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Letter 3646

Darwin, C. R. to Watson, H. C.

8 July [1862?]

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    Asks HCW's help with his experiments on Lythrum salicaria, for which he needs flowers of the rare Lythrum hyssopifolia.


Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

July 8th

My dear Mr Watson

You are accustomed to me applying to you when in want. And now I am in great want. I am trying a most laborious series of experiments on Lythrum salicaria, & I think if the result can be proved, which I fully expect to be the case, you will think that your aid will be worth bestowing.

what I want intensely is a few fresh flowers of the rare Lythrum hyssopifolia. Vaucher says it presents two forms like Primula, & these would be invaluable to me; why they would be so is too long a story for a note. Can you give me address (& allow me to use your name) to some one or two Botanists, who may live anywhere near this plant, & who would aid me.— If too late for fresh plants, perhaps I could then get seed.— If you can, will you aid me?—

I have had a sick House for last 8 weeks, with one of my poor Boys terribly ill, whom we must take to sea-side next week. All this has cut up my work in a cruel degree.— How is your poor patient, whom you mentioned a year or so ago: you spoke then as if there was little hope. For five years we have never been a whole month without some anxiety. It is a weary world.—

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

    Footnotes Add

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    f1 3646.f1
    The date given by CD has been changed on the basis of Watson's endorsement and CD's reference to Leonard Darwin's having been ill for `8 weeks' (see nn. 5 and 7, below).
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    f2 3646.f2
    For CD's experiments on Lythrum salicaria, see, for example, the letter to Daniel Oliver, 29 [July 1862] and n. 6.
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    f3 3646.f3
    Vaucher 1841, 2: 371.
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    f4 3646.f4
    No letter from Watson on this subject has been found; however, in `Three forms of Lythrum salicaria', p. 190, CD thanked Watson for having provided him with dried specimens of L. hyssopifolia (Collected papers 2: 124).
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    f5 3646.f5
    CD refers to Leonard Darwin, who had been ill with scarlet fever since mid-June (see letter to W. E. Darwin, 13 [June 1862]).
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    f6 3646.f6
    This individual has not been identified.
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    f7 3646.f7
    Watson wrote `Augt' over `July'; he also wrote `Augt.' above CD's date.
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