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Letter NEWHM:1996.H67.1210

John Hancock to Henry C St John (13 October 1877)

Manuscript draft of a letter to St John. The crate with the large Japanese crab has arrived, delivered directly to Hancock’s home and the legs are in pieces which he will have to rejoin. Hancock intends to visit Lord Ravensworth who has procured some live specimens of The Western Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, for his estate




Copy to Capt. H. C. St. John [Hancock’s hand]

Newcastle on Tyne

Saturday 13th Oct. 1877


Dear St. John,


The Monster Crab was delivered at St. Mary’s Terrace a few days ago, and I have never had time to open the Package out until this morning, being the only day I have not had an hour to spare as I have [2 words illeg.] at home for several weeks –  It appears all [p.2.] right but it will be a queer job (I think) to fit it all the joints in their proper places, but it must be done and I shall endeavour have to undertake the job and it I be intend to set to work with it done immediately –


I am going from home today on a visit to Earl Ravensworth to see some live [p.3.] Capercailzies running in his Lordships grounds quite tame — This is at his seat at Eslington — about 25 miles to the North of us — When I get back the crate shall receive my first attention.

I am very much obliged for your long letter, I always like to hear from you — I have nothing to bring me to London at present or I should have liked much to have seen some [p.4.] of your gatherings by dredging & the other subjects –

I assure you if all goes is well with us when the time arrives for our ferry “cruise” to the Orkneys I shall be ready [repeated be ready] for the trip –

The name of the Crab is Inachus Kaempferi


I have placed all the Japan birds in the drawer of themselves I have named some but intend to get at them soon again –




1.  Eslington Park is a privately owned 18th-century mansion house west of Whittingham, Northumberland, near the River Aln. It is the family seat of Lord Ravensworth.

Capercailzies is the Scottish spelling of the western Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, also known as the wood grouse.

2. Bird specimens sent to Hancock from St John’s sea voyage to Japan.