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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Asa Gray   28 October 1876

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Oct. 28th. 76

My dear Gray

I send by this post all the clean sheets as yet printed & I hope to send the remainder within a fortnight.1 Please observe that the 6 first chapters are not readable, & the 6 last very dull. Still I believe that the results are valuable. If you review the book, I shall be very curious to see what you think of it, for I care more for your judgment than for that of almost anyone else.2

I know also that you will speak the truth, whether you approve or disapprove.

Very few will take the trouble to read the book, & I do not expect you to read the whole, but I hope you will read the latter chapters.— Messrs. Appleton will bring it out in America, & my Orchid book, which I am now correcting the sheets of, as it has been almost remodelled.—3

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I am so sick of correcting the press & licking my horrid bad style into intelligible English.—


Gray had requested copies of the proof-sheets of Cross and self fertilisation (see letter from Asa Gray, 12 October 1876).
Gray’s review appeared in the American Journal of Science 3d ser. 13 (1877): 125–41.


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

Cross and self fertilisation US ed.: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1877.

Orchids 2d US ed.: The various contrivances by which orchids are fertilised by insects. By Charles Darwin. 2d edition, revised. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 1877.


Is sending sheets of Cross and self-fertilisation. He will be curious to see what AG thinks of it, as AG speaks the truth whether or not he approves. Is sick of trying to correct his "horrid bad style".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Asa Gray
Sent from
Source of text
Archives of the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University (113)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10656,” accessed on 8 December 2023,

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