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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. H. Gilbert   24 July 1875

Harpenden, | St. Albans.

July 24 1875

Dear Sir—

In a note received a few days ago from Mr. Thiselton Dyer1 he mentions that you have expressed interest in the results obtained at Rothamsted in experiments on the mixed herbage of permanent meadow land, & he asks if I can send you any papers relating to them.2

I find from our list that we have sent you one published about 1858–9, entitled—Report of experiments with different manures on permanent meadow land, etc, in which some notice is given of the earlier observations on the changes in the flora, so to speak, of the different plots; and I believe also we sent one published in 1863, recording the results of the first more systematic botanical analysis.3 I send you however, another copy of this latter; but I may observe that the results here tabulated have been somewhat revised more recently.

We have, however, gone into the matter in much detail on three occasions, at intervals of 5 years, namely in 1862, 1867, & 1872, & thinking that a view of the results might interest you, I send for your examination, with Mr. Lawes’ concurrance, Tables embodying the whole of the results of the separations—one showing the percentage amount, by weight, of each species, & the other showing the relative predominance of certain of the more important Orders. You are quite welcome to detain them for a few weeks, after which please return them to me here. I may mention that we have a paper in progress on the results in question, & we hope it will be completed during the coming autumn or winter.4

I am, Dear Sir | Yours sincerely | J. H. Gilbert

Charles Darwin Esqre. FRS &c, &c.


Gilbert had invited CD to visit the experimental station at Rothamsted in 1869 (see Correspondence vol. 17, letter from J. H. Gilbert, 3 June [1869]).
CD’s annotated copy of Lawes and Gilbert 1859 is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. No copy of Lawes and Gilbert 1863 has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL.
Published reports of the experiments carried out at Rothamsted by Gilbert and John Bennet Lawes are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL (Lawes 1875 and 1876).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Lawes, John Bennet. 1875. Memoranda of the plan and results of the field experiments conducted on the farm of John Bennet Lawes, Esq., at Rothamsted, Herts. London: William Clowes and Sons; W. Engelmann.


Thiselton-Dyer has asked on CD’s behalf for results of experiments at Rothamsted on herbage of permanent meadow land. Sends report and tables of botanical analysis.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Henry Gilbert
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 42
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10090,” accessed on 3 February 2023,

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