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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   17 January 1877

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

Jan 17. 1877

Dear Dyer,

Your praise of my book has pleased me much, though I fear it is too strong.1 George Henslow has criticised my figures in the Gardener’s Chronicle, on no sufficient grounds as it appears to me.2

I am particularly obliged for your notes.3 My object in the introduction was merely as a sort of bond for my miscellaneous chapters, and I feared that I might have fallen into the grossest errors & omissions. Thanks about Mussænda; I found a note with this name on it among my papers & couldn’t remember the least what it meant.4

Do any of your friends care for what I suppose are Oceanic algæ, sent to me together with the enclosed printed scrap from Queensland.5 If of no use throw them in the fire, I thus cleverly relieve myself of all responsibility.

With many thanks, yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [before 17 January 1877], is incomplete and the section where Thiselton-Dyer praised Cross and self fertilisation has not been found.
The first part of Henslow’s review of Cross and self fertilisation (Henslow 1877, p. 42) had appeared in Gardeners’ Chronicle, 13 January 1877; two further parts appeared in issues of 3 and 17 February 1877. Henslow had criticised CD for not including figures in some cases for the relative sizes of cross- and self-fertilised plants beyond the third generation; he suggested that these figures were less favourable to CD’s argument about the vigour of crossed plants.
Thiselton-Dyer had sent CD suggestions for the introduction to Forms of flowers in his letter of [before 17 January 1877].
See letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, [before 17 January 1877] and n. 8. There is a note on Mussaenda frondosa (dhobi tree), dated ‘May/62/’ referring to ‘2 involucres to each group of flowers large & snow white— ’ in DAR 49: 73. CD later added, in red pencil, the word ‘Dichogamy’.
No letter from Queensland, Australia, with an enclosure of algae has been identified. The specimens sent to Thiselton-Dyer have not been found.


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

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


Thanks WTT-D for praise of Cross and self-fertilisation

and for information about Mussaenda.

Has some algae from Queensland if WTT-D is interested.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Darwin: Letters to Thiselton-Dyer, 1873–81: ff. 58–9)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10798,” accessed on 23 July 2024,