about wliich Mr. Wright has raised such a 
silly fuss. 

All this, be it remembered, I now state as applying in point of time to the 
period when Mr. Wright got out his books. Of course, in the last few years 
(since this "Brahma" name has been so universally in use), I have as often 
spoken of tTieiii as of my Gray Shanghaes, because everybody latterly thus 
designates this kind of poultry, fbr convenience. And in my "New Poultry 
Book,*' issued in 1871, I advertised and wrote about them as "Brabmas," 
because we had all accepted this latest popularly established name — both in 
England and America. But not previously, when Wright published his 
works. And I solemnly declare that I never was concerned in making or in 
sustaining this name of "Brahma'' for fowls, and never claimed it for my 
stock, for I bad no occasion to do so. 


Now, the fowls lately coining from England to the United States, in 
the shape of "fresh importations" of "Cochins" or"Brahmas," are bred 
tJierc, and very skilfully too. The Englishmen call these birds what they 
please, naturally. Our fanciers and poultry societies follow suit — though, 
in the Light Brahma class, we lead them still, as we have done from the 
outset. The later Dark Brahmas received here from England, are fine; but 
I have never heard of any fresh stock, of this particular varletij and color, 
having been received by anybody in Great Britain, from China, or " from 
Luckipoor, in India," since the advent of my first Dark Brahmas (or Dark 
Gray Shanghaes) into England in 1853, as is stated at that period by Mr. W. 
B. Tegetmeier. And I know of no one who has ever set up any claim to have 
received from anybodj^, anywhere, previously, or since I sent those Dark 
Brahmas to London, in that j'ear, any similar birds from awy place hut 
England ; while we have yet to learn, with all Lewis Wright's platitudes, and 
his rigmarole about his " Indian officers' reports" of the existence of these Gray 
" Brahmas " formerly and still in that country, that there has over, since 1853, 
been a single bird of this character brought thence into British ports ! 

Here is another patent /Itc* fur Mr. Wright's consideration. Does ho allude 
to this important circumstance in either of his ponderous books? Not he! 
But I now point to this reality in earnest. If the Light and Dark "Brah- 
mas " were, or are, so plenty out in India, with which country the Britons are 
known to be so constantly in communication, why have we or they not chanced 
to liave had a fresh importation or- two, or a dozen, within the past more than 
twenty years, from this paradise of the " Brahma" varieties ? Or, why have 
not similarly-plumed birds fou})d their way to either England or America from 
China — from Shanghae, Canton, Ning Po, or IIong-Kong, even — in all 
that long period ? I rather think Mr. Lewis Wright will find this question a 
poser to answer satisfactorily, either to himself or to the breeders and ad- 
mirers of these two varieties that originated in America, and were first 
owned, bred, and shown publicly in this country and in England, by George 
P. Burnham of Melrose, Mass., and " not in India." 

I do not deny, and never will dispute the fact, that this stock has been at 
times improved by domestication and skilful breeding in both countries, since 
I originated these birds, of either variety, as a general thing. And yet I have 
never seen a finer lot of the Liylit variety than those I shipped to Ilur British 

BURN HAM VS. witiauT. 147 

IMajesty in 1S52, from my j'.inls ; nor have I ever seen a better trio of tlie 
Dark strain tlian the tJiree uplendid birds I first sliippod in 1853 to Jolm 
Baily. of Mount Street, London ; and I never expect to see these twelve fowls 
excelled for size, beauty, truthfulness in blood, markings, or general points. 
To-dav, ^[r. Baily advertises his Dark IJrahmas as being " bred from stock 
descended from Mr. G. P. Bnrnham's original consignment to him." If the 
Light and Dark Brahmas are so readily to be had, and are so " common in 
India," why haven't some of the Wrights, the Gwjaines, the Watts, the 
Bailys, the Bakers, the Teebays, the Beldons, and a thousanc"! other enter- 
prising leading English breeders, obtained from " the port; of Luckipoor, in 
India, in the valley of the Brahmapootra," where these superb fowls are said 
by Wright and his officious '' India friend " to so abound (?) some samples of 
this celebrated race of poultry, with which to " freshen up " the Yankee stock 
or English strains that they have been breeding in-and-in so many years ; but 
which, in the year 1874, is as fine as it was in 1851, '52, in every respect, and 
which so " marvellously holds out " in all its original proportions and charac- 
teristics, form, weight, size, and comeliness, notwithstanding the tens of thou- 
sands, aye! hundreds of thousands of birds that have been bred from my ''ori- 
ginal seven " and their progeny, on both sides of the Atlantic, during the last 
more than two decades of years ? 

Come, Mr. Lewis Wright ! You know some things about poultry, though 
you really know precious little about the Brahma fowl-origin, evidently. We 
have in the United States, to-day, five hundred fanciers who can teach you the 
A, B, C, of this business ; malgre all your profundity in a general way in 
the science of chickenology. Will you, for the benefit of the fancy in 
America and Great Britain, please give your views in response to these 
queries I have just herein suggested ? I do not ask this upon my own 
account, because I know all about this "little joker," the "Brahmapootra." 
I am not a fool, if I am the deceiver you attempt, in your two books, to 
make me out. And I have studied this subject " in a reverent spirit," for the 
greater part of the last quarter of a century, assiduously. I know this 
Burampooter-Brahmapootra-Gray-Shanghae-i>raA?)ia subject through and 
through ; although you facetiously express the opinion in your " monograph 
of the Brahma Fowl," page 46, that "to every breeder of this fowl, it will 
be evident that the amount of knowledge here hinted at is not very great, 


and tliat nothing could better show ]5urnhara's ignorance of tJie fowl itself, 
tlian liis expression of opinion." 

Ah, Lewis, 3'ou have a deal to learn upon tliis subject, j-et ! And I am 
sure it will not savor of boasting, when I affirm that I have long ago forgotten 
more than you can ever know about the wretched humbug of tliis l>rahma- 
pootraism ; though I never was inveigled into, or implicated in it, indi- 
viduallj', thank heaven ! except to fight and satirize it. That part of the 
work I have faithfully attended to, first and last, for over twenty years, and I 
have not finished yet: sincg such men as you are, keep rising uji, like Ban- 
quo's ghost, — whom I am compelled to " lay," — one after another ; and this 
keeps me busj' still in this direction. 

Y'ou have shown yourself pretty clever at railing, Lewis, but your recent 
efforts, in terrorem, pointed at me, will not have the desired eflvct you evidently 
aimed at. You can not " rail the seal from off mij bond " in this controversy, 
through your mulish contumacy and clumsy platitudes, while these two facts 
stand upon the record; viz., Lst. "!Mr. Geo. P. Burnham exhibited in Bo.ston 
the first (iraj Shanghae fowls ever seen there ; from which stock, bred in his 
yards. Dr. John 0. Bennett produced tlie first so-called 'Light Brahmas ' 
ever shown in the world ; 2d. Mr. Geo. I'. Burnham sent to England, early in 
1853, the first trio of ' Dark Brahmas ' ever seen there, or anywhere else, 
which latter (from the same original stock) went from Mr. Burnham's yards 
in Melrose, Mass., direct to Mr. John Bail3', of London." 

Thus much is certain — deny it, argue it, or dispiute it, who will ! 

Nobody shows (upon the piast record) any of this now so-called Brahma 
stock, of either Liglit or Dark varieties prior to those two showings. Since 
then, you can point to no one fresh "importation" \>y anijhodij, either in 
England or America, of a single Light or Dark Gray Hhanghae, or " Brahma " 
fowl from India, China, or other Eastern country ! There have been none 
since. There were none before. And I challenge you, or any man on earth 
to show that this "expdicit statement " of mine is not true, to the letter. 

I care not who has bred this stock since then. I am indifferent as to who 
has raised other Light Gray fowls since that period. It is immaterial to mo 
what birds have been reared since the time when I first showed and sent 
those two varieties of "a new breed of poultry" all over the world. And 
it is of the very least importance Ilow this may have been effected after me. 

BURyilAil F,V. WrtlGUT. 149 

I furnislieil the stork oftlie tiro oriyiiial slnilini of now so-called Light and 
Dark Bralmias — tliough I calleil it by its rightful name at, and from, the 
outset; while Dr. lionuott [first) theu Cornish, with a hundred others, and, 
lastly, Lewis Wright, eliose to nick-naiue these line birds by another title. 
This J could not control. iUit the facts remain, and the fowls are to-day un- 
changed — save that, in the main, they have been somewhat improved upon 
by long domestication and careful breeding, in the hands of skilful fanciers 
on both sides of the Atlantic. When you can show us that these assertions 
are incorrect, and when you are able to satisfactorily answer the queries I 
have herein propounded — it will be quite time, Mr. Wright, to talk of and 
arijuc the points referring to the assumed pre-history of the Coruish-Gham- 
berlin-Beunett-Hatch-Knox-'' imported-from-India "-Brahmapootra strains. 

Perhaps you do know sufficient about this business to reply to tlie ques- 
tions I have proposed. Will you then please tell us, also, why it is that the two 
Cornish assertions (which statements you inform me by letter dated London, 
May 23, 1874, are the basis of your opinions and theory), about the arrival 
of his fowls ''in the ships at ISTew York from India in 1849," and twenty 
years afterwards that " they arrived from Luckipoor, in India, in September, 
1846," are considered by j'ou to be " accurate and conclusive evidence " that 
Burnham is a deceiver and a swindler, and that "his stock is spurious," 
when said Burnham, his fowls nor his existence is once referi-ed to, nor hinted 
at, in those two letters ? And will you be kind enough, at the same time 
(though I woitld not occasion you too much trouble at once), to inform us 
ignorant and illiterate people on this side of the Atlantic, why those India 
ships, arriving at Xew York, with the Cornish-Chamberlin gray fowls in 1849 
first, and in 1846 afterwards, never made any "port entry" at the Custom- 
house in Xew York, of "ship, or captain," as our United States revenue laws 
imperatively require? Were fowls, ship, captain, sailor, obscure owner — 
a\\ sinugijled into New York? And is this tiie reason why everybody so 
conveniently forgot the date and the reticent parties who had to do with this 
" little job " ■;' It may be so ; but I think this hardly possible. Still, this 
hypothesis is a far more reasonable one than are the published conclusions 
upon your premises, which 3rou so triumpliantlj' indulge in at my expense, 
in view of tlie actual facts existing in this important point in the case, as I 
have fairly presented them. 


