To Asa Gray 15 March 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Gray
Thanks for the newspapers (though they did contain digs at England) & for your note of Feb. 18th—2 It is really almost a pleasure to receive stabs from so smooth, polished & sharp a dagger as your pen.— I heartily wish I could sympathise more fully with you, instead of merely hating the South. We cannot enter into your feelings; if Scotland were to rebel, I presume we should be very wrath, but I do not think we should care a penny what other nations thought. The Millenium must come before nations love each other; but try & do not hate me. Think of me, if you will, as a poor blinded fool. I fear the dreadful state of affairs must dull your interest in Science.—
Two days ago, I heard from Trübner, who says of the 250 copies of your Pamphet, he has only 38 in hand; so that he will, I suppose, soon transmit to you a few pounds, enough to cover all your expences.3 I believe that your pamphlet has done my book great good; & I thank you from my heart for myself; & believing that the views are in large part true, I must think that you have done natural science a good turn. Natural Selection seems to be making a little progress in England & on the Continent; a new German Edition is called for & a French one has just appeared.4 There has even been a Dutch Edition!5 One of the best men, though at present unknown, who has taken up these views, is Mr Bates;6 pray read his Travels in Amazonia, when they appear;7 they will be very good, judging from M.S. of two first chapters.8
I wrote some little time ago about Rhexia:9 since then I have been carefully watching & experimenting on another genus, Monochætum; & I find, that the pistil is first bent rectangularly, (as in the sketch sent)10 & then in a few days becomes straight; the stamens also move. If there be not two forms of Rhexia, will you compare the position of the part in young & old flowers. I have suspicion (perhaps will be proved wrong when seed-capsules are ripe) that one set of anthers are adapted to pistil in early state, & the other set for it in its later state.— If Bees visit the Rhexia, for Heavens sake watch exactly how the anthers & stigma strike them, both in old & young flowers … & give me a sketch.—
I have got lots of seeds planted for experiment this summer, including Amsinckia spectabilis!11
Again I say, do not hate me.
Ever yours most truly | C. Darwin
Gives some observations on changes in pistil position with age in Monochaetum. Asks whether AG can observe Rhexia for similar movements.
"One of the best men, though at present unknown", H. W. Bates, has taken up natural selection.