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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Alphonse de Candolle   2 November [1872]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov. 2d

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your great kindness in having sent me your “Histoire des Sciences &c”.2 From what I see of the contents I look forward with real eagerness to read it; but I shall not be able to begin for a week or two. I have just published a small book on Expression, which I did not suppose you would care to see; but from the nature of your recent studies, parts may possibly interest you, so I have told my Publisher to send you a copy.3

My health keeps very weak & I dread the exertion of grappling with the fearful subject of variation; so I am now employed in working up some observations in Botanical physiology made twelve years ago, which I intend publishing with some other new matter & some of my old papers on Climbing Plants, Dimorphism &c in a volume.—4

With cordial thanks & sincere respect, Pray | believe me | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


The year is established by the reference to Expression, which was published in November 1872 (Freeman 1977).
CD refers to A. de Candolle 1873; there is an annotated copy in the Darwin Library–CUL (see Marginalia 1: 153).
Candolle’s name appears on CD’s presentation list for Expression (see Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix V). CD’s publisher was John Murray.
In the introduction to Variation, CD had written that he planned future works on variation in nature and on the difficulties opposed to the theory of natural selection. His next book, after Descent and Expression, was Insectivorous plants. CD had begun work on the insectivorous genera Drosera and Dionaea in 1860 (see Correspondence vol. 8). CD’s papers ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’, ‘Two forms in species of Linum’, ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’, ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, and ‘Specific difference in Primula’, were republished with corrections in Forms of flowers. A second edition of Climbing plants was published in 1875.


Thanks for AdeC’s Histoire des sciences [1873].

Sends a copy of Expression.

His health keeps him weak; he dreads grappling with the fearful subject of variation [in nature]

so he is working up some observations in botanical physiology to publish with his old papers on climbing plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alphonse de Candolle
Sent from
Source of text
Archives de la famille de Candolle (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8593,” accessed on 17 July 2019,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20