The limits of this volume will not afford me space to arcjue this question, 
were I inclined to do so, which I am not. And I simply present these in- 
terrogatories as pertinent, in my judgment, to the issue involved. If Mr. 
Wright can answer these plain queries, we sliall certainly thus learn what 
we do not at present know in America ; and I have always believed that we 
knew all that anybodj' did upon this "Brah)na-origin " topic. His reasoning 
and sophistry are of no mortal account. His pedantic display in tautological 
and technical particularities, as to the formation of the skulls of ±he now 
so-called '' Brahmas," and the now so-called " Cochins," in comparison, 
carries no more weight with it than would the utterance of so much Sanscrit 
in the estimation of ordinary fowl-breederS ; wlio, nevertheless, appreciate 
all this " moonshine " at its true value. 

And so I shall not here attempt to answer his "points," seriatim, in kind ; 
since I am only desirous to place the naked facta before my readers, in as 
plain a dress as my humble capacity to make myself understood will p)ermit, 
leaving it to their common intelligence to decide, after examining said facts, 
whether Wright is wrong, or Burnham is right — or otherwise, — in this 
already greatly over-discussed matter. I have stated that Wright has 
interpolated and misquoted me and others in his books, to my personal dis- 
advantage, most malicious]3^ Below, I give an example (out of dozens that 
I might quote, had I room in this book), where Mr. Wright indulges in this 
sort of contemptible wrong and distortion towards me. In the English" 
" Cottage Gardener," 1853, appears tliis sentence, which I extract to the 
letter : — 

[Tlid oriijhwl paiwjra2)h.) 

" Mr. P. Jones states the fact of a pair of Gray chickens he bought" (of 
w/w/ft ;'j "breeding 'silver cinnamon' offspring; whilst tha pure unmixed 
stock of Dr. Gwynne, who had his direct from Dr. Bennett, and a Mr. 
Sheenan and others," (not Burnham !) " invariably bred pure gray." And 
again, same paper, "while what have been considered as the purest strain 
of the Brahma Poutras have thrown pure chickens onlij, we know, on good 
authority, that the produce of imported birds of equally higli pretensions 
have produced Bujf ahickana with black hackles." 

And here is the manner (italics and all) in which Lewis Wright cooks up 
this paragragh, when Jie pretends to make this extract for his "Poultry 
Book," see page 241, to aid him to " confound Burnham " with ! 

nURXIIAM vs. WUICUT. 1 Ti 1 

( The qiiolalion as j'rhileil hi/ ]Vri<ilif.) 

'• Mr. V. Jonos, in tlio Cott:i<j;e Ganli'iicr, tells of ;i pair df ctiiv ('liiclicns lie 
bought hrevdiwji sil ri'r viiniaiiioii iili's[)riiiL;', — a Mirc si;;ii of iTnssliii^-, — wliile 
the pure uniiii\i.'il stock, olitaincd tlircrt IVnm ! ir. J M'linct t, who liail his i'roui 
]\[r. Cornish, ■ invaviaMy hreil pure gray.' In tho same year the editor himself 
writes, that ' while what havi' heen eoiisiil.-ie il llu- purest strain of Firalnna 
I'outras have thrown inirc clii'-/:riis o/i/i/. \\-{' ]v-no\v on good authority that the 
produce of iDiportcil /iir(/s of equalli/ Ji'kjIi [n-ctrnsions (I'urnliam's) liave pro- 
duced Buft' chickens with black hackles. ' " 

Is this — with its italics, alterations, and additions — penned b}' Wright in a 
Christian teni[ier ? Is this "conducting the j^oultry fancy in a reverent 
spirit ? " Is this " striving in the fear of God to do good to the community, 
of which we form a part ? " as Lewis Wright, in the preface to this very 
''Brahma Fowd '" bool: (Ih-st editions) cantingly claims we should do ? . . . 
This entire perversion of the sense and text of the original paragraph, thus 
garbled b}' ^Vright, — which in no one word refers to me or my fowls, any more 
than do the two Cornish letters ho similarlj' garbles, — I simph' pronounce ut- 
terly false, as well as infamous. And Wright ];netv he was uttering this falsity, 
and perpetrating this infamy, wdien he thus inserted my name in parenthesis 
in. and changed the phrasing of, that [lara graph, thus ignobl}', gratuitously, 
and designedly — as he has similarly done in other places. 

This is but a single instance of Wright's folly and contumely towards me ; 
and, as to the paragraph just quoted from the "Cottage Gardener," — / 
never knew, or heard of the instance, in my whole five-and-twentj' j'ear's ex- 
2)erience with my Gray stock, where a " buff chicken " appeared among their 
progeny, — in my own yards, nor in the hands of any other person who bred 
my gray fowls clean, — either in America or England; and I do not believe 
the case ever occurred. They did breed all shades of Light and Dark gray 
birds ; but never a buif one, within ray knowdedge, from 1849 to 1874, in- 
ehisive. While, on the other band, in reference to the Cornish-Bennett 
strain, prated about bj' Wright in this altered quotation he makes, I find 
in June, 1874, in the " Poultry World," written by Mr. Plaisted (Dr. Ben- 
nett's business partner in the chicken trade in 1853 and '54), these re- 
markably candid words upon this verj' subject: — 

"Dr. Bennett removed to Iowa,- in March, 1853" (from New Hampshire). 
"He was unable to endure the western climate, and made me a proposition 

152 THE CniNA FOWL. 

to go into company in tlie poultry-stock business " (at Great Falls, !N". H.), 
" which I accepted. He returned in October, 1 853, and this plan was car- 
ried out to the letter." . . . " I selected every Brahma that J)r. Bennett or 
Bennett & Plaisted ever shipped to England, excepting the pair {he first) 
sent to Dr. Gwynne." . . . "All these Brahmas, shipped to England, were 
bred either by Dr. Bennett, S. 0. Platch, George Smith, or niy.selt, excepting 
the pair sent to Dr. Gwynne. I know this for a certainty, and tlieso are the 
fowls ichich Mr. L. Wright ha.<; described as -Dr. Bennett's " puke Brahmas." 
In breeding these, many diiferent shades of color were produced, the most 
objectionable being pure Imff, with the exception of a pencilled neck, as fine 
a color as ire see to-daij among the Buff Cochins." . . . "Deeming it best to 
keep these oaf of the stock as much as possible, I selected those with fine 
pencilled ncchs, black tails, &c." ..." I had more fear of the buff showing 
itself /rojft the stock sent to JUngland hij us, than of any thing else. It was 
reasonable to suppose that, if they bred all colors the first year or two, the 
English fani-iers would reject tliem, and consider that we had been playing a 
'Yankee trick.' Whatever may be said of the early history of these 'Brah- 
mas,' it is an indisputable fact, that buff's were found in all the yards where 
tlicy were bred, as well as the shades of color before mentioned.'' ..." Mr. 
Wright thiiiks those sent to England by Mr. George P. Burnham were 
mongrels. These I know nothing about. He (AVright) gives as his reason, 
that tliKi/ bred buff ; yet they might have been as pure as any of the others 
sent, and still breed buff progeny." 

This from Mr. C. C. Plaisted, in 1874, who claims that lie is writing a fresh 
history for the " World," of the Cornish-Chamberlin-Bennett-Hatcb "pure 
Brahmapootras," and who " know.s nothing about" the. gray fowls Mr. G. P. 
Burnham sent to England, which Wright falsely says "produced buff chick- 
ens with black hackles." It is pretty clear from this account, so frankly 
given by Mr. Plaisted, and so accurately (as I know it to be), that the 
buff-chicken breeding from the Grays, in England, occurred with this very 
Cornish-Bcnnctt stock that Wright so lauds (at my expense) ! And, since I 
can affirm that I never sold a gray fowl in England to " Mr. P. Jones," to 
the "editor of the Cottage Gardener," or to "a IMr. Sheenan," in my life, 
and never knew or heard of a case where my Gray Shanghaes ever once 
threw a buff chicken, anywhere, in all my experience, I declare this to be 
another coined falsity of Wright, made up out of whole cloth, to serve the 
dastardly jiurpose he had in view in thus interpolating and altering this 
fjuotation he makes (upon this particular pioint) in his two densely muddled 
"historical" chicken books. 

r.rnNiiAM ivs'. wtiKiiiT. ]f>;i 

After tlio lorcyoing pai^'os wci-c priiiled, Mr. Wiiglit in liis August Gazette 

renewed his attaek upon nie. Instead ol' Udting my answer to his original 

assaults, he turns to the " Ihai Fever" to suslain his falsities; and starts anew 

with liis old evudities, in a. promise ''to do Mr. lUirnham justice." lie says — 

"1 state ((.II ii!ifj:r 2-tO iif my " ISniik i.f I'nultry,") that, in the flni Frva; liiiniliam alKnns (Ii:it 
Li,i;ht and Iliirk I'ralnnas had (//.f^mf*^ ('/-iV/z/^f, Luit lliaf In- — luoilcst man! — had made them /juth ; 
tile Liudlt liy hi-ei'diiie- frnm smne immv. iima-iissed (Irey ('nrliiiis. the Dark liy ei-ossiliL;' (_'nehiiis with 
(ire\- C'hitta_L;-(.ii,i;s .... Lale in 18.V2 lie sent nvry a emisienmeid of an-ciilkd Lif/ht Brahmns 
to Her ilajesiy the t)neen, and in tin' l'nih)A\ine- yi-ar a nnnd)i'T v( Durk bin/s to various iiriieilers. 
.Vlld ae-ainon pae-e 24-t. I ol.-er\e: AVhen Ihirnlnlm said that the Dark llrnjunns were formeil Ijy .a 
ero>s hetween tiri'V (.'hitta^on;;s and ('oeliins, lie meant, ..^e., kS;e." 

