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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Librarian   27 October [1846 or 1848?]1


Oct. 27th

Dear Sir

I will send by Carrier, (or bring myself) on Thursday morning, the Books in hand, & shd. be obliged for vol. of Phil. Trans. for 1799, the Part with paper by A. Knight on Fecundation of Plants.2 Also a great work descriptive of animals in Ld. Derby’s menagerie.—3

Yours faithfully | C. Darwin


The conjectured date is based on the publication of J. E. Gray 1846 (see n. 3, below) and on the assumption that CD would not need to borrow early volumes of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society after 1848 since he inherited his father’s set. There is, however, no record of exactly when the volumes were moved from Shrewsbury to Down. This letter could not have been written in 1847 because CD was in Shrewsbury on this date in that year.
Knight 1799. This and other works by Thomas Andrew Knight were frequently cited by CD in Natural selection, Origin, Variation, and his botanical works.
J. E. Gray 1846. Cited in Natural selection and Variation. If the conjectured date is wrong then J. E. Gray 1850 may be the work referred to. Edward Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby, had formed a menagerie at Knowsley Hall, Lancashire.


Gray, John Edward. 1846. Gleanings from the menagerie and aviary at Knowsley Hall. Knowsley: [privately printed].

Knight, Thomas Andrew. 1799. An account of some experiments on the fecundation of vegetables. [Read 9 May 1799.] Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 89: 195– 204.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Orders Andrew Knight’s paper ["An account of some experiments on the fecundation of vegetables", Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. (1799): 195–204] and J. E. Gray’s book [Gleanings from the menagerie and aviary at Knowsley Hall (1846)].

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1013,” accessed on 20 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3