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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. W. Crocker   22 April 1862

South St.   Chichester

April 22nd. 62

Dear Sir

I fear you will have thought me neglectful ere this—but I have been in sad grief and trouble lately. There has been nothing but illness and death in our family for the last six months.1 I hardly expect my poor Mother to get through the night— It is impossible she can last long.2 With so many troubles and anxieties one’s thoughts are seldom free.—

After receiving your first note with regard to Prim: sin: I went to all the gardens in our neighbourhood. But it was then too late.3 Where ten or twelve dozen plants are grown annually I could only find four or five exhausted plants—almost bloomed to death and not fair specimens to judge by. That there are three forms I am quite certain. I took notes of the numbers but as no garden furnished more than 2 or 3 good i.e. healthy plants I dont think it is any use.4

My own little garden has been terribly neglected of late, for as every hour during the last fortnight, might have been my Mother’s last I hardly like to leave the house. And my garden is some little distance away. However brighter times must surely come at last, and I try to look forward hopefully to the time when this tide of trouble which has has been running in so long will once more ebb

Yours very respectfully | C. W. Crocker

C. Darwin Esq.


Crocker’s father, the poet and former shoemaker, Charles Crocker, died on 6 October 1861. See DNB and Journal of Horticulture n.s. 14 (1868): 206–7.
Crocker’s mother, Mrs Charles Crocker, died on 27 April 1862 (see letter from C. W. Crocker, 17 May 1862).
CD’s letter about Primula sinensis has not been found, but, regarding Crocker’s willingness to carry out experiments or observations for CD, see the letters from C. W. Crocker, 17 February 1862 and [before 13 March 1862]. P. sinensis, the Chinese primrose, flowers in England in the winter and early spring (EB).
CD had been carrying out crossing experiments on P. sinensis, which he had hitherto considered dimorphic, since the end of January. In the course of his experiments he had come across what he believed to be an ‘equal-styled’ form of the flower, in addition to the familiar long- and short-styled forms, and he had examined plants in a number of collections in order to establish the prevalence or otherwise of this third form (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 7 March [1862] and n. 10). There is a note recording Crocker’s observation in DAR 108: 64. See also letter from C. W. Crocker, 17 May 1862 and n. 6.


DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

EB: The Encyclopædia Britannica. A dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 11th edition. 29 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1910–11.


Certain there are three forms of Primula sinensis.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles William Crocker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161.2: 257
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3514,” accessed on 24 October 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10