In what I did write, I "meant" precisely wluit I said — and not what Lewis 
Wright falsely "quotes," or allirms that I said. I have already, in these pages, 
insisted that I never made the above statements, and tliat I never "sent over 
aiiv so-called Light Bralimas to Her Majesty." I sent tlie (^ueen a cage of my 
" Gi!-\.Y Sit.\.XGii,A.ES," only. Then " so called " b}' me, always so called by me, 
accepted by Her Majesty as " Gray Shanghaes " — and nothing else. 

I now repeat that the sentences Wright pretends thus to quote from my early 
book, do nut appear there. The term ^^ Dark SSrahmtis" is not once used in the 
entire .li."! pages of my "Hen Fever I " Nor is the sentence that I "made the 
Lirjhl Brahmas liy breeding from pure, uncrossed Grey Cochins," in that vol- 
ume — anywhere. Again — the lines " IViiriiham said that the Doric Brahmas 
were formed by a cross between Grey Chittagongs and Cocliins," are Wright's 
words — not mine. I n.'ver said so, or penned this paragraph. 

I iu)w say that neither the Darh " Brahmas " or the Darl: " Grey Shanghaes " 
are alluded to, in the Hen Fever. But, in order to back iiii liis first falsities, 
Wright fabricated tliis stuff, in his "Book of Poultry," tuid adlieres to it, yet! 

In the name of all that is righteous or decent, is this sort of "argument" fair 
dealing towards me, on the part of Lewis Wright? On pages 150 and 151 I ex- 
pose other altered and interpolated quotations made by Wright — in a similar 
vein, with a similar sinister purpose. Still, in his London paper of August 22d, 
'74. he reproduces a 'part of Cornish's first 1852 letter, (adroitly leaving out the 
sentence he prints from that document in his " Brahma Fowl " in 1870, which 
declares that " Chamberlin got his Gray fowls in 1849 ! !") and the whole oi tlie 
second 1809 letter, wherein Cornish says he " got them in 1846 " — to rc-liolster 
his previous blunders coupled with Cornish's two accounts ; which last mentioned 
article he concludes with this remarkalile passage: "I promise that my next 
accounts from iMr. Bundiam will not lie hea\'y reading . . . and I 'fudge,' 
tliis \ve(dc, liy simply giving that of Mr. Cornish." 


This word fudge, used by Wriglit, I did not at first appreceiate. Upon con- 
sulting Webster, however, I find tlie definition of this ungraceful term to be as 
follows: "Fudge — v. t 7 o devise ; to contrive ; to fabricate; to foist; to in- 
terpolate." In his London Gazette, page .'537, Wright says — "I fudge, this 
week, by simply giving the accounts of Mr. Cornish." To which / add, (not- 
witlistanding Wright's frank confession of his offense, in this instance,) that he 
has been constantly " fudging," from the outset ! Yet it is refreshing to see 
liim admit that he has devised, contrived, fabricated, foisted, and interpolated. 

And here I will note the fact tlwt the " Poultry World " for September con- 
tains a portrait of Mr. Chas. Kno.v, in 1847, "a clerk on a Hartford and New 
York propeller" — whom Mr. Flaisted argues is "the sailor" we have heard 
so much of, in connection with tlie Cornish-Chamberlin-Brahma-pootras. A 
pleasant but indefinite letter is given from Mr. Knox, who sa3rs " In 1847 I went 
on board a ship at New York, to look at two pairs of remarkable ]ioultry, which 
were to be exhibited at Franklin Market" — and "next trip (after reporting to 
Mr. Cliamberlin) I went and bought the gray pair, and took thein to Hartford." 
lie, too, states that he " never knew what port this vessel came from, n<ir her 
name ; " and " this is all lie can remember of the transaction." 

I only say to this that I never before heard of Mr. Knox, who it appears was 
no " sailor," but a clerk on a propeller in 1847 ; now a highly respectable gentle- 
man in Ohio — "a man of honor and alike of wealth." 1 liave no doubt he 
"saw" and "l)ought a gray pair of fowls," as he avers. / have done this same 
tiling, often. Hut I cannot conceive wliat this gentleman's seeing, linying, in- 
writing about " tliis transaction in 1847 " has to do with me, or mine — since he 
makes no reference to Mr. Burnham or his poultry, in this account. And surely 
it can have no bearing upon "accurate" Mr. Cornish's two storitts about " Brali- 
ma-]iootras." Yet this new theory is as plausible as Wriglit's old one; tliough, 
as I have said before, it is rather late in the day to cook this tale up, and ajiply 
it as " liistory," thus ex pt/st-facto. 

However, I know nothing about Mr. Knox, or tliis IS 17 ])aii' of grav fowls. 
1 never saw them, oi' heard of them before. My affair is with Lewis Wright, 
and his stui)id C'ornish-yai'ns of 184!) and 184(). In giving this letter I'rcnn iMr. 
Knox, dated " Toledo, 0., .Inly 22d, 1874," Mr. C. C. Plaisteil exnltingly (^n(|uires, 
with King Jolni, " Have I not here the best cards for the (fame ? " In answer to 
which I reply, " I tliink not — since you liave 'sliewn your liand ;' and it doe.s 
not look to me like a winning one. You have 'called' too soon, friend P!" 


It is generally known among poultiy fanciers in America, tliat Mr. Virgil 
Cornisli of Connecticut lias written the two letters which have been puljlishi.'d, 
referring to "a pair of large liglit-gray fowls " which a Mr. Chamberlin in 
said to have become possessed of, mj'storiously, in the early yeara of the 
poidtry mania. These two letters (nearly twenty years apart in their dates) 
are reprinted in both, of Lewis Wright's latest books ; and upon these two 
different accounts by Cornish, Mr. AVright tells ns he bases his singular theory 
of the " origin of the Brahma fowls." 

In one of these published letters, — the first, dated March, 1S52, — Cornish 
says, his fowls "came to New York in the India shi}?," and thence "into 
Connecticut, in 1S49 ; " and "it is certain they never were bred until they 
reached this [his] town." In the other letter, Cornisli says, just as "definitely 
and accurately " (which second letter is dated November 9, 18G9), " the ship 
arrived with my fowls at New York in September, 1840 ! I bought t\\e first 
brood batched out, and, in April following, i/te old pair I" 

Now, what is there " explicit " or " accurate " in these two distinctly dif- 
ferent statements of Cornish, that he first got his pair of fowls from the sailors 
of the India ships at New York in 1849," that " it is certain they never were 
bred till they reached Connecticut," and his "town, in that yenr;" then (in 
1869) stating that they "arrived at New York in a ship from Luckipoor, in 
India, September, 1846," and he " got the first brood hatched in 1847," etc. ? 

Mr. Lewis Wright's capacity for understanding very plain language must 
be most indifferent, indeed, if he cannot see the inconsistent character of these 
two accounts! But, in addition to this, — not by one syllable, in either 
of these letters which he quotes from Cornish, does that gentleman allude to 
me, in the remotest way. Why, then, should Wright drag me into this mess? 

Mr. Cornish and Mr. Burnham never once, in those j'ears (before Wright 
wrote his books), or since, ever had any dispjute or "conflict." And is it 
not clear, upon a moAnt's examination, in view of the above two antago- 
nistic accounts, that both Mr. Wright's false theory and Cornish's repeated 
misstatements alike " go up in a balloon ? " 

In Wright, page 17, we have it thus : Cornish says that " Chamberlin 
brought his fowls into Connecticut in the eailj' part of 1849." Mr. Cornish 
says, in the same letter, "I got my stock from Chamberlin, direct." Then 
he says (in 1869), the ship with these fowls on board arrived in 1846 ! Most 
of the first brood came out in May, 1847, which I purchased in August, and 


the old pair in April following." Thus, though he asserts clearly, in March 
2, 1.S52, that Gliamberlin did not "bring his fowls into the State until 1849," 
he "purcliased of Chamherlin the most of the first brooil in August, 1847, 
and tliP. old pair in April, 1848 ! " And, in that same first letter (see Wright, 
page 16, and Miss Watts' Poultry Yard, page 62, printed in italics), Cornish 
says, "it is certain they never were bred till they reached his town, in 1849 ! " 

Now, I will shortly present the recent, evidence of a Connecticut Light- 
Brahraa writer and breeder, in reference to Cornish's two statements, who 
positively asserts that "there is ^oj/t/rajr accurate in the first one; that the 
last one is still worse; that Cornisli did not purchase Chamberlin's first 
brood; and tliat ho never owned any 'old pair' of' Grays, at ffwy time ! " 
Which assertions will be backed by three witnesses, now alive, at Hartford. 

Yet Lewis Wright repeatedly insists, in his two works, that "Mr. CoriiisKs 
accounts are the only reliable ones puLlislied ; " tliat "Cornish tells the story 
of the lirahma origin accurately and clearly ;" that Virgil Cornish's state- 
ments " are explicit and indisputable ; " that " no one can question Mr. Cor- 
nish's accuracy;" and that, for all the details of his stupid and utterly falla- 
cious theory, he (Wriglit) relies upon "the unimpeachable, succinct, consistent, 
triitliful, clearly-narrated statements made and repeated by Virgil Cornish !" 

However, I must not omit just here to repeat that in neither of the aljove 
accounts of Mr. Cornish — whether tliey be false or true — does that gentle- 
man once refer to me, or to my fowls, in the remotest way. And I will add 
that I should not now have spoken of Mr. Cornish but tliat Wright goes so 
far out of his way in the endeavor to sustain his nonsensical theory in his two 
books as to drag Mr. Cornish and mj'self before the public, antagonistically; 
when the exact truth in this matter is, that Mr. Cornish and Mr. Buruham 
never had a word of diiference, written or verbal, until Wright thus pitted 
them against each other, for his own inexplicable purposes.* And hero I call 
especial attention to the pertinent extracts on pages 1^ to 161. 

