Sends sheets of first volume of Variation.
Transport of seeds in locust dung.
Pangenesis will be called "a mad dream".
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Gray
I send by this post clean sheets of Vol. 1. up to p. 336, & there are only 411 pages in this vol. I am very glad to hear that you are going to review my book; but if the Nation is a newspaper I wish it were at the bottom of the sea, for I fear that you will thus be stopped reviewing me in a scientific journal. The first Vol. is all details, & you will not be able to read it; & you must remember that the Chapters on plants are written for naturalists who are not botanists. The last Chap. in Vol. 1 is, however, I think a curious compilation of facts; it is on bud-variation. In Vol. 2 some of the Chaps are more interesting; & I shall be very curious to hear your verdict on the Chap. on close inter-breeding. The Chap. on what I call Pangenesis will be called a mad dream, & I shall be pretty well satisfied if you think it a dream worth publishing; but at the bottom of my own mind I think it contains a great truth. I finish my book with a semi-theological paragraph, in which I quote & differ from you; what you will think of it I know not.
Many thanks for a 2
I have done nothing worth mentioning this summer, as all my time has been consumed in
correcting horrid proof sheets. I may mention one little fact which may possibly
interest you. A man in Natal sent me a little packet by post of the dung of locusts with
the statement that it was believed that locusts brought new plants to the districts
which they visited. Six Grasses, belonging to at least two
species have germinated out of the dung, & the seeds were fairly enclosed in the
little pellets, as I ascertained by dissection. This verifies what I said in the Origin,
that many new methods of transport w
The rest of the sheets which have all been corrected will be printed off by
the middle of Nov
My dear Gray | yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin
- f1 5649.f1The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Asa Gray, [after 17 September 1867].
- f2 5649.f2CD refers to proof-sheets of Variation.
- f3 5649.f3Gray told CD that he planned to write a review of Variation for the Nation, a weekly newspaper (see letter from Asa Gray, [after 17 September 1867] and n. 2). The Nation was intended to discuss the political and economic issues of the day `with greater accuracy and moderation' than were found in the daily newspapers, and to print `sound and impartial criticisms' of books and works of art (ANB).
- f4 5649.f4CD refers to chapter 17 of Variation, `On the good effects of crossing, and on the evil effects of close interbreeding' (Variation 2: 114--44).
- f5 5649.f5See Variation 2: 357--404. For Gray's reaction to pangenesis, see [Gray] 1868 and Dupree 1959, pp. 356--7.
- f6 5649.f6For CD's concluding paragraph, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 February , n. 7.
- f7 5649.f7See letter from Asa Gray to J. D. Hooker, [after 6 July 1867]. Gray enclosed a letter from William Marriott Canby describing his experiments with Dionaea (Venus fly-trap). CD thanked Gray for Canby's letter in a letter of 8 August . Evidently, Gray sent further observations, but no additional letter has been found.
- f8 5649.f8James Philip Mansel Weale had sent CD a packet of locust dung with his letter of 7 July 1867. In his reply to Weale, CD had been doubtful of finding any seeds (see letter to J. P. M. Weale, 27 August ).
- f9 5649.f9See Origin, p. 363. CD reported the results of his experiments in Origin 5th ed., p. 439.
- f10 5649.f10The 19 March 1868 issue of the Nation, in which Gray's review appeared, has not been found in the Darwin Archive--CUL.