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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. J. Cohn   8 August 1877

Down. | Beckenham. Kent.

Aug 8. 1877

My dear Sir,

I thank you most cordially for your letter.1 I can declare that I have hardly ever received one in my life which has given me more pleasure. I have reason to know that some of our leading men of science disbelieve in my son’s statements, & this has mortified me not a little.2 Under these circumstances would you permit me to publish in “Nature” those parts of your letter which refer to Dipsacus? I would omit some of your very kind expressions of approbation which it might be more fitting not to publish— It is so clearly written that merely a word or two stands in need of alteration— The publication of this letter would pledge you to nothing beyond the mere statement of what you have duly seen.

I most earnestly beg you to refuse my request without scruple if it is the least disagreeable to you; but if you agree, I should look upon it as the greatest honour to my son

The word “yes” or “no” on a post card would suffice.

I should really be glad to lay your interesting letter before the readers of “Nature” on account of its intrinsic interest, & apart from the pleasure it gives me with reference to my son’s work

Prof. Hofmann of Giessen has kindly called my attention to the presence of apparently similar filiform protrusions from certain hairs on the ring on Agaricus muscarius described by him Bot Zeitung 1853 & figured 1859 Tab XI fig 17—3

With heartfelt thanks, I remain.| Yours, my dear Sir, | very sincerely. | Charles Darwin

My son, since the death of his wife, lives with me.4


The Council of the Royal Society of London had decided not to print Francis Darwin’s paper on Dipsacus sylvestris (a synonym of D. fullonum, common teasel; see letter to G. J. Romanes, 23 May 1877). Francis’s paper had been read at the Royal Society and an abstract published in the society’s proceedings, but it was published in full only in the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (F. Darwin 1877a and 1877b).
No letter from Hermann Hoffmann mentioning his articles, ‘Ueber contractile Gebilde bei Blätterschwämmen’ (On contractile bodies in gilled mushrooms; Hoffmann 1853) and ‘Ueber Pilzkeimungen’ (On mushroom germination; Hoffmann 1859) has been found. Agaricus muscarius is a synonym of Amanita muscaria, the fly agaric mushroom.
Francis Darwin moved back into Down House after the death of his wife, Amy, in September 1876 (see Correspondence vol. 24, letter to W. E. Darwin, 28 October [1876] and n. 5).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Hoffmann, Hermann. 1853. Ueber contractile Gebilde bei Blätterschwämmen. Botanische Zeitung 11: 857–66.

Hoffmann, Hermann. 1859. Ueber Pilzkeimungen. Botanische Zeitung 17: 209–14, 217–19.


Asks permission to publish comments by FJC regarding paper by Francis Darwin [see 11073].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ferdinand Julius Cohn
Sent from
Source of text
Michael Silverman (dealer) (2003); DAR 143: 267
Physical description
LS(A) 4pp C

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11095,” accessed on 9 June 2023,