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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   27 May 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

May 27/76

My dear Father

The Salvia hasn’t come yet, but I have told Lettington about it.1 My cold took to make me pretty feverish on Thursday so that I couldn’t do any work then or on Friday but I am nearly all square only a little “weak i’the legs” as Jemmy2 says. I will look for the Orchids tomorrow, & the Bulls Horn shall go off on Monday or Tuesday.3 Many thanks for Wiesner’s book   it looks just what I want, & he has worked at wood I know—4

I’m afraid this rain is bad for you all.

Give my love to poor old William & every body—5 | Yrs affec | F Darwin

I didn’t sign my Xtian name as I said I always did, because I meant to write only F.D & then changed my so called mind

I was very sorry to miss the physiolog dinner6


The Salvia may have been the one sent by David Julius Wetterhan; CD was concerned that it be planted as soon as it arrived (letter to D. J. Wetterhan, 25 May [1876]). Henry Lettington was the gardener at Down House. Salvia is the genus of sage.
In February 1876, CD had been lent a bull-horn acacia (Acacia cornigera) from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 18 February 1876); Francis returned the plant to Kew by Wednesday 31 May (see letter from Francis Darwin, [31 May 1876]).
Julius Wiesner had been professor of plant physiology at the Forestry Institute of Mariabrunn from 1870 to 1873; he published his microscopic researches on wood and other economically valuable plant materials in Die Rohstoffe des Pflanzenreiches (Wiesner 1873).
CD and Emma Darwin visited Hopedene, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey, home of Hensleigh Wedgwood, from 24 May to 7 June 1876 (‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). They were joined by William Erasmus Darwin, who had been seriously injured in a horse-riding accident on 10 May (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242); letter to W. D. Fox, 26 May [1876]).
The Physiological Society was formed in March 1876 by John Scott Burdon Sanderson, who invited nineteen men of science, including Francis Darwin, to discuss how best to respond to the impending legislation on animal experimentation; the dinner at the Criterion Restaurant in London on Friday 26 May 1876 marked the first annual meeting of the society (Sharpey-Schafer 1927, pp. 5–8, 13, 15). Although Francis missed the dinner, his name appears in the minutes of this meeting as having attended; evidently he went to the meeting but not the dinner, as was permitted by the society (ibid., pp. 10, 14).


Sharpey-Schafer, Edward Albert. 1927. History of the Physiological Society during its first fifty years, 1876–1926. London: Cambridge University Press.

Wiesner, Julius. 1873. Die Rohstoffe des Pflanzenreiches: Versuch einer technischen Rohstofflehre des Pflanzenreiches. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.


Has had a cold. Salvia hasn't come yet. Will look for orchids tomorrow. Will send off bull's-horn acacia on Monday or Tuesday.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 25

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10515G,” accessed on 20 April 2024,

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