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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Federico Delpino   22 November 1871

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov 22 1871

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your very kind note & for the three copies of your Essays; one of which I have sent to the Linnean Soc., & one to the Editor of “Nature”, as this is the most likely periodical to review it.1 Unfortunately very few of our scientific men read Italian, & as you know, this is my case; but I will ask my wife to translate some portions, as I am sure the whole wd interest me greatly.2 If you have a spare copy I wd suggest your sending one to “G. Bentham Esq F.R.S 25 Wilton Place London,” as he knows Italian, & is interested in such researches as yours.3

My health has been very poor all this summer, & I doubt whether I shall ever have strength to publish on Variability under a State of Nature.4 Next summer or autumn I hope to publish a long Essay, the result of 5 or 6 years work, on the comparative growth, vigour & fertility of crossed & self-fertilised plants during several successive generations.5 I hope & expect that these results will interest you, & a very few others, for they will have no interest for the general public.—

I have been very glad to notice that the knowledge of your excellent researches is spreading in Germany & in N. America.6

With sincere respect | I remain my dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Ch. Darwin

Pray oblige me by sending me your Photograph, & I enclose one of my own in case you wd. like to possess it.


See letter from Federico Delpino, 15 November 1871 and n. 2. CD had received copies of Delpino 1871, a paper on the Artemisiaceae. The paper was not reviewed in Nature.
CD’s heavily annotated copy of Delpino’s paper contains translations of a number of words and expressions in Emma Darwin’s hand. CD cited Delpino 1871 in Cross and self fertilisation, pp. 400, 408.
CD had told George Bentham about Delpino’s work on crossing in 1868 (see Correspondence vol. 16, letter to George Bentham, 22 April 1868, and letter to George Bentham, 1 May [1868]). Bentham discussed Delpino’s classification of the Artemisiaceae in ‘Notes on the classification, history and geographical distribution of compositae’ (Bentham 1873, pp. 342–3).
Cross and self fertilisation was published in 1876.
Reviews of Delpino’s work on dichogamy had recently been published in Botanische Zeitung (see Hildebrand 1870 and Ascherson 1871). CD’s annotated copies of these reviews are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL; no notices of Delpino’s work in North America have been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.


Ascherson, Paul. 1871. Federico Delpino’s Eintheilung der Pflanzen nach dem Mechanismus der dichogamischen Befruchtung und Bemerkungen über die Befruchtungs-Vorgänge bei Wasserpflanzen. Botanische Zeitung 29: 443–5, 447–59, 463–7.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 26 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.


Will send FD’s work [Studi sopra un lignaggio anemofilo delle composte (1871)] to Nature for review.

CD’s health has been poor all summer – he doubts that he will ever "have the strength to publish on Variability under a state of Nature".

Hopes to publish on cross- and self-fertilisation next summer.

Encloses his photo and asks for FD’s.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Federico Delpino
Sent from
Source of text
Anna Barone (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8082,” accessed on 27 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19