»■ Since these present pages were written, — notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Burnham had 
previously, through the poultry journals and by private letters, communicated the true state of the 
case to &Ir. Wriglit, in full, — this gratuitous maligner in tJie papers assumes new grounds of 
assault, and persists in the bigoted determination to sustain his originally-invented nonsense. But, 
avoiding the issues ho had already made, he starts afresh upon entirely untenalde grounds, and 
witli a totally different line of argument, to prove what " Burnham did," and " Burnham didn't," 
iu the years ago. To which latest rodomontade, by Wright, entirely in the old vein, I will simply 
here apply the trite but truthful apothegm, — " false in one, false in all." — G. P. B. 


AVe shall liiid that the so-stateil " iiiiportatiou from Iin/la" of tlie Cor- 
nish-sailor gray fowls has mi foumlatiou iu fact; auJ though the young 
birds, shown at the early exhihitious iu Jiostou, were very good speoinieus, 
there can be no doubt (as there exists no evidence to the coittrari/) that a/l 
the Light-Gray sanijiles oxliibited in 1S50, '51, '52, — as the Committees of 
Judges at Boston declare officiall}-, — came out of the same original stock, and 
that this '• large pair of gray fowls," naid b}' the sailor to liave been " found " 
by him in jSi^ew Yort, or elsewliere, were hatched from eggs sent previously 
from m>/ yards, or were sold by me to some unknown party, as chickens ; 
which chanced to develop into a fine pair of birds in tlie hands of tlie person 
who thus obtained them. C>r, they might have come from Pennsjdvania, as 
mine did in tlie first instance — ^from Dr. Kerr. 

As to the first letter signed by Virgil Cornish, dated March 2, 1852, I will 
add here that I am ready to take oath that Dr. John C. Bennett came to my 
house and passed the night there, a few months previoiisl// to the date of that 
document, when he exhibited to me and to members of my famil}' Jtis ready 
prepared account of what was " shortlj' to be forthcoming as the true history 
of the origin and importation of the Brahmapootra fowls, from India,'' which 
precious document (as nearly as I can now recollect it), in his handwriting, 
was almost word for word this verij letter, published in 1852 as Mr. Cornish's ! 
During the Doctor's visit to me that day and night, at Melrose, he informed 
me that this very statement was to be published, and that it would be ap- 
proved by Mr. Cornish and Mr. Hatch of Connecticut. He then took up a 
proof I had of the illustration of his original three "Brahmapootra" fowls, 
the first ever shown in the world, which may be seen on page 20 of this vol- 
ume (which block was engraved twentj'-four years ago, and which wood-cut 
I have the original of now in my possession), and npon the margin of said 
proof he wrote thes*. words : ^^ Remove streamers, make the two j'^ullets 
larger, no featliers on legs ;" which directions were addressed by Dr. Ben- 
nett to the artist who made the drawing, for the purpose of republishing this 
cut to suit his ideas, then, of the " Brahmapootras " he wished to delineate. 
The above memoranda, in Bennett's own hand-writing upon that proof, I have 
still in my hands. The "streamers," as tlie Doctor called them, referred to 
the slight top-knots which appear (see engraving) at the back of the heads 
of all tliree of these original " Brahmapooters.'' 


THE Criiy^A FOWL. 




Extracts from otlier Poultry Authorities. 

" The clearness of the white, nnd the well-defined 
markin:;s of the two contriOiUions ^-^hown nl Ilir- 
niiiiirlKUii.altriictedatti'Mtion. A few week.-^ al'ter, 
some of these hirds, sent over on siK'Oiilaiion by 
lir. .1. C. lleiiiu'tt. were .^liown in Hakor Siiuet." 
— Miss }ratts' J.oiuh»i '' rouftri/ Yani:' 

" 1 never sent ovit to Iler ::\l:Vies(y ,7}n/ so-ealled 
' Uriihnias,' carlv or hile. I never s>tid 1 did. I 
n'-'Vi'i- pretended 1 did; and no one. save Lewis 
"Wright, has ever said, or pretended, 1 did!" — 
C. A Buniham, in nii Ihc I'oaltrK Joiinuils. 

"Tlie Rrnhmaswere r(/\sV exhibited in Rostonby 
i*[r. llatcli,or (.' • (Jray (.'Iultai:^onffs,' 
in 18.">0. I f/iv.'//(t'</L'xhibitin';. Ilien. 1 prebrred 
to te^t ilu'ni fiirihi-r. 1 sold no birds to any one 
until /'^■••ni/'er, isr>0. 1 sold {In-ni at tirst at 81^ 
pLM- pair." — }'/roil Cornish, Connecticut, in icti'cr 
dated Xov. 'J, Iblitt. 

" There is not a jiartiele of evidence to sho^\■ that 
theso fowls eanie from India' Tlie banks of the 
llrahniaiioolra Itixer lia\e loiii; been in possession 
ol' the lii-itisli, and no sncli fon-!s ircre I'rcr seen in 

Extracts from Wright's Two Poultry Books. 

" The Rralima Fowl was nnquestionably first in- 
troiUicod into Euiiland as late as the year 185"^, 
\\ lien two pens ^vure sliown at liirndiiL^hani by 
5[rs. Ilozier \\"imanis and Or. Guyiine. It was 
saiil ild- fowl was a new breed, imported from In- 
di I." — Ifright's ^' Brahma Fou-J.'^ 

" ^[r. Oiirnham, of the United States, who, it 
will be remembered, sent o^■e^ some of tlie earliest 
so-callfd ' IJralinuis' as a jiresent to Ilci' Majesty, 
in IS^'J, artirms that he ori;/inated them." — Front, 
the " lirohina Fowl " by Lewis Wright. 

"T\\Q first exhibition of lifrbt Brahma chickens 
took phi'ce in lioston. in October, lsr>0, and were 
thos..- of Dr. .1. (.'. liennett. This \H.-\t ^\ as eon- 
sidi-rod nia^^nilieent ; and lir. Bennett's own slute- 
nu'iit wa-^ that he imrcliased them jii-evioitsly at a 
vcr\" hiixh fitrnre tVoni Mr. ^'. Curuisli, of C'ouu." — 
" Jiruhin I FoicV again. 

'■ 3Ir. ('■hamberlin, of f'onnecticnt, sent a sailor 
to XfW York, who reported that he found a pair 
of Li.^ht-firay fowls, whicli hu purchased. The 
man in New York, wliose name we ha\e not ^ot, 
^ave no account of their ori.Lrin, except thai they thit locdih/. In I'act, the Brahmas originated noi 
came over in the ^)(//(r ships." " Tliese were said in Imlia, "hiil in America "— [fliey were first 

to be orii2:inal)y ini]>orted from India."- 
ma Fonil," pp. \) and 10. 

' Bruh- broil. ijht lo jmblic notice by Mr. Burnlunn.] —"the 
t\vo varieties." — Tegetineier's /\>iiliri/ Book, p.ijo. 

"Dr. Bennett stated (in IR.^0^ that he pur- 
cliased his tirst fowls of Sir. Cornish; and a por- 
tion of Mr. Cornish's account, not ijuoted in Ids 
tirst published letter (about these lo\vls), stales 
that ' Chamberlin (of whom Cornisli p:ot his chick- 
ens) l:)rouiLilit his fowls into <_'onnecticut in the 
e trli/ ji'irt'oflH4i>.'" ... "I give below all the 
facts {Nov. 9, ISG'.i.) relating to the early history of 
the Brahmapootra fowls. . . . Mr. Chaniberlin's 
name was Nelson II. The ship arrived in New 
York in Septendier, IS40. The name of the port 
from which the ship sailed ^\ as Luckijioo]-, in Jn- 
di I. ' 1 bought the tirst brood liatchid out, in Au- 
gust, and the ohl pair in April follouing.' The 
BrahuKis were tirst exhibited in Boston as 'Gray 
Chitlagongs,' in 18r>0. The V'imr was then es- 
tablished." This is ]\Ir. Cornish's statement, 
and is "the only account consistent with the 
fads and itseli'. wtiich is seen to be corroborated 
in e\ery possible wav." — ]rn';/ht's " Orie/in of 
the Brahma," pp. 17, liO, and Xi-l. 

" ]\rr. Cornish being the lirst who has seen tit to 
publish a ' history.' of the Brahmas, and having 
therein made statements not easily prti\ en, I shall 
take the liberty of criticising his account. I am 
nnable to gather from those ^\"ho first owned them 
in this eoiintr> , positive evidence concerning their 
nati\ ily. Some ha\ e asserted that they were ori- 
ginally from Chiltagong; others name the Bnr- 
rampooier A'alley, India, as their natural home; 
and ^Ir. <'ornisli, in ii, fater account, says they 
came from a port called ' Luekipoor,' up the Bnr- 
rampooter lvi\er; none of whicli statements are 
proven to be antlientic. If Mr. (.'Ornish had stated 
that they were a ' hickv hit,' I should have airreed 
with hini. Mr. V'ornisji rehites that 31r. Hatch, of 
llainden, <'oun., exhibited llrahmas in 18.^0, in 
Boston. .Mr. Hatch resided in Franklin at that 
time, and the date of his Urst exhibition was in 
18r>l (not lS.->0). :\Ir. Cornish, in all his slate- 
nicnts to Mr. AVrighf, goes back one year earlier 
than he onght to.'' — C. (_'. Pknstcd. in isM. 

*' So far as positive eridencc U concerned, it must " Tho first pair of these fowls, about which there 
be considered decisively the fact that Barnhani's has been so niuch discussion, w(Me hionghl by one 
account is a deception, while Mr. Cornish's is cor- (.'harles Iviiox lo Mv. Nelson 11. Chaiidierlin, 

rect ; and that (dJ the genuine ' Brahmas ' were 
bred from the original pair lirst brought into Con- 
necticut bv Mr. ( 'hamberlin ! " ( IVhen ? in 1 840 ? 
in 184(1*? or in X^^.'X'-l) —Wright's '' Brahma 

Foirl," pp. '20, ^1. 

Ilartlbnl, Conn., in 1847. They were_;jo-^ f,rcd 
by Mr. Chamberlin in 1S48. Mr. Ivnox" reported 
tliem just arrived on ;in l^ast India vessel, !i( N^w 
York."— C. C. J'laisled's {Bennett's partner) uo- 
County in 1^71:. 

