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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   27 January 1881

Charlton House, Kew.

Jan, 27, 1881.

My Dear Mr. Darwin

A proof of my attempt to review your last book in the Amer. Journal of Science having reached me here, I venture to enclose it—not that I think it very interesting reading, tho, it may serve to give an idea of a very noteworthy book.1

It has lately dawned upon me that I may have much offended your son, Mr. Francis Darwin, and given him reason to think me a very ungracious person. I should like you to know that if I have done so, it was most unintentional and drifted into from mere want of thought and proper consideration.

I see that I might have been expected, at that I ought—as being one of the older botanists—to have added my word of commendation of his very interesting and excellent papers when read at the Linnean Society, and that my declining to speak may have seemed a slight.2 All of which at the time never entered into my head.

The fact is that, though I can write sensibly enough, I cannot speak at a meeting, and whenever I attempt it I maunder, and fail to speak to any purpose. Nervously aware of this, I quite forgot a duty which I afterwards perceived was incumbent upon me.

I should be unhappy not to explain this. That done, I do not ask you, or Mr. Francis Darwin, to take any further notice of this letter.

Very sincerely Yours | Asa Gray


Apologises for his silence when Francis Darwin’s paper was read at the Linnean Society.

AG’s review of Movement in plants [Nation 32 (1881): 17–18].

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 203
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 13028,” accessed on 22 May 2022,