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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. V. Carus   [early October 1876]1


My dear Sir

I write in haste just to say that to the title on the first page is to be added “in the vegetable kingdom”; & this answers your question.2

As far as I can guess the Orchid book will be 20 or 30 pages longer than the old edit. If I hear from the printers how large they estimate the new edit will be, I will inform you.3

I send by this post 3 new sheets of the “Crossing” Book.

I am extremely glad to hear a some what improved account of your health

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S. On my return home I will send Photo. with pleasure; but this will not be for 3 weeks.4


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. V. Carus, 27 September 1876, and by the reference to CD’s return to Down in three weeks’ time (see n. 4, below).
Carus was translating Cross and self fertilisation into German (Carus trans. 1877d). The full title of the book was The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. The letter from Carus requesting the title has not been found.
The printers of Orchids 2d ed. were William Clowes & Sons. The book was set in smaller type than Orchids, and was 65 pages shorter (Freeman 1977). The German translation of Orchids 2d ed. was Carus trans. 1877c.
CD left Down on 4 October to visit his sister, Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, and her family at Leith Hill Place, Surrey, and then his son William Erasmus Darwin in Southampton; he returned to Down on 20 October (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)).


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Orchids 2d ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. London: John Murray. 1877.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Tells JVC that to the title on the first page [of Cross and self-fertilisation] is to be added "in the vegetable kingdom".

Guesses that Orchids [2d ed.] will be 20 or 30 pages longer than the old edition.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Julius Victor Carus
Sent from
Source of text
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Slg. Darmstaedter Lc 1859: Darwin, Charles, Bl. 66–67)
Physical description
LS(A) 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10627,” accessed on 25 July 2024,

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