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Letter 2796

Cattell, John to Darwin, C. R.

12 May 1860

    Summary Add

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    Cannot provide plants CD requested.

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    Has sowed several kinds of lettuce seed near each other and has never observed them to cross naturally [see Cross and self-fertilisation, p. 173 n.].



May 12th/60

Dear Sir,

Pray receive my best thanks for your very kind and sympathysing letter—

I much regret I cannot do more for you in the articles you write about.

Auriculas of the named kinds I am not a grower of, I had in the autumn a nice batch of seedlings but they are nearly all killed    My Linum flavum are destroyed, and out of something like a hundred thousand Lettuce plants I have none to send you, the few I have done up are seedlings    they will produce seed should we have a fine autumn.

Apples all gone.

I think there is a place on our Chart (Common) where I could get a good bunch of Common Polyanthus flowers, should they be of any service to you    I shall have much pleasure in getting them, or anything else at any time that I can send you for your observation I shall be happy in doing so, Please to allow me to remark that we are in the habit of saving several kinds of Lettuce Seeds near at hand but have never observed that they cross naturally

I am | Dear Sir | Yours obedly | John Cattell

C. Darwin Esq

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 2796.f1
    CD's letter has not been found. Cattell was a nurseryman and seedsman in Westerham, Kent.
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    f2 2796.f2
    Westerham Chart is a large area of common land adjacent to Westerham.
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    f3 2796.f3
    CD was investigating the natural crossing of different varieties of garden plants and vegetables grown in close proximity. See also letters to M. T. Masters, 7 April [1860] and 13 April [1860], and letter from William Masters, 8 May 1860.
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    f4 2796.f4
    CD's note is in DAR 77: 172b. It refers to an experiment he carried out at Down and recorded in his Experimental book, p. 8 (DAR 157a).
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