To John Scott 31 May 1
I am unwell & must write briefly.—
I am very much obliged for the Courant.—2 The facts will be of highest use to me: I feel convinced that your paper will have permanent value.—3 Your case seems excellently & carefully worked out.— I agree that alteration of Title was unfortunate; but after all title does not signify very much.—4 So few have attended to such points, that I do not expect any criticisms: but if so, I shd. think you had much better reply; but I would if you wished it much.— I quite understand about the cases being individual sterility; so Gärtner states it was with him.—5
Would it be worth while to send a corrected copy of Courant to Gard. Chron.?6 I did not know that you had tried Lobelia fulgens: can you give me any particulars, on number of plants & kinds used &c that I may quote, as in few days I shall be writing on this whole subject.—7 No one will ever convince me that it is not a very important subject to Philosophical naturalists. The Hibiscus seems very curious case & I agree with your remarks.—8
You say you are glad of criticisms9 (by the way avoid “former & latter,” the reader is always forced to go back to look): I think you would have made case more striking if you had first showed that pollen of O. sphacelatum was good; secondly that ovules were capable of fertilisation, & lastly shown that the plant was impotent with own pollen.— “impotence of organs capable of elimination”—capable here strictly refers to organs, you mean to impotence— To eliminate impotence is a curious expression. it is removing a non-existence quality.— But style is a trifle compared with facts, & you are capable of writing well. I find it a good rule to imagine that I want to explain the case in as few & simple words as possible to one who knows nothing of subject.— I am tired— In my opinion you are an excellent observer.—
Yours very faithfully | C. Darwin
Thanks JS for abstract of orchid sterility paper from Edinburgh Courant. His case of individual sterility will be of highest use to CD. Criticises JS’s writing. Points out weaknesses in the organisation of his argument and the use of inflated, imprecise language.