skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   28 January 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Jan 28. 76

My dear Gray

I have to thank you for a whole pile of things, but beyond every thing else for the reviews in the Nation & Journal of Science.1 I do not think it would be possible to have given a fuller & clearer account of all my work. Although my own book is of course well-known to me, I found your articles quite instructive, and as you may well believe very pleasant to my vanity

I was much interested by your little essay on the diversified means of the dispersal of seeds. Do you know Hildebrand’s “Verbreitung’s mittel”? It is a capital essay; and he gives a great many analogous cases, but none more striking than yours.2 Lastly many thanks for your letter with the facts about Maurandia: what would I not have given for them when I was preparing the new Edit; but it is now too late, for I do not suppose I shall ever again touch the book.3 After much doubt I have resolved to act in this way with all my books for the future; that is to correct them once and never touch them again, so as to use the small quantity of work left in me for new matter. By the way there was an article in the last Gardener’s Chronicle well worth reading on vine tendrils.4

I am now getting ready a book on the advantages of crossing, which will be a sort of complement to my orchid book, as this was devoted to the means of crossing.5 I have given you a long tirade about myself, but I have nothing else to say as I have not seen a scientific soul for a very long time. Hooker6 seems to be absorbed in all sorts of routine work, and I fancy that you suffer largely in the same way.—

Believe me my dear Gray | Yrs ever sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Pray give our very kind remembrances to Mrs. Gray. I know that she likes to hear men boasting,—it refreshes them so much. Now the tally with my wife in backgammon stands thus: she, poor creature, has won only 2490 games, whilst I have won, hurrah, hurrah,




Thanks for reviews of Insectivorous plants and of Climbing plants in Nation and American Journal Science [see 10329].

AG’s essay on seed dispersal ["Burs in the borage family", Am. Nat. 10 (1876): 1–4].

Preparing book on advantages of crossing [Cross and self-fertilisation].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University (111)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10370,” accessed on 25 January 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24