PRO A\D coy. 


" Tt apponrs, both from the statcnionts of privtite *' Mr. S.O. Hatch, of Connecticut, ^j'S^ exhibited 
iirrespoiidfiicc aridCrotii the various iiapers of the these fowls in Kovembei\ 1851. An crroneoiia 
period, Ihat the firat public exliibitioii of l,i;;ht stalenient has been made in rieiirly all the h'adin;; 

Itrahnias toi»k plac 
\\ ere chir7:,'iis, and wei 
t. eat FaU-s, N.ll.'— " 


11 1«.-|0. T 

> shown b 

l>r, I'.Llillptl 

ISrahmi I 

oH-i," p. ir. 

poultry books and pajn-rs, lluil ih*- Li/^dit Brahnias 
ol" ■were first sltowii at th<.' cxhildlioii in Jio.ston, iu 
lvSr>0."— C. C. J'luislcd, in 1^74. 

" Tliis pen (shown by l>r. lieniulf, in Octol)er, 
1S.">0,) wa^ ei'Usidcred ni;i,!j:uiiieiMii l,i erery wnj, 
and was the principal atlniclioii of (tie sliow. The 
ijiiestiou at once occurred, from wiioni did Dr. 
J^enuett procure these bird-*? And it is imjios- 
sible to doubt lih oicii st<itcmeiit, made in answer 
to every in(iuiry, that 'he purcba ed them from 
Btr. Cornish, of fonnecticut.' " — Jf, ii/ht's •' Ori- 
ffin of Bnilun !," p. 17. 

" ^Ir. P. .Tones states the fact in ' 'J'lie Cotlnge 
Gardener,' of a pair of Gray chickens lie boui^hi, 
breedinpr silver ciininmon ortsprin^, a sure si^u of 
cro>sins; while ibe pure unmixed stock, obliiined 
from Dr. Bennett, wlio bad Ills from -■\ir. Cornish, 
invariably bred imrc f;ray." ..." Wlnle tliis pur- 
est strain of l;iah]iia.s have thrown pure chickens 
onli/, we know that the produce of imported birds 
of eijually hi,crb pretensions (Burnliam's) have 
produced -Cwif chickens." — Leuris IFngkt's altcre I. 
quotation, piige-J.i\, '' Illustrated Booh ofPoultrij." 

"This is the trio jVir. A\'rir;]it has mentioned as 
' \\\i.'jiri.t ijurc-bred ISrubmas exlubited at JJo.,tori.' 
'i'liev were a cross, and iwt of tlie i.'haml'erlin 
stock. Tliey were b^dit ^ray ; liad lop-knofs, and 
attracted much attention, i'iut Ibis was in 1851, 
November. At thi^i sliow ( 1311) ilr. Hatch gave 
us the ^ir.s'i sight at pured^rod t'liamberlin Brab- 
nias." — ('. ('-. Plaisttd,iii the Hartford '^ Poultry 
jror!d," Ls74. 

" Jly friend, Dr. Bennett, consulted me as to a 
name for a brace of Gray fowls I saw in his yard, 
in 1851. He entered these at our Boston show 
that year, as ' Braniapootras.' These fowls were 
bred by him from my lirst (I^r. Kerr) Gray.Sbang- 
hae cock, which I sold the doctor, and aLigbt-Drab 
{oi- silver cinuam<n)) .■^lianp:liae hen, in Massachu- 
setts. Subsequenil}- the.--e I'uwls came to be called 
' Burram Pootras,' ' Brahniajjootras,' and tinaily 
Br->hinas." — Burnham's " yew /\'U'try Book," 
1870, ^j. 159, quoted from another work in ly55. 

" All the facts strongly corroborate Mr. Corni-^li's 

account, pro'^ ing that 'Connecticut was the bead- 
quarters of this breed, and that from the very^r^'i 
it bred with extreme purity as regards all the 
characteristics." . . . ".Mr. Burnliam visited this 
New-Kngland show in 1^5*% and endeavored to 
parchase some of this ' Brahma' stock, bur failed." 
— iVright's ''Brahma Fowl," p. 18. 

" Tlie Light Brahmas undoubtedly originated in, 
and were identical with, those Gray fowls (Burn- 
bam'.s) tliat from the very first cai'rie over from 
lYh'tnghae, with the Butf and Partridge birds now 
universally known as ' Cochins,' and liere we ap- 
pend Mr. Burnham's account of them, from his 
amusing "History of the Hen Fever." — Tcget- 
meiers' Poultry Book, London, Ls(J7. 

"We have tlius tw^o very defnile statements by 
3Ir. Burnbam : lirst, tljat he was the founder, or 
original breeder of ' Brabmas; ' and secondly, that 
the Light ^"arietv w^ere pure, uncrossed Gray Co- 
chin:-." — ^Vri'jhVs " Origin of the Brnhma Fowl," 
in. l>-70, p. 12. 

"T never had claimed to be the 'founder,' or 
'originator,' of cry 'Brahma-^.' I simply said I 
was the hrst breeder of the ' Gray .Shanghaes ' in 
America (never ' Cochins '), such as I sent to tlie 
Queen in 185^;;," See— G. P. Burnham, in all the 
Poultry papers, 187-i. 

" A!! Mr. Burnlujm's earlv Brabmas were single- " The single comb would appear to be the usunl 

combed, while tne originals (Cornish's) were all form of that feature in the Braiimapootra fowl; 

triple, or 'pea-combed.' The pea-comb alane is though, as Dr. Bentiett .~ays, 'the true breed do 

alniO'C conclusi\e evidence of tlie superior an- som.e(i;«e.'; present thi-^ '/dwaf/.^ii of the pea-comb.' " 

tiijuitv or purity nf the Brahma fowl." — Wrigh/s (.^ome.imes \)^ B v. }[r. Win gfield's Poultry Book, 

*• Illustrated Poultry Book," p. 247. p. 170; puhlidhed in lb.3:i. 

*' The comb know^n as the ' pea-comb,' is pe- 
C'diar. No ;j''re strain ought to breed a solitary 
comb in whicli this peculiar triple character is not 
perfei:tly di.--tinct. 1 would not press a fancy point 
too far; but, considering bow typical the pea-comb 
is, I would not breed from an imperfect one, &c." 
— Wright's " Poultry Book," p. 24'J, and last Lon- 
don edition o/" Brahma Fowl." 

"Upon this point,'/ can only say that out of 
tweniy chicks bred for myself from a cock and two 
pullets obtained from Dr. liennet', of the United 
atatej (of the Light Cornisb-Chambcrlin stock),/ 
cannot detect a single instance of the 'deviation* 
from the single cornbs upon ihc parmts, received 
from Dr. Bennett." — I'r. Wm. C. Gwynne, Eng- 
land, to Jlev. Mr. Wingfield, in 185.3. 

*' THr..Jo?. Hinton commenced with the pure Xz^ft^ " Jlr. B. H. Bowman's chickens, of Bosemoran, 

Cornisb-Chandjerlin stock; and in three j ears' which he bought of Mrs. ITozier \Villiams," sent 

breeding he transformed- his strain from Light to to her in England by Dr. Bennett Sc Co., in l85t;. 

Dark; producing", from these Light Cbamberlin out of the Chamberlia stock, "are of uniform 



birds, his famous well-knowu D irk Bralinin code, 
for two year^ a lea<Un^' Engli^^h pi ize bird known as 
' Champion,' and the Daik heus as we see ilieni 
now," the most notable strain of Dark lirahmas 
to-day in all England! —Lewis IVright's new '' Il- 
lustrated Poulti y Booh" 1^73, 74. 

" I did notice the pea-comb on mj^ first birds. It 
was not so witli idl ; yet it appeared ditfei'ent fi-om 
the Cldfta^ong. Tliere was a teiideiicij to throw 
itAiiiv chickens, but a greater tendency to bfconie 
lighter. All fowls having dark and light feathers 
can be varied either ivay, to darker or ligliter, by 
choosing always tiie darkest or b.-^'lite^t fur breed- 
ers. / never bred to eitlier extrfme." — J'irgil 
Cornish's second letter, " Uruhinic low!," p. 143. 

" The statement that tlie two varieties of Urah- 
mas (Liglit and Dark) had 'distinct origins,' is 
known to every breeder of the.-e fowls to be un- 
true. Miss "Watts, whose (Chamberlin's) strain is 
probably the only Englisli one that has not been 
crossed, assured us, in tlie most distinct manner, 
that she never had but the one stock, from which, 
by selection, she has bred both tlie Bark and the 
IJr/ht" varieties. — WrighVs litest work, p. 240. — 
'• Illustrated Book of Po'uUry." 

" We liave found in our own yards that we could 
soon breed black ' Bralunas,' if such were desired ; 
or, on the other liand,that in about three sea^^ons, 
by choosing the lightest birds, w'e could produce 
almost clear white. And as tlie original birds 
(Burniiam's, of course,) were somewnat darker 
than tlie Light birds now shown, either color could 
have been bred from them (tlie originals) wath still 
greiiterrapiditv and ease." . . . " Jiurnham claims 
for his the credit of being the original birds, ^'^ and 
unfortunately found in England what he never 
could in America, a writer who would adopt his 
tale."— WrighVs Illustrated- ''Poultry Book,'' 
1873,;;. 247. 

•'As an instance of the general appreciation of 
tMs man, we liad recently an announcement from 
a valued American correspondent that 'our old 
friend, Biirnham, has let him.self out again;' and 
were somewhat perplexed by this enigmatical in- 
formation, until the receipt of 'linruliam's New 
]'oultry Jiook,' published in 1871. It is the simple 
fact, that not one American writer, and but one 
English, ever regarded Burnham's accounts as of 
any value." ..." Wliether tlie latter may have 
bred very tolerable imitations of Brahmas, is not 
the (question, "\^'e had seen that there were two 
qualities of birds known in the early days — one 
spurious, which bred mongrel progeny, and could 
be traced to Burnham; the other pure, whicli was 
always traced to Connecticut, or to Dr. Bennett, 
who procured his from that State." 

