skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Librarian, Royal Society of London   27 October [1856]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 year is established by an entry in the Royal Society Library lending register: CD borrowed Philosophical Transactions on 30 Oct 1856, and both volumes of Gleanings (J. E. Gray 1846 and J. E. Gray 1850a later in November. (Felicity Henderson, pers. comm.). This letter was originally published in vol. 3 of the Correspondence with the conjectured date 27 Oct [1846 or 1848?].
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. 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].

Gray, John Edward. 1850a. Gleanings from the menagerie and aviary at Knowsley Hall. Hoofed quadrupeds. 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 30 September 2023,

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