skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   5 June [1875]1

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

June 5

My Dear Sir,

I am very grateful for your letter. The dodge of making incisions is new to me & I shall try it.2

I purpose giving a lecture on “Insect-eating Plants” to our local Natural History Society on the 15th. & if it should meet with approval I shall publish it. May I dedicate it to you? Silence will give consent.3

I should be glad if Mr. Frank could find the reference to the mice at Nat. Selection illustrated by the Mouse’s tail & send it to me on a post card4

If I can ever at any time relieve you of any drudgery in correcting proof, pray let me know. My wife5 does all mine & she is the sharpest hand at it I have ever met with. She will be delighted to ease the labours of one whose writings she knows so well

I am more at liberty to pursue the tail question now, as I have just delivered my Magnum opus to the Royal Society in the hope of its leading to my admission to that sanctum, the F.R.S. being my greatest ambition. The paper is on the umbilical cord and I think that I shall yet be able to draw upon it a great illustration of evolution. It will be read on the 17th.6

Yours, faithfully, | Lawson Tait

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Mousa Tail. | Dedication | Proofs’7 pencil


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to Lawson Tait, 4 June [1875].
In his letter of 4 June [1875], CD had described how he made slits in leaves of Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap) to determine the effect of injury on transmission of the motor impulse.
Tait’s paper was delivered on 15 June 1875 (see Birmingham Daily Post, 16 June 1875, p. 5). He did not publish a paper but discussed some of his observations in a letter to Nature, 29 July 1875, pp. 251–2 (see letter to Lawson Tait, 4 June [1875] and n. 6).
See letter to Lawson Tait, 4 June [1875] and n. 4. Francis Darwin was CD’s secretary.
Sybil Anne Tait.
Tait’s paper on the anatomy of the umbilical cord was received on 28 April 1875 and presented at the meeting of the Royal Society of London on 17 June 1875 (Tait 1875b); the paper was published in full in 1876 (Tait 1876). Tait did not become a fellow of the Royal Society of London.
CD’s annotations are notes for his reply to Tait of 11 June [1875]).


May publish a lecture on insectivorous plants and would like to dedicate it to CD.

Wishes to become an F.R.S.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 8
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10011,” accessed on 22 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23