* I r/iV? enter my claim, in the cartv days (lotiE before Mr. 
liCwifi Wriglit bRci-ni to senk tbr means to abuse ii rid cry down 
mv fowls, wliicli wen- so ju-ily poinlar in Enphmd), as the 
" originiit^r " of the Gran Sluiitrihae a^ocV.. which 1 ai'nt to 
Hfr :\I;'JL-sty the CJin.'i-n,'»rid otJuT--', in Enjjland, !is well as 
nil over tile TTiiitcil Scat H, as such. I did no ( claim toori- 
LTinatu, breed or sell, own or kee|), aiiv " Uriihmapootra'^ " 
11! thotie veir?. nt nrnc k^ioxr ihis f.ujt bctt'T thuQ do,. C. Weld a;id [,ew:.- Wrib'iil!-a. i'. u. 

co^OT — nduski/ gray, striped with black on head, 
neck, and back." Dr. Bennett wrote to Dr. 
Gwvnne in 1S5-', that ''his fowls and Mr. Burn- 
ham's were precisely similar, and both were brea 
from the same stock" (the Gray ShaughaesJ.— 
Ilev. 2Ir. Wi-igfitUVs Book, 1853. 

" Among Americans, Mr. Burnham says, these 
fowls are Shaiujh >es. Dr. Bennett (and Cornish) 
contends that they came from India. One says 
ih& pea-comb is decidedly preferable; the others 
say it should be single, upright, and well ser- 
rated. This 'pea-comb' is a iwvelty with us in 
England; and, in all our various crosses, -we have 
never seen anything like tUs.'' — Tegetmeier s 
London Ilhtstrated Poultry Book, 18G7. 

"Mr. Burnham's Light Brahmas, with pure 
white or cream-colored bodies, and elegantly pen- 
cilled hackles, were in great favor" (at the Bir- 
mingham Show, in '03), "when suddenly a riew 
variety sprang upon the scene. Apair of birds Ironi 
3Ir. Burnham were .shown there by Mr. Baily of 
London, and sold for lOU guineas ! I'hey were D<'rh 
gray in color, and were the first ' Dark Brahmas 
ever seen in this country."— fF. B. Tegetmeier, 
Editor of "London Fidd," in 1&53. 

The T>ark Brahmas sent out to England first 
by Jfr. Burnham, in 1853, " at once took the lead of 
all others, and many fanciers in England were 
supplied. But, wishing to ' improve ' them, if pos- 
sible, in size and color, these old sagacious breed- 
ers crossed the hens with the block hre isted 
Dorking, the only bird which would give the 
qualities desired. A gentleman who visited those 
old establishments, a few years after the first birds 
were sent there from the United States (Burn- 
ham's), was in time to detect this cross; and at 
once observed the change in size, the black breaSt, 
and actually saw the fifth ioe." — Mark Pitm'm, 
in " Kew York Poidtry Bulletin," in 1S70. 

"Our readers will find a contribution in this 
week's 'Fancier's Journal,' over the signature of 
8. J. Bestor, Esq., the well-known fancier and 
writer — on' IVrii/ht vs. Burnhum.' 3fr. Bestor is 
a gentleman, a well-known old breeder, of Hart- 
ford, (.'onn., and \\eJl read; for two years presi- 
dent of the Connecticut State Poultry .Society." 

Wade's Philadelphia. Fancier^ June 26, referring 
to the following article : — 

" I am not personally acquainted with Mr. Burn- 
ham, never ha\ing met him; but have read «?? of 
his works, and especially his later contributions to 
the press. He shows very clearly that no ship ' ar- 
rived at New York from Luckipoor, in India,' 
either in 184G or in 1849, as is claimed; and it 
does strike me that Mr. Wright has seriously erred 
in his theory about the origin of the now so-called 
' Brahmas;' and lie has plainly made a gross mis- 
take in his attempts to argue Mr. Burnham out of 
the deserved credit of originating this stock in 
America, and of being the^trs^ to introduce it into 
Enfi^land, of both iJght and Dark varieties. 
Wright went a long stretch out of his way to im- 
plicate Mr. Burnliam in Bralnnapootrais'm. Mr. 
Burnham has recently completely vindicated him- 

run and con. 


" Itiit siK-Ii. iin.l luroiiuls .if sm-1i, i.iiltlislir.l 
uTUt (lie pure Ilralmiiis wcrt- inililicl>' slmw n, ciui- 
not iii\ uliiiiilt.' II ruusisliMiI ild'Oiinl ;;"|\(Mi IVdui llu' 
vi.'i-\' lir^I of till' ^ruiiiuo slniiii, as IMr. Coriiisli 
jnsily iiv.nin's. It is plain tliiil tin ir w !is a slraiii 
or real liralmias disiiiu't IVoiii Sliaii,yluu's, or tin- 
ro\\Is tlu'ii \i.\w\\ 11 ill AiiK'ricii us ( 'Iiiiiaf^iMiL's, all 
■\\liioll w iTt.' Irarril up tu llic liirds lu'oii^lit into 
C'onncoiii'nl li\ Mr. CinnnlKTliii." . . . "Amlasan 
a^cil l\ast hulian oIliciT writi's iis rort'nlly, that 
' iliis fowl uas ilu' I liKtngoiKj brt'i-d, of wli'irh lio 
had soi-n ImmtriiU in liidia".' . . . ^Mr. (oniisirs 
istock mil/lit, of fotn>o. Iia\ e ln.'i.'U ^;iianj;inu's as 
nuu'li as IWiintiaiu's woro. \\'i.' lia\ o socii tluit tlio 
}\irh- Kraliina ran bo bred from Ilio Lii/ht — oi\ 
raihtT tho finn/ ,' And on this and olht-r o\ idunce, 
^o coniL'nd tliai iho fiiw I is of one race. . . . Wo 
a-sorr tliat all llu- ca idciico we have, traros this 
fowl back to Mr. t'ornisli's stoi-k, and all tlu' fai'ts 
harnioni/i' w illi ibis tln-ory." — }i"rii/ht's "Jiraliiift 
Fold," list Loinhni cdili-ti. 

tt5^ " A portion of iMr. (.'Ornish's k'tler of l^Cy*, 
not qnott'd in the ' t'onltr\' \ ani,' (at lirst) states 
that (.'htnuUrliii l>ri'U(/ht his /o/r/.s into the i^tute 
(Connfotii-nt) /// tlu' ciirh/' ]iitrt of 18-li>." — 
Jrrinhrs " />'/■< hni j Foil I, '• p. 17. 

&£*" "The name of the port from which the ^hip 
sailed, willi iliese fowls on boartl, is l>tieki])oor, m 
India. 'I'hc ■'^h.'ji urrired in \i't York, i)i Scpfem- 
Wr. tS4G. 'V\u- fir.sY brood I pnrehased."— CVr- 
n^sh's sconhf letter, iNV.i, p. Hit, s^nne n-orl: 

^do' " 'I'hf lirst pair of i lieso fowls were brouj;ht 
by one C'liarles Knox to Air. Cliambevliii, in Hart- 
ford, Conn., in 1847. Mr. Knox reported tico 
pairs, on an Ka^t-Tudia vessel, at iSew York." 
— Hie Intest occoitnt, by C. C. J'loisteil, in 11S74. 

'* The Brahma and Hie Slianghac (Cochin) fowl 
being confessedly closela-relnted races, it is inter- 
esting to estinnite tlieir relative antiquity. The 
pea-comb has been found on the JIalay, and on 
the China fowl. Tlie importance of this matter, 
with regard to the \vlu)le subject of the origin of 
this species, must be our apulog}- for devoting so 
much space to it." ..." A\ Idle it is possible the 
' itark' birds, which came o\ er in the ship* with 
tho>e here recorded, nia\ have also been lirahmas, 
there is not the slightest reason to t|uesfion that 
both ma>/ have been deri\ ed iVoin the one stock 
brought into Connecticut by Chanilierlin, and 
afterwards fostered bv <~'ornish and Dr. Ben- 
nett ! ! : " — Wright's " llruhinj FoicL" 

" Chanibcrlin's nan\o i-* Xel-on II. "says Cornish. 
" I purchased bis lir-t brood, batched in August, 
1S47, and the old pair ihe .Viiril following." This 
testimony, so full and explicit, nnist be considered 
tina ly to settle the qiiesiion. Mr. Cornish's direct 
and explicit evidence is ttie strongest point in this 
ease. . . . " I will only say that rheditiiculty in my 
mind is, the plain, deiinite, accurate statements of 
]\[r. Virgil Cornish, on this subject." — Lewis 
Wriqht in *^ Hriihnii Fmrl," a7id in a letter to G. 
P. Burnh im in J/"'y, 187.1. 

self agaiuHl llu' wiiolesale aliack of ]\Tr. AVrigbt, 
who, eviileiillv, is not as ' K. K. \V.' has It, ' [lie 
best living auriiorlly upon this Brahma question,' 
liowev<'r good he iniiv have been on ol her ])Oultry 
nndters. As lo (lie sailor's tale about Hie 'imjioria- 
tion ' of Cornish's stock 'from Liiekiiioor, in In- 
dia,' Blr. Biindiam elleclually disjioses oi' th(ft— 
since no record oi' ttiis shiji's uirival in New York 
is to be found; which it could now be readilv, upon 
the old Cniied Stales Customs i;ej;is(er, Imd it 
occurred eillu-r in 18-1<» or in 1>U*J. 'fhe result 
of all is, undoubtedly, that all llicse ' large IJgbt- 
(.iray Foa\1s ' come from o)ie pari'iilagi- ; and there 
is no question in ni\- mind to-duA', lliat Afr. JiUrn- 
ham had tlie first •>/d hints in the Ui-iled States, to 
wit; those be inqiorted in 18!0and 18r.O, from 
Sbanghae; and that this splendid stock (now im- 
proved by long domestication among ns) was 
originally of CiiiNEsi:, and not of Jmliii origin, as 
Jlr. Tegetmeier so clearly states." — ^S. J. liestor^ 
in ff'ade's Philadelphia Fancier, June, 1^7-1. 

