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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   16 November [1875]1

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

Novr. 16

My Dear Sir,

Let me acknowledge your reference, with thanks for your thoughtfulness2

I have had some correspondence with Prof Blackie & asked him about my new substance. He made some ingenious suggestions, but the results were awkward and I prefer “Azerin” to any other word I can coin.3

There is no doubt that this substance will be found in many places now that we know of its existence.

It is very curious. A temp of 212o does not interfere with its properties, but alcohol does. It dries into a straw coloured substance, transparent, but as soon as you remove heat & allow the access of air it absorbs very many times its bulk of water—probably over 30 or 40 times its bulk.

Please do not answer this.

Yours faithfully, | Lawson Tait.

Winter has put a stop to my enquiries in many directions when I think there is much to be done.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Lawson Tait, 6 November [1875].
CD’s letter has not been found.
John Stuart Blackie was professor of Greek at Edinburgh University. Tait wanted to name a substance that he believed he had isolated in the digestive fluid of insectivorous plants (see letter from Lawson Tait, 6 November [1875]).


Has extracted a highly deliquescent substance from digestive secretion of insectivorous plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 23
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10262,” accessed on 12 June 2021,

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