To T. H. Farrer 15 September 1
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
My dear Mr Farrer
I grieve to say that the main features of your case are known. I am the sinner & described them some 10 years ago.2 But I over looked many details, as appendage to single stamen, & several other points.3 I send my notes, but I must beg for their return, as I have no other copy.—4 I quite agree the facts are most striking, especially as you put them.— Are you sure that the Hive-Bee is the cutter: it is against my experience.— If sure, make the point more prominent or if not sure erase it.—5 I do not think that the subject is quite new enough for Linn. Socy.; but I daresay the Annals & Mag. of Nat. History or Gardeners’ Chronicle would gladly publish your observations, & it is a great pity they shd. be lost.6 If you like I wd send your paper to either quarter with a note. In this case you must give title & your name, & perhaps it wd be well to premise your remarks with a line of reference to my papers stating that you had observed independently & more fully.—7
I have read my own papers over after an interval of several years, & am amused at the caution at which I put the case that the final end was for crossing distinct individuals, of which I was then as fully convinced as now, but knew that the doctrine would shock all botanists. Now the opinion is becoming familiar.—
To see penetration of pollen-tubes is not difficult, but in most cases requires some practice with dissecting under a th of inch focal distance single lens; & just at first this will seem to you extremely difficult.8
What a capital observer you are—a first rate naturalist has been sacrificed or partly sacrificed to Public life.—9
Believe me, Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin
P.S. If you come across any large Salvia, look at it—the contrivance is admirable.
It went to my heart to tell a man who came here a few weeks ago with splendid drawings & M.S. on Salvia, that the work had been all done in Germany.—10
Comments on THF’s MS [on fertilisation of scarlet runners]. Suggests publication, though CD anticipated main features ten years before. Is amused at the caution with which THF put his case that the final end [of the contrivances] was crossing distinct individuals.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6365,” accessed on 29 March 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6365