" Jfr. Cornish first announces in AVright's book 
that his fowls came into Connecticut from the 
tailors of the /;?(/?'((. ships, in 1S40. < tn pages 142, 
14:!, same work, appears Cornish's second letter 
(Nov. '.I, ISO'.)), stating that his iowU arri\eil in a 
ship from Luckipoor, India, at New York, Sep- 
tember, 1846- In .Tune, 1874, 5Ir. I'laisted says, 
these fo\\ Is came into Connecticut from an East 
India ship, just then arri\ed af New York, in 
1847. In l;s7u, I went to New York, and carefully 
searched the United States Customs Kecords for 
this ship; and I now positively state that there is 
uo entry of any such ship to be found there — 
either in tS40, 184G, or 1847-"— G- P. Burn- 
ham, in " Turf Field, and Farm," June 20, 1874. 

" Mf-. Burnliam clearly points us away back to 
Pr. Kerr's letters, in 1849. in support of his claim 
to the origin, of tlie Gray Shanghaes — now called 
' Brahmas; ' and there can no longer be any doubt, 
from all the evidence before the public, that these 
Light-Gray Fowls had a common origin in this 
country; and that they have been, since 1850, 
'51. '5'-3, variously 7!amc(? by dillereiit parties to 
suit their own tastes. We "will a(id that, as far 
back as in 1855, '50, we ourselves bred these fowls 
in ^lassachnsetts. They were then known as 
'Gray Shanghaes,' or ' Chittagongs,' and, as we 
recollect them, they were certainly identical with 
the Light Brahmas of to-day." — Editor Fanciers' 
Journ d, Philadelphia, in 1874. 

" I would ask what Cornish's accounts are worth, 
from tirst to last ? I do not consider his stories worth 
one pin, after investigating the subject as I have. 
The're is nothing accurate in his first statement, 
and his last one is still worse, ilr. Cornish did 
not purchase 5Ir. Chataberlin's tirst brood of chick- 
ens, neither did he ever own the old ' lirst pair' of 
those fowls at any time, as I can prove to the sat- 
isfaction of the most incredulous."— C. C. Plaisted 
in Jiis Jirahnia Ili^tory, Hartford " PouUry 
World," 1S74. 

• "Dnrk birds wliicli cuiiie over," in n-lnU sWi^i? The one timt " arrived at New York," in 1840 P or 11^4« ? or in 
ItS-fy? Tlicrc WHS )(" g ich eliip arriveii from Inilia na ia claimed bv Wriglit — in cither year — wilh eitlicr "Dark 
M'-;Is"nr I.ichi! ■• Tiu' Hmhiiiat ori\'iiriteil not in ludia," says Mr. Tegutineier, of the Loudon" Field," "but with 
ilr. U. P. Duruharn, In America," ^t>r/* vaiiulicj. 

162 THE CniXA FOWL. 

Dr. Bennett wislieJ to change the orir/iiiaf cut of his tliree birds, and 
'•remove" the top-lcnots. I never -would allow tliis block to be touched. 
He endeavored still to enlist me in his " riralnnapootra " scheme; but I 
steadily declined, and strove to show him how unreasonable ^vas his preten- 
sions about this Cornish-sailor story which /u' had liatched up; and I heard 
no more of this tlien shilfnlly prepared yarn (^very slightly varied, to the 
best of m V remembrance, in its details), until it was first made public, a 3-ear 
or more subsequently to this interview between us. Dr. John 0. Bennett, 
himself, prepared this sailor-story in the main, oriijl}>aIh/ : he alone inrciitcii 
the name of ■• Brahmapootra "' for the Gray-Shanghac fowls ; he also originated 
the title of the "pe.a-comb."' The other parties in the Brahmapootra interest 
in I80-, '53 joined the Doctor in this story and the deception about the '• im- 
portation of these fowls from India." — under his lead, — and subsequently 
told his tale so many times, that some of them (not all 1 ) came at last to be- 
lieve in its truth. 

I have n.iw upon file upwards of a score of tlie Doctor's old confidential 
letters, from which I could, if it were necessary, quote overwhelming corrobo- 
rative "testimony," written by his hand, in support of the above declarations. 
But John C. Bennett is in his grave. He was my intimate friend for more 
than twenty-five vears. He never wrote or uttered one ott'ensive word to, or 
of, me or mine, to my knowledge. He possessed first-class natural talents, 
was liberally educated, and proved himself a genial, companionable man, 
though he was a sharp competitor in the chicken fancy, and ortentimes eccen- 
tric, reckless, and erratic in his business management. But I hiwe nothing 
to offer derogatory to him ; and his memory will hereafter be no farther criti- 
cised by ill!/ pen. Were he alive to-day, he would cordially indorse what I 
have now stated — as I have the means of kiioiriiiij. And here let /liiii rest. 

If, then, this mythical "one pair of gray fowls" were not '• imp.irted," and 
there does not, and never has existed down to this day the slightest particle 
of real evidence that they ever came from India (as Jlr. Tegetmeier so dis- 
tinctly averred in 1867), what becomes of Mr. Lewis WriglU's elaborated and 
long-spun straining to prove what the originators of this foolish story first 
fabricated ? Of wdiat mortal use is all this reiterated misrepresentation — 
first or last? What has Weld gained by the " firing off of his long string 
of questions " at Cornish, except to stultitj' his own witness, when he makes 
him repeat the details of this long-ago-played-out falsity ? 


And li't luc iisk, here, Mr. "Wright, wliere 3'ou first got your '^ Dark 
Mriiliuias" from, in Great JSritaiii ? Did Mr. Cornish, Mr. Charnljor- 
lin, Mr. Plaisted, Dr. Bennett, Mr. Knox, Mr. Weld, Mr. Anybody, except 
Mr. Burnliam (whom you so wantonly vilify), ever send to England any 
])ark Dralinias, tliat you over heard of, in those years you liave written 
about so llippantly ? Can you name ani/ otlier American who sent to Eng- 
land, from 1852 to 18G1 (when the rebellion broke out in tlie United States), 
the first speeimen of " Dark Brahnja " fowls of twi?/ strain, whatever? No, 
sir! You ean not. None of these " up-the-Brahmapootra-Eiver men" have 
ever had any thing to say about the Darh Brahmas, in tlie years j'ou have 
written of so disgracefully in your two late books ? No one but you, Lewis 
Wright, lias ever undertaken to show that " Soi/i the Light and tlie Dark 
varieties maj* have been derived from the one stock," or that "it is possible 
the • Dark ' birds which came over in the ship with those recorded by 3'ou, may 
also have been Brahmas ! " 

You know very well that no one ever pretended that there was but " one 
gra}' pair, the others being red and brown," brought bj' the mythical ship into 
New York. But there was no such ship came over, as j'ou and they claim ! 
Therefore, there could have been no such " lirahmas," of anij color. And, 
least of all, any " Dark " Gray ones. This declaration of yours, at the close 
of your book on the origin of the two varieties of the Brahmas, simply exposes 
your wilful ignorance of this whole subject. I originated the Dark Brahma 
fowl in m3' own yard, at Melrose, Mass., Lewis ! You ought to know this, for 
all England and America knows it. Nobody ever claimed or pretended to take 
precedence of me, with this variety, surely. And even the Cornish-Bennett 
men have never set up any theory upon this point, regarding their stock. 
The Dark Brahma, or Dark " Gray Shanghae," is my pjatent, Mr. Wright. 
I originated it, in 1853. I never saw them till that year, but it was the re- 
sult of a studied experiment of mine; and I raised a great many of these fine 
Dark birds in the succeeding years. Look over the records, and see if you 
cat) find any ^^ Dark Brahmas" spoken of — anywhere on earth — until my 
first splemlid trio went out to John Baily of Mount Street, London, in 1853. 
And tell me too, if, suhser[uently, at any time before the war, any bodj' but 
G. P. Burnham of the United States sent to England one single specimen of 
this Dark variety, to any living man. You can't name him. Sir ! He doesn't 
exist. Nobody had that stock but myself, in all those years. 


Observe, Lewis, I am not now arguing this question. I am stating facts, 
simply. And "facts are stubborn things," you know. I make no mention 
of wliat " might have been," or what was " possible." I tell you that I origi- 
nated, upon my premises, the fowl known from the outset (in this "historj' 
you have so distorted and perverted) as the " Dark IJrahmas," in the year 
1853. And you nor no other man living can go behind, or before me, in this 
matter, as the record clearly shows. No one, save yourself, has ever ques- 
tioned this. No American breeder has ever pretended that he has ever bred 
Darh birds from the so-claimed Cornish-Chamberlin-ljennett stock. From 
my "Gray Shangliae" fowls, the Light and Dark birds (in my own way), 
I produced the Dark Brahmas (so called) which I shipped to England, and 
bred hundreds upon hundreds of, subsequently, which I sent there and all 
over this country. Your people have, since 18G4, '05, bred some fair "Dark 
Brahmas," as they call them; but never a pair that equalled mine, i\ia.i I 
have ever yet seen. 

And, notwithstanding all this truth, which you must have been cognizant 
of when you penned your two abusive volumes, you give me no credit for 
having done in this business what no man else has ever claimed to have 
done, before or after me ! Is this justice ? Is it fair? Is it generous? Is 
it honorable ? Is this kind of treatment towards a man you never saw, and 
whom 3'ou can know nothing of, pursuing a manly course of conduct " in the 
fear of God ? " It may be so, in your warpied opinion ; but / should say you 
penned these sentences with the Fiend at your elbow. 

How did I do this? No matter; I did it ! I produced a strain of dark- 
plumed birds which you, in England, never saw until I sent them there, and 
since 1858 and '59 which you have been striving to imitate ; but which you 
have not yet succeeded in repjroducing like the originals, because you have 
not gone about your experiments in the right way. There were no brown 
feathers and no "vulture hoch" in my "Dark Bralima" or Dark-Gray 
Shanghae blood ; but in all the English "Dark Brahmas" we have had 
here, this hroivn feathering and hock are found (to a greater or less extent), 
in every bird, male or female that I have examined, which has come from 
your side of the Atlantic in the past six or seven years. There is no excep- 
tion to the cropping out of this defective color in your English dark birds — 
cocks and hens alike. Therefore, I repeat it, j'ou don't breed them aright. 

