To Fritz Müller 14 March 1869
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
March 14th 1869
My dear Sir
I fear that your patience will have been completely exhausted; but at last the Translation is published.1 The delay has been caused by the Translator; but he is not to blame for he had to move a large family several hundred miles & entered on his new office at the busiest time of the year, so that it was really impossible for him to do anything.2 I have this day sent off 3 copies to you by Book Post.
I do hope that you will be contented with the appearance & with the Translation. I have not read it yet, but Dallas generally translates well & was greatly interested with your work.— I have sent copies “From Author” to C. Spence Bate, Dana in U. States, your Brother H. Müller, Max Schutz of Bonn & Oscar Schmidt at Gratz.—3 I am ashamed to say that I cannot find your instructions about the presentation copies, though they are somewhere safe, so I wrote to your brother & he suggested the two last names.— If you will write I will send copies to anyone else & of course more to yourself. I have sent copies to 7 of such reviews, as generally treat of Scientific works.—4
My publisher5 can form no idea whether the book will sell, but fears it is too purely scientific for England. There will be 1000 copies printed.
I received some time ago a very interesting letter from you with many facts about Oxalis, & about the non-seeding & spreading of one species.—6 I may mention that our common O. acetosella varies much in length of pistils & stamens, so that I at first though it was certainly dimorphic, but proved it by experiment not to be so.—7 Borreria has after all seeded well with me when crossed by opposite form, but very sparingly when self-fertilised.8 Your case of Faramea astonishes me.— Are you sure there is no mistake— the difference in size of flower & wonderful difference in size & structure of pollen-grains naturally makes one rather sceptical.9 I never fail to admire & to be surprised at the number of points to which you attend.
I go on slowly at my next book & though I never am idle, I make but slow progress, for I am often interrupted by being unwell & my subject of sexual selection has grown into a very large one. I have, also, had to correct a new Edit. of my “Origin”, & this has taken me six week, for science progresses at Rail-road speed.10 I cannot tell you how rejoiced I am that your Book is at last out; for whether it sells largely or not, I am certain it will produce a great effect on all capable judges, though these are few in number.
Believe me | Yours sincerely & cordially | Ch. Darwin
P.S. I have just received your letter of Jan. 12th.— I am greatly interested by what you say on Escholzia— I wish your plant had succeeded better. It seems pretty clear that the species is much more self-sterile under the climate of Brazil than here, & this seems to me important result.—11 I have no spare seeds at present, but will send for some from nurseryman, which though not so good for our purpose will be worth trying. I can send some of my own in autumn You could simply cover up separately 2 or 3 single plants, & see if they will seed without aid,—mine did abundantly.—
Very many thanks for seeds of Oxalis;12 how I wish I had more strength & time to carry on these experiments, but when I write in morning; I have hardly heart to do anything in the afternoon. Your grass is most wonderful.— You ought to send account to Bot. Zeitung.13 Cd. you not ascertain whether the bracts are sensitive, & how soon they become apical in the bud?— —
Your Bird is, I have no doubt the Molothrus, mentioned in my Journal of Travels p. 52, as representing a N. American species, but with Cuckoo-like Habits.—14
I knew that seeds from same spike transmitted to a certain extent their proper qualities; but as far as I know no one has hitherto shown how far this holds good; & the fact is very interesting. The experiment wd be well worth trying with flowers bearing different numbers of petals.— Your explanation agrees beautifully with the hypothesis of Pangenesis, & delights me—15 If you try other cases, do draw up a paper on subject of inheritance of separate flowers for Bot. Zeitung or some Journal.— Most men, as far as my experience goes, are too ready to publish; but you seem to enjoy making most interesting observations & discoveries & are sadly too slow in publishing.— Your case of the grass seems so wonderful, that I am sure Dr. Hooker will much like to read it & I will send it off at once.—16
With sincere admiration | Yours very truly | C. Darwin
P.S. I have sent one copy to Mr Wallace,17 as I am sure he wd enjoy the work & cannot afford to buy many Books
P.S. I have just received following statement from Mr Murray
£ s d
Printing 32. 0. 0
Translation & Stereotypes) 21
125. 0. 0
Produce of 1000 copies at 6d each
Commission for Mr. Murray 20
Profit 47 ( less, copies for Presentation, Reviews & Public Libraries as by Law)
(I am vexed to see that on Title my name is more conspicuous than yours, which I especially objected to & cautioned Printers, after seeing one Proof.—)
I see that the seed that the nurseryman has sent me is that of Escholzia crocea.— Perhaps my observations & yours have been made on distinct species!!!!18
Translation of Für Darwin has been published [Facts and arguments for Darwin (1869)].
Discusses dimorphic plants, commenting on FM’s observations on Oxalis.
Is greatly interested in Eschscholzia, which seems somewhat more self-sterile in Brazil than in England.
Thinks FM’s grass is "most wonderful".
- Letter no.
- Darwin, C. R.
- Müller, J. F. T.
- Sent from
- Source of text
- British Library (Loan 10:27) (by kind permission of English Heritage)
- Physical description
- 10pp †
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6662,” accessed on 26 April 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6662