To Thomas Rivers 11 January 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Sir
How rich & valuable a letter you have most kindly sent me.2 The case of Baronne Prevost with its different shoots, foliage, spines & flowers will be grand to quote.3 I am extremely glad to hear about the seedling moss-roses.4 That case of seedling like Scotch Rose, unless you are sure that no Scotch rose grew near (& it is unlikely that you can remember) must, one would think, have been a cross.—
I have little compunction for being so troublesome,—not more than a grand Inquisitor has in torturing a Heretic—for am I not doing a real good public service in screwing crumbs of knowledge out of your wealth of information?
Believe me | Yours cordially obliged | Ch. Darwin
P.S. Since the above was written I have read your paper in G. Chron:5 it is admirable & will, I know, be a treasure to me: I did not at all know how strictly the character of so many plums is inherited.6
On my honour when I began this note I had no thought of troubling you with a question, but you mention one point so interesting & which I have had occasion to notice that I must supplicate for a few more facts to quote on your authority. You say that you have one or two seedling peaches approaching very nearly to thick-fleshed Almonds.7 (I know about A. Knight & the Italian Hybrid cases.)8 Now did any Almond grow near your mother Peach? But especially I want to know whether you remember what shape the stone was, whether flattened like that of an almond; this Botanically seems the most important distinction. I earnestly wish to quote this.—9 Was the flesh at all sweet? Forgive if you can.—
Have you kept these seedling Peaches; if you would give me next summer a fruit, I would have it engraved.10
P.S. 2d. | I know that I am quite unreasonable; but I cannot resist asking one other question, for the chance of information as a guide for experiment. The varieties of most plants, if grown close to other varieties, yield seed which does not come all true; but shows the influence of a cross.— Have you ever observed any varieties of any plants (except papilionaceous plants) which can safely be grown close to other varieties for several generations, & yet are not affected by crossing?—11
Thanks for "rich and valuable" letter [missing].
Has read TR’s paper in Gardeners’ Chronicle ["Seedling fruits – plums", (1863): 27] – "a treasure to me".
Questions about seedling peaches that approach almonds.
Asks whether TR has ever observed varieties of plants growing close to other varieties for several generations without being affected by crossing.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3910,” accessed on 28 July 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3910