BuiiNn.iM rs. wRiaiiT. 165 

Turn tn tlie Eiigllsli Park (AX-k, page 80. His monstrous tail and 
fearful liock would disqualify him at oucu inider tli(! scrutiny of an Ameri- 
can expert ! We have attended im exliiliitiou in tlio last five years where 
we have not seen scores of ])ark liralinia cocks that would heat this sam- 
ple, out and out, — supposing it to he a likcTiess; and Weir is generally 
very faithful in his delineations, as we all know. We insert the picture, 
therefore, more hy way of warning, than otherwise ; and, as in the instance 
of the large LigJif Brahma English hird, on page 121, we say emphatically, 
"none of tJicsc styles of Brahmas for us." Thejf are not ihe thing at all. 
They are an English manufactured bird, altogether. We have seen numerous 
Dark samples that hare been " imported " into America in the last half-dozen 
years, not unlike this, — with the exception of the shockingly deformed tail, 
— and we never saw one of them j'et, in the bodj'-plumage of which tve 
could not detect the brown or bay feathering (to a greater or less extent), 
wdiich comes from a cross with the Partridge or Park-Cinnamon Cochin fowl, 
while the chickens bred from these English importations, invariahbj upon 
the pullets, in fiutf, saddles, and sides, are spotted with the brown or foreign 
feathering; and the young cocks bred from such stock, almost as invariably, 
are similarly blemished in plumage upon the thighs and flaidis. The pure 
steel-gray (white and black) of my originals is lost, or thus clouded, and 
American purchasers of these costly birds wonder why it is that they cannot 
get good colored progeny from their expensive English importations ! It is 
siniplj' because they don't breed them there as they were at first bred; and 
as they can onlij be bred, in tJieir pii,ritij. In reference to which point, Lewis 
Wright, after arguing through page upon page, in his late work, in favor of 
this true color test, concludes with this vagary : " Mr. Teebay strongly dissents 
from our view, and believes there must have been another original strain (be- 
sides the so-called Cornish), to produce the dark variety." . . . But " we 
think little of this ' color ' test ! " A final annoirncement by Wright, wdiich 
will unquestionably be fully appreciated by American fanciers, who know 
that the clean, pure, Steel-gray Park Brahmas have never been bred in this 
country from any strain save my originals. ISTo American Light Brahma 
breeder to-day claims that he can produce the darlc birds from wdiat is called 
the "Cornish-Chamherlin strain," though Wright states that this has been 
done in England. I deny this, too. It has never been done, and it cant be 
done, with the light stock alone. This is simply impossible. 

166 THE CniXA FOWL. 

In continuation of what he knows about this breed, Mr. Wright says, 
" Botli Dark and Light varieties of the Bralima fowl should be i^recisclii alike, 
in size, shape, and carriage — differing only in color." And then, to prove his 
opinion that both varieties come out of one parent-stock, he adds, that "Mr. 
Joseph Plinton. whose experience goes back to the early days, informs us that 
his birds «ere originally Ligltt lU-ahmas, obtained of Dr. Gwynne. Dr. Den- 
nett, & Co. Later, he obtained a somewhat darker cock from J. K. Fowler 
(also an early breeder), from which, with his darkest of the Light liens, he 
bred a most beautiful Dark Bralima cock, and hens so deiiselj^ dark as to be 
nearly blade." Which latter statement merely repeats our own experience ; 
since Mr. J. K. Fowler's Dark bird mentioned, I am quite positive -went to 
England from m}j yard, in Melrose, and Dr. Bennett first supplied Dr. Gwynne 
and Mr. Hinton from my stock direct, I know, with the c?rt;7,'-plumed birds. 

It is clear, Mr. Wright, you can know nothing of me, except through 
some malicious busybody who may have slandered me. And I repeat it, 
I am at a loss to understand icluj j'ou should have thus villainously lam- 
pooned me. For four years, I find (since your first volume was issued) 
I have remained almost in ignorance of the existence of this libel ! I 
had onh' casually heard that " IMr. Wright was down on !Mr. Burnham in 
his Brahma Fowl,'' and never gave the matter a thought further; till, 
in the month of Slay, 1874, the subject was forced upon inj notice, by the 
publication of the long abusive extract from j'our books, inserted from an 
anonymous scribbler in a Philadelphia paper. Since tlicn. I have endeavored 
to defend myself, though I am "on the shady side of life" in years, and 
know full well that I cannot do this so vigorouslj*, perhaps, as I once couW. 
But I am an old man now! It may be, upon examining the extracts I 
have presented upon pages loS to IGl, of this volume, that you will change 
your conclusions. It may be not ! It is idle for you to assume, as you do in 
your letter to me in May, 1871, that you " did the best you could with the 
evidence upon this subject that was accessible to you,'' or that " you relied 
upon the statements of Mr. Virgil Cornish, publicly made '' prior to 1870, 
upon which your atrocious theory is based ; inasmuch as, up to the date of 
Cornish's 'personal letter to you, in 1871, you very well know that he had 
never once mentioned my name, or my fowls, in his letters published. The 
malicious animus of your rodomontade against me, thrusts itself out offen- 
sively in every page of your two hooks, prcvioushj written; when, up to that 

ncRxriAM rs. wniouT. 167 

period, you ommot find (lio .slightest ground in C'uniish's "evidence," to im- 
plicate nu', in ;iiiy wdy wliatever in this miserable husiness, of which yoic have 
at last gratuitously involved uie, or attempted to entangle me, so unrighteously. 
In all candor let me say, in the language of anotlier, that " misr('[)resenta- 
tions unwittingly made may possilily he construed as simple manslanghter ; 
but deliberate falsehood, jn'rsisted in, with the liglit of truth before us, can 
only be accounted downright murder, with malice aforethought." And if 
this axiom be inapplicable to 3'our case, I am not a judge of the course you 
have so causelessly pursued towards me, in the "Braliina Foirl, a mono- 
gi'apli," enlarged upon and extended, insufferablj', in the otherwise presenta- 
ble pages of your last quarto, the •' III astrated Book of Poultry.'" Why pile 
up the agony, as you have done, in this /((^er volume? Was your splenetic 
disposition unsatiated with the abuse you had voluntarily heaped upon my 
unoffending head in that //'r.s-^ work? Could 3'ou not be content with putting 
forth edition after edition of tliat scurrilous volume, but j'ou must fill your 
later ponderous tome with the venomous shafts of your spleen directed at 
poor me — in page after page of slanderous speculation and bosh, about 
'' Burnham this," and " Eurnham that?" 

In view of all the unjust and plainly malicious vituperation and slander 
thus concocted by j'ou, in your two recent books, backed by the far-fetched 
"testimony" furnished l^y your officious friend Weld (whom I never before 
heard of), I am forced to the conclusion that 3'ou have heaped u[i this cal- 
umny and abuse most causelessly and recklessly. Without a show of foun- 
dation for your ill-conceived and basely considered assault, you have thus 
wantonly vilified a man, wdio has for thirty years striven to the best of his 
power, assiduously and steadily to improve and advance the interests of the 
poultry fraternity ; and who has succeeded — as you cannot deny — in ac- 
complishing some small share of good in this direction, iirst and last. 

You are welcome to all the " pleasure and benefit " this " labor of love "( ?) 
on your part "has yielded you." But if, in your retired hours, you reflect 
upon the evil calumnies you have put forth thus inconsiderately, embodying 
the groundless assaults you have made upon me, therein, so totally uncalled-for 
and so unreasonably indited, under any view of the facts in the case — I 
doubt not the "still small voice" that has its home in the breast of every 
honest man whom God has furnished with ordinary powers of reason, will 
suggest to you that you liave, in this instance, committed a grievous wrong 


towards an inoffenJing fellow-man, that j'ou will not live long enough to set 
aright. " No one ought to know better tlian yourself that an uttered fal-^itj' 
is like the out of a sahre, — the wound m-Aj he:d, but the scar remains! 

Turn you, now, Lewis Wright, to the prefaee of your "Brahma Fowl," 
and read these lines, penned by you in the early editions of that work — 
which, I observe, you (or your publisliers) have expunged from the preface ot 
your third edition ! 

"We do assert that even the poultry-fancy may be carried on in the 
reverent spirit of earnest work, and tliat we know some who are really seek- 
ing in this way, not alone to amuse their leisure, but in the fear of God to 
benefit the communitj', of which they form a part. . . . We have thought it 
worth wdiile to give time, and thouglit, and labor, even to a book about 
'nothing but lira/nnas.'" (It certainly would have been nearer the truth, 
had you here stated ' a book about nothing Imt Burnham ! ') " We can truly 
say it has been a labor of love (!! ) and it has yielded to ourselves both 
pleasure and benefit in many, many ways." 

These are commendable sentiments — -though, under all the circumstances, 
to mij mental olfactories, in your case, they "smell strongly of the shop." 
Why are these sentences left out of your latest London edition, which I 
received bat a few weeks ago? Those words were about the best in your 
bcfok ! Restore them, in youi- next edition — ami leave out the heaped-up 
abuse of "Burnham," that disgraces so many pages of that volume. 

"The worm you tread on will turn to bite," in his poor way. I am not a 
worm, but I have been forced hy your malignant assaults upon me, into this 
ungracious and unjust C(uarrel ; and I leave the public to judge if I am the 
aggressor in this contest. 

At all events, in closing these pages I feel assured in my own mind that 
those who will take the trouble to examine tlie overwhelming evidence I 
have in this volume presented, touching j'our baseless theory and discourteous 
treatment of me, inyourtwo recent elabirate poultry books, will daciAn justly 
between us ; and I do not fear the judgment that will )iow be accorded by 
the intelligeirt, unbiassed reader, upon tlie question. Is Geo. P. Burnham rlglit 
in this controversy, or is Lewi.s Wright clearlj' and reprehensibly wromj? 






• !•%! h': 